Burnsville, Minnesota
13.4K views
Not resolved
48 comments

Hundreds of LifeTime Fitness (LTF) members have been shafted! When LTF first started they offered a Founders Membership (FM) with a permanent fixed monthly membership fee. A FM was expensive, but it promised a great long term ROI plus a great resale value if LTF succeeded. As I understand it, about 1,000 such memberships were sold by LTF. An LTF membership can be privately bought/sold with a transfer fee paid to LTF, and all benefits of the membership go to the new owner. In the mid-1990s, I bought one from a member who was moving out of Eagan. I long ago recouped my investment through paying a much lower monthly membership fee. The resale value of a FM has also been increasing, because normal monthly membership fees have been increasing while the FM monthly membership fee never increases. As I understand it, a FM is/was worth as much as $4,000. Well, not any more.

Supposedly, two LTF members filed a class-action lawsuit against LTF, claiming that a FM entitled them to use LTFs newer premium club facilities under the same fixed fee. LTF says all FM owners were given a chance to opt out of the class-action lawsuit. I'm not an attorney. I have always thought the only reason to opt out of a class-action lawsuit is to reserve the right to bring your own lawsuit over the same dispute. I have always thought the worst outcome for the plaintiff would be nothing and the best outcome for the defendant would be nothing. Wrong! I'm told there was a negotiated settlement in this case. The plaintiffs were damaged and the defendant (LTF) benefitted. Some, or most, or all, current FM owners (including me) were much better off before the settlement. I'm told I have to accept the outcome, even though I never agreed to anything.

The settlement apparently states that current FM owners can use any LTF club facility under the same fixed fee. However, if a FM is sold, the new owner is subject to different terms. The new owner can use *some* LTF club facilities at no additional cost, but *most* LTF club facilities would not be available without additional fees. I believe LTF started here in Eagan, and I would guess that the largest number of FM owners use the Eagan facility, but the Eagan facility is *not* among those that a new owner could use. Further, the list of LTF club facilities that a new owner could use is subject to change at any time. A potential FM buyer could not use the Eagan facility and could not be sure that any other currently available facility would remain available to him/her. The appeal of a FM to potential buyers has been destroyed. The resale value of a FM has been trashed!

LTF says the settlement forces them to hose current FM owners like myself. A customer service representative admitted to me that we got screwed. Do you really think they have sympathy for us? The settlement means LTF will gradually eliminate Founders Memberships from their member base, which increases their revenue. They have effectively stolen the money from us! Two different LTF representatives told me LTF did not sue itself (implicitly admitting it might appear that way), but I have to wonder about the motives of those who initiated the class-action lawsuit. I wonder if they are LTF stockholders. I wonder if they have some connection to the ownership. The whole situation really stinks, and I'm deeply suspicious. Some, or most, or all, current FM owners (including me) took it in the backside while LTF came out smelling like a rose.

Product or Service Mentioned: Lifetime Fitness Membership.

Monetary Loss: $3500.

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Anonymous
#1544070

yep

Anonymous
#1388706

Unfortunately, my FM did rise, but still WAY less than anything I could get. I believe maybe it’s because of the “kid fees” now added.

But, if it’s right what I read, we should be able to will it to our children. If anything, we could probably talk to Braham about it ‍️

Anonymous
#1314552

Looking to purchase a LTF Founders Membership for Onyx level club- please email Matt at Svendawg822002@yahoo.com

Anonymous
#1307496

There is a way around this or at least a possibility that may or may not fit your situation. In a couple's member ship you can subtract and add one member.

After subtracting your wife and adding someone else that person can then subtract you and add someone else. Then they can do a change of address.

A hassle I know but not that difficult. If you find a good employee he or she will just facilitate the change.

rashaunny_41
#1401185
@Jim

Is there any update on this method being at all useful?

Anonymous
#1420419
@rashaunny_41

would like to hear this too

Anonymous
#1282313

Lifetime Fitness started in Brooklyn Park, MN in a little strip mall. They first started selling Founders Memberships out of a trailer in the parking lot of this first club.

