New York Sports Clubs illegally profited from COVID-19 shutdown, AG claims
New York Sports Clubs hasn’t made good on its promise to credit members for charges during the COVID shutdown — all while resuming charging fees again earlier this month, a new lawsuit alleges.
During the coronavirus pandemic, New York Sports Clubs, sister gym chain Lucille Roberts, and parent company Town Sports International have made members jump through hoops to cancel their accounts, charged them for April dues despite being closed and then failed to credit them for these charges as they promised they would, according to a lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James.
And if that weren’t enough, since gyms have been allowed to reopen, NYSC resumed charging customers dues Sept. 1 without telling them ahead of time and in some cases where members had already tried multiple time to cancel their accounts or where their gym locations haven’t even reopened yet, the Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit from Wednesday alleges.”Since the mandatory shutdown order through the present date, TSI has repeatedly and persistently flouted its obligations,” the suit charges. “At every turn, TSI has sought to mitigate its precarious financial state at its members’ expense, and has effectively used its members as a source of interest-free financing for TSI’s operations.”
On Sept. 14 Town Sports International LLC filed for bankruptcy and stopped paying leases permanently closing nine locations. Still, the company hasn’t exempted members at these locations from being charged and it hasn’t reached out to cancel their contracts before October dues comes, James office claims.
The AG’s office has received 1,848 complaints against TSI since March 16 and 437 of those complaints have come in since Sept. 1, the court documents say.
The suit asks the courts to force the company to credit customers for charges from March 16 to April 8, to stop the company from charging members where their gyms aren’t open, to allow them to cancel memberships and to pay customers restitution.
“Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, New York Sports Clubs and Lucille Roberts have done everything possible to flout their obligations and take advantage of members,” James said in a statement.
“Time and again, these gyms have illegally sought to lift up their precarious financial state at their members’ expenses, even though many of these very members were simultaneously being crushed under the weight of financial hardships.”
“Today’s suit aims to end TSI’s illegal efforts to run its members ragged, simply to spot its bottom line,” James said.
TSI did not immediately return a request for comment.
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