AG James goes after New York Sports Club, which is still charging members
Attorney General Letitia James announced on Friday that her office has joined in a multistate coalition of attorneys general that is demanding immediate changes at the New York Sports Club, which has been accused of continuing to charge clients despite all its gyms being closed.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic has plunged our country into an unprecedented public health crisis, businesses have shuttered their doors, leaving millions without a paycheck and scraping to get by,” said Attorney General James. “While the closure of all New York Sports Club facilities may have also placed a strain on the company, its financial straits do not relieve NYSC of its obligation to follow the law.
“New Yorkers have enough to worry about and should not be forced to pay for services NYSC is no longer providing,” she continued. “If NYSC refuses to do the right thing voluntarily, I will not hesitate to take every legal step necessary to protect New Yorkers from NYSC’s unlawful conduct and get their money back.”
All gyms across the state have been legally closed since Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered all health clubs to close on March 16 in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
While most health clubs decided to freeze memberships at no cost to gym-goers, NYSC allegedly refused to do the same and continued to charge members. Customers who demanded their accounts with the gym closed were allegedly hit with fines and fees for cancelling their memberships early.
The social media is filled with accounts of people complaining about NYSC’s alleged tactics in recent weeks. On March 17, user “DutchyKills” posted that they were charged $15 to freeze their membership. On Friday, April 3, user “opetroulas” reported that after they had their bank place a block on charges to NYSC, the gym got around that by charging their card from a different merchant.
“Two days ago a (30 days since my last charge from NYSC), a charge showed up on my card from TMPL for the same amount as my monthly membership,” opetroulas wrote. “Doing some googling shows that this is some other gym in midtown and their website redirects