Frustrated Customers Want Money Back

3/16/2008 Fresno This one day after Action News revealed area stores are closing and some employees say they were told to continue signing up new customers.

LA Weight Loss has been promising to help people in the valley shed extra pounds since 2003. The company says it's now closing four Fresno area stores over the next few months because of market conditions.

LA Weight Loss says it will offer refunds to all active clients which brought many customers to the north Fresno store Saturday.

Sharon Carr, customer, says "I asked him and he was very open about it and said we're going to follow through with everyone we have left, and I said, well I have more than 6 weeks left- so we'll see."

Carr paid $975 for nine months of service and a year of follow-ups, but some of her money won't be eligible for a refund.

The company says it won't reimburse clients for the follow-up maintenance period that kicks in once a customer has reached their weight goal. "I told him I'm not happy- I paid for all of this and a year of maintenance and I paid a lot more than other people did, so I want to follow through with my plan," says Carr.

The company says it's in the process of notifying active clients through letters, phone calls and in-person meetings.

Larenda Drew, LA Weight Loss customer, says "I'm bugged about it. I just want to know about my money that I've invested in it."

Drew paid $600 and now plans to contact the Better Business Bureau despite being happy with diet results. "You know it does work. They do try to push a lot of their control trim, their LA bars on you, but it does work- I've lost over 30 pounds," says Drew.

These LA Weight Loss bars and shakes are now becoming hot commodities for satisfied customers who hope to continue the diet, even after stores close.

But some employees tell Action News they were told to push these products and sign up new clients despite knowing the stores would be closing.

We hid the identities of these sales associates who fear they'll be fired for talking about what they call questionable sales tactics.

Stores have posted signs about cutting back to new spring hours next week. Employees say the short hours are part of downsizing in preparation for closure.

Gayle Duffy, Fresno customer, says "I'm going to miss having the place to check in and to monitor us and guide us through the steps."

LA Weight Loss says you can get the paperwork to apply for a refund at the center you go to. The only people eligible are those seeing the counselors and getting food products from the center.

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