Lawsuits Target Gym Membership Charges During COVID-19 Pandemic

Author: Henry Graney

On March 26, 2020 in the Southern District of New York and on April 5, 2020 in the District of Massachusetts, class action complaints were filed against Town Sports International (“TSI”) – the company which owns and operates gym brands such as “New York Sports Clubs,” “Boston Sports Clubs,” Philadelphia Sports Clubs,” and others. The complaints detail the fraudulent and allegedly unlawful efforts of TSI to continue charging membership, locker rental, and other facility access fees during the Coronavirus pandemic. Several lawsuits have been filed across the country in the wake of Coronavirus “stay-at-home” orders.

Amidst the “stay-at-home” orders and closure of non-essential businesses, TSI’s more than half a million gym members are forced to pay membership fees ranging from $30 to $120 while being unable to access gym facilities. Efforts to cancel memberships have been met with no avail, continuing a long history of TSI’s refusal to honor cancellation requests. While communications from TSI have been vague and sparse, with no clear indication that cancellation requests will be honored or refunds paid, other gym chains have communicated to members that membership fees will be suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

On April 1, 2020, thousands of class members were billed for monthly membership fees, despite their inability to access TSI’s facilities. Class members have complained over social media of this unlawful business practice, and others have filed complaints with the Attorneys General of New York, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia. On April 3, 2020, those three offices wrote to TSI demanding that this practice cease immediately; as of this date, there has been no remedy or response. The two class action suits, filed in New York and Massachusetts, are proceeding.

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