What to Know
- Brittany Dawn is a North Texas-based social media influencer and online fitness coach with more than 500,000 Instagram followers.
- Dawn is accused of not fulfilling the promises laid out when consumers pay for her fitness and nutrition plans.
- Dawn said she set up a customer service email address to help rectify the situation.
There's something about being a mom that makes Melina Brunson abundantly happy.
"Those first few months, you're just really all about being a new parent," she said. "But shortly after that, I was like, 'Why isn't this weight going away? It's been three months.'"
Brunson said she was depressed and unhappy with her body.
"I started feeling uncomfortable in my own skin and I was really just trying to find something that could help me," she said.
Scrolling through Instagram, Brunson discovered Brittany Dawn, a local social media influencer and virtual fitness coach with more than 500,000 followers, who seemed to have it all.
"She was inspirational, motivational. She looks like the person that I think a lot of people want to be," Brunson said.
So, she signed up for a customized fitness plan through Dawn's company for $250.
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Brunson said the plan included a custom macronutrient breakdown, 60 days of workouts and, most importantly, weekly check-ins with Brittany Dawn.
But when Brunson wasn't seeing any results, she said she couldn't get a hold of Dawn.
"That was the whole point, to be able to communicate with her week by week," Brunson said. "She didn't help me."
Brunson is among thousands of people across the country who have joined the Brittany Dawn Fitness Complaints page on Facebook.
Many have claimed that the influencer used her platform to sell women nothing but a dream.
Some women have compared their so-called customized fitness plans and claimed that their plan wasn't customized at all.
Others said the fitness guru was unresponsive, leaving them hanging when they needed her guidance.
In a public statement on YouTube, Dawn addresses complaints from her fans.
"I apologize to anyone who like feels they got scammed from me and I genuinely process that my intentions from the start were pure," she said.
Dawn said that her business took off so fast that she didn't know how to mentally handle it, and as an influencer, she didn't have much guidance.
"When you are given an opportunity like this, you would be stupid not to take it and run with it and unfortunately I ran too fast for one person," she said.
But Brunson doesn't believe Dawn's apology is genuine.
"I think it was because she got caught and not because she felt sorry for what she had done," Brunson said.
When she asked Dawn for a full refund, she said she was only offered 20 percent back.
"That's a joke," she said. "I'm disappointed in her. I feel like she has used her platform to get away with stealing money from tons of people. Do better!"
Dawn declined to talk with us on camera but said via email that she had set up a customer service email where she has rectified more than half of the complaints through make-goods, refunds and plans extensions, depending on each specific situation.
Dawn said she hoped to move forward so that this wouldn't happen again.
However, some clients tell NBC 5 Responds this policy was added just recently and there was no policy posted online a few weeks ago.
Under the Frequently Asked Questions page on her website, it says all purchases are final.
This could serve as reminder for consumers to always check the refund policy before signing up for new services.