I know, I was one of those first employees and founders member. The thing about this membership though is that you can Will it to your kids, or anyone else. It is good forever under the SAME TERMS as those that you currently have.

You aren't selling it for profit. It is an asset in your estate so make sure you list it in your Will or it will die with you!

Anonymous
#1646513
@Caroline

Do you have a copy of the founders membership agreement? Im a founders member who purchased one via a transfer in 2008 but cant find my copy of the original agreement. please email me at gboyadjis@hotmail.com

Anonymous
#852366

Lifetime started in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. Tons of FM were sold there. I still have mine!

Anonymous
#1473275
@Anonymous

Me too. $18.95/month fee and it's Onyx!

Anonymous
#798453

The concept of a Founders and Legacy Membership was to reward those that helped Braham Akradi(Founder) get his first and second clubs off the ground in Brooklyn Park and Eagan, MN. Braham needed capital to grow the business and these members paid big cash up front for what was to be a win/win for everyone.

In those days the Founders and Legacy Membership types were sold as having fixed monthly dues FOREVER, and they were to be transferable to the end of time. LTF however did not live up to this promise.

Breach of trust first came to the Legacy Membership holders. Legacy members found out that their monthly dues were increasing after being told they were locked in for life.

There was much uproar from the Legacy membership community at the time, but LTF weathered the storm.

As documented thoroughly breach of trust also occurred to LTF's Founding Membership base. The Class Action Lawsuit was filed, settled, and in the end did not serve the interests of the Founding Members.

Other membership sales practices were exposed by the MN Attorney General.

In the early years anyone who purchased a membership was told they were receiving 50% off enrollment and were pressured to join that day because they were told the enrollment fee was going back up. Every month the increase was to take place on the 16th and the first day of the month. However each month those dates would come and go and the enrollment fee stayed the same. LTF was subsequently fined $100,000 for these business practice's by the state of MN.

It should also be noted that in the early years ALL membership types were to gain you access into ALL clubs, present and future. Future clubs were always in Braham's plans and anyone who knew his story believed these clubs were coming.

The unfortunate part to "this" story is that the members who were there from the beginning, the members who believed in Braham's clubs and helped fund them by choosing to pay the highest enrollment, were then turned on in the end.

Anonymous
#581038

So is anyone looking to sell their FM?

Email mattboys3@gmail.com

Anonymous
#977509
@Majo31

I HAVE A LEGACY MEMBERSHIP TO GOLD CLUBS FOR SALE FOR $700.00

IT GIVES YOU A $20.00 REDUCTION IN GOLD MEMBERSHIP DUES MONTHLY...

FLYINGLADY1@COMCAST.NET

Anonymous
#558856

I bought my FM back in March 2008 for $4,000. Up in Lakeville, we probably did save $100+/month for about 3 years.

Recently we moved to st louis where there is only one club that is 45 minutes away and dues are only $60. So selling it down here would be a total waste.

Then I find out about this law suit where we weren't contacted to offer us any compensation or choices of action. How tacky was this of lifetime when you consider the people that paid a large chunk of money as "an investment" in Lifetime.

jstsasha
#1034056
@steve

did you sell yours? i am looking to buy one in minnesota

Anonymous
#515623

Also I am assuming if we can get enough members that are interested in doing something about this we should have no problem finding out own lawyer to fight against Lifetime...

Anonymous
#515621

If anyone is interested in working on a way to fight back and have the option to switch our founders memberships back to the original terms let me know. I know it won't be easy but there must be a way.

Anonymous
#1123541
@FIGHT BACK

I never received any letter/ Email/phone call about this issue from court or from lifetime fitness. Just because two members filed a lawsuit, does not mean our founder membership is trash.

These two members are not representing all the founder members.

We have right to pursue this issue in the court, if we get support from many founder member.

It is worth it to spend some money into this issue now. I am ready to discuss this issue to a good lawyer.

Anonymous
#447897

Does anyone have a link to the settlement agreement. Ever since the clubs started changing from onyx to diamond, the original settlement is worth even less.

Anonymous
#432564

Everyone, start opting out of class actions......you generally get piddle anyway. Maybe the up side of doing so is the better option.