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Charlotte Area

Weight loss, fitness centers top BBB "Dirty Dozen"

http://66.225.205.104/JR20100126a.mp3

The Better Business Bureau in Charlotte released its Dirty Dozen list for 2009: twelve companies with the most unanswered customer complaints in the region. And the business at the top of the list is there for the second year in a row. WFAE's Julie Rose reports: A ringing phone and no answer is what you get if you call the number listed for L.A. Weight Loss Centers in Charlotte. And the company's unwillingness to respond is what earned it the top spot on the Better Business Bureau's "Dirty Dozen" list for the second year in a row. "They ticked off the most people in 2009, no doubt about it," says Tom Bartholomy, the President of the Better Business Bureau in Charlotte. Bartholomy says LA Weight Loss had more than 200 unanswered complaints from customers in 2009. Those customers lost an average of $640 in food and subscription fees when LA Weight Loss closed its 10 Charlotte area offices in December 2008. The franchise owner Richard Rex Jr. refused to comment on the complaints when WFAE reached him by phone at his Mooresville home on Tuesday. Nor would Rex say whether he's embarked on other business ventures. Bartholomy says the Better Business Bureau hopes to warn potential customers. "It's basically the power of the website at that point," says Bartholomy. "So that when people look to do business with the owner of that company, that record will follow him to any new company that he would start." Other companies at the top of the Charlotte Better Business Bureau list for unresolved complaints in 2009 include Peak Fitness, which filed for bankruptcy last July and Happy Holler Gardens, which has 22 unanswered complaints from customers who say they never received the plants they ordered online.