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.