Did HONESTY Kill Pure Weight Loss? or LA Weight Loss: The Movie

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Mon, Feb 25 - 5:42 am EDT | 6 years ago by
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(FranchisePick.Com)  In the movie Liar Liar, Jim Carrey plays an attorney whose career  starts unravelling when he’s suddenly unable to tell lies.  That’s pretty much what happened to Vahan Karian and his Pure Weight Loss nee LA Weight Loss chain of diet centers, according to Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna.

According to Seattle Weekly:  “Twice now, these purveyors of slimness have settled with Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna over charges of deceptive marketing practices. The company [LA Weight Loss Centers] has since split apart and changed its name, but the new chain—known as Pure Weight Loss Centers, with a dozen locations in Washington—abruptly went out of business last month.

“Purity, it appears, just didn’t pay. The company’s business plan ‘was not sustainable’ once the company began operating ‘consistent with the Consumer Protection Act,’ says Assistant Attorney General Jack Zurlini, who spearheaded the LA investigation. ‘Our investigation found [that LA] was a very sophisticated bait-and-switch, high-pressure sales’ outfit, he says. Clients were talked into paying up front for lots of bars and supplements of dubious efficacy. (The company has not admitted to any wrongdoing.) But business didn’t go as well, he suggests, ‘once they started disclosing things fairly and fully.’”

If those burned by LA Weight Loss nee Pure Weight Loss weren’t irate enough, writer Mark D. Fefer adds this gem:

“A TV reporter in Miami recently reported finding “dozens of refund claim forms thrown out in a Dumpster behind [a] vacant Pure Weight Loss Center” in south Florida. ”

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  • Catherine

    It doesn’t make any sense that the government lets people file bankruptcy and keep all the money they took from us.
    I think he cheated on purpose and he can’t just walk away clean.
    This guy will open another business in the future and do the same.
    This is just unfair!!!!!!

  • Sue

    You said it, Catherine!! –Sue

  • Lynne in PA

    Greedy people at the top, employees selling a dream at the bottom. Why else would we purchase the program and bars so far inadvance! I am still heavy and heart broken.
    Now, who was being honest?

  • http://www.thestrengthtotakeflight.com Georgie

    Well if you want to add insult to injury, if anyone goes to the dumpsters of all these Pure WL stores, they will probably find 1000′s of dollars worth of product that the company could have distributed to those clients that they owed product to. But rather than doing that, they are throwing it all OUT! If you don’t mind dumpster diving, and your local office still hasn’t been cleaned out, watch the dumpster daily, you just might end up with enough product to see you through your program!

  • karen

    i too was a victim of high pressure product sales. i jumped through all of the refund,certified mail and copies of contracts hoops, which i can see now was just another scam to see how much time he could buy himself. FORTUNATELY for me i did put a small amount of the fortune i paid on my carecredit account and today i received notice from carecredit that they have credited my account. God bless them and help them get back their money from this loser!!!

  • Aaron

    I was an owner and paid over 180,000.00 dollars to buy my center, and with me as well they gave me no notice, quit sending me products, and received a letter from a lawyer that I was to lock my door that day. There are several lawsuits filed, so hopefully they will get what is coming to them

  • Georgie

    Just another bit of information for those of you who don’t know, the corporation behind LA/Pure Weight Loss is still going strong. Horsham Diet Company, owns and operates Nutrisystem. They are not gone, and they are not bankrupt. On the contrary, they are making lots of money with Nutrisystem. I’m sure Vahan Karian is enjoying himself somewhere right now. People like that are vultures, when one carcass is stripped to the bone, they’re on to the next one!

  • http://www.franbest.com sean

    Georgie:
    Nutrisystem, Pure Weight Loss & LA Weight Loss are three separate companies.

    Nutrisystem: Nutrisystem is publicly owned and traded. Harold Katz founded Nutrisystem but sold it decades ago. Their info, annual reports, etc. are here:
    http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=66836&p=irol-IRHome

    Pure Weight Loss:
    About 400 LA Weight Loss corporate-owned centers split and converted briefly to Pure Weight Loss under Vahan Karian (formerly Vahan Karabajakian) before closing all centers and filing for bankruptcy early this year. The PA Attorney General is suing Vahan Karian and Pure Weight Loss. Read about that here:
    http://www.franchisepick.com/pure-weight-loss-la-weight-loss-to-close-all-400-locations/

    LA Weight Loss: The third entity, made up largely of franchised centers and previously franchised centers (called LATO) that kept the LA Weight Loss name, owned by Harold Katz. The centers that are currently closing are part of this chain. Read more here:
    http://www.franchisepick.com/la-weight-loss-centers-closing-nationwide-updated-91908/

    All three chains were headquartered in Horsham, PA as they had a common founder. However, they are 3 distinct companies with completely different ownership.

  • Georgie

    If I am mistaken, I apologize. However, I worked for LA Weight Loss Corporate, owned by Vauhn Karian, before they changed the name to Pure Weight Loss. Once it was changed, it was STILL OWNED by Vauhn Karian according to our superiors, Corporate Emails and correspondence. He came to visit the office while we were still LAWL. After we changed to Pure Weight loss, Vaugn’s second in command Elaine, came to visit our store in South Pasadena, CA, saying how proud Vauhn was of us. So you may know more corporate “info” than I, but I know the company intimately. Nothing they said to us as employees, nor to the customers, was ever 100% true. Black Tuesday, September 16th I believe it was, the corporate emails started coming in, saying they were no longer offereing service only products. They also laid off almost half of their employees. Then when a large majority of the remaining employees walked, they were scrambling to keep what they could until they could declare bankruptcy. I was a sales counselor, and they offered me a supervisor position at one of the other stores, because all the employees quit. They wanted to make as much money as they could before they declared bankruptcy. They were selling programs a week before they closed, knowing full well they were closing. I left on October 26th, 2007 refusing to sell anything else! And when I suspected on Black Tuesday what good old Vauhn was up to, I investigated, and what I found was that LA Weight Loss, AKA Pure Weight Loss, was owned by Horsham Diet company, who also owned and operated Nutrisystem. Now that information may have been erroneous, but Vaughn Karian’s involvement of both LAWL and PWL was not. Whatever the argument, the man should be in jail for fraud and contract violations on a staggering scale! He had his store throw out literally millions of dollars of product, when thousands of clients were owed product. They could have been given what was owed to them, but he just had to twist the knife a little more. He is reprehensible.
    I’m done.

  • http://www.franbest.com sean

    Georgie:
    Your opinion of Vahan Karian seems to be shared by many, including the PA Attorney General Tom Corbett who is suing him and his company for fraud and for trying to get away with the dough before declaring bankruptcy and sticking it to the customers and employees of an estimated 400 centers.
    See links to articles and hundreds of angry comments here:
    http://www.franchisepick.com/pure-weight-loss-refund-information-center/

    See info on the PA lawsuit here:
    http://www.franchisepick.com/pure-weight-loss-lawsuit-filed-by-pa-attorney-general/

    I just don’t think there’s a connection with Nutrisystem or the current LA Weight Loss corporation.

  • Georgie

    I know there is now LA Weight Loss online, and there are also some franchise centers still open. The franchise centers were once part of the corporate company. But Karian and a partner who owned them, split the company, the partner creating the franchises, and Karian keeping the established corporate offices. They used similar products, and they did allow their clients to have visits with each other when traveling. If a franchise customer came into our office, they could get a visit, but if then had product on account, they could not get it from us. The had to purchase more from us. They were two distinct companies, so you are correct that the current LAWL centers are not part of LAWL corporate or Vauhn Karian. Another unknown bit of info, we recieved an email in July I believe it was of last year, with the Pure Weight Loss Logo on it by accident. That was our first indicator that Vauhn was changing the name of the company, and also that something was rotten in Horsham! We were eventually told, Vaugn had decided to change the name, to distance ourselves from the negative practices of the Franchise centers. So there is no question that he owned and operated both companies, or should I say the same company, because they were the same company. How much Horsham Diet Company is involved with the current legal battle with VK and LAWL, I don’t know. But they were most definitely involved with LAWL/PWL prior to December 12th of last year when the company officially closed. And knowing VK to be the vulture he is, I would not be surprised if he is knee deep in the other companies, albeit incognito. Of course I don’t know that implicitly, it’s only speculation.

  • http://www.franbest.com sean

    OK. I think I see the confusion here.

    Georgie… I don’t believe there’s a company named “Horsham diet company.” That’s just a way that writers describe companies in news releases and stories, such as “Pure Weight Loss Inc., the Horsham diet company, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection Friday…”
    And:
    “Shares of NutriSystem Inc. lost $680 million of their value over the last seven trading sessions on signs that the Horsham diet company faces higher costs…”

    If you read these quickly it might make you think they were both part of something called Horsham Diet company, but they’re not.

    Once upon a time, there was only one LA Weight Loss. The two partners split and one took the franchised half, the other the corporate owned half. So for a while there were two separate companies operating LA Weight Loss centers. Vahan Karian changed the name of his company (the one you worked for) to Pure Weight Loss before closing it, going bankrupt and getting sued by the PA Attorney General.

    The other one continues to operate as LA Weight Loss. The centers that are closing, as I understand it, were once franchises that the corporation tried to save… but weren’t able to.

  • Georgie

    As I said before, I could be wrong, and I see the distinction your making as far as the wording; the writers referring to LAWL as “the Horsham diet company” indicating it’s location rather than it’s entity. However what researched was not articles on the bankruptcy, but rather I was looking up corporate information based on what information we had in the office. What I found when researching the corporation, and let me concede again the information could have been erroneous, was that LAWL was part of “Horsham Diet Company Inc.” to be precise. It really doesn’t matter one way or the other, ther real issue is Vauhn Karian getting away with cheating thousands of customers out of money and product. The company owed me over $600.00, being a customer before an employee. I resigned myself to the fact that I’ll never see a penny. I am angrier for the clients though. Not only are they out money, but many of them are out of a program that helped them for the first time to lose significant amounts of weight. It’s very aggrivating.
    It’s interesting, I wasn’t aware that the corporation tried to save some of the franchises. But of course this took place after the close of the corporate offices, and certainly after my departure from the company.
    Well, I hope, as I’ve said before, VK, get’s his, and the clients get a little vindication.

  • http://1500.00lighterandlittleweightlosstoshowforit! Lynne in PA

    The fact that there is a company called LA Weight Loss still in business somewhere in the world is just more anguish for me. Here they own me $1500.00 worth of product and services and I have no way, along with everyone else, of getting what I paid for.

    All of my products and services were paid with the Care Credit Center credit card. Due to the fact that I paid the balance off, before the company closed, I can no longer get my money back. I would have had to have a balance due for that.

    Good credit I have, what I paid for no!

    So shame on me. I was sold someone elses dream and now I pay for it along with everyone else.

    Only the rich get richer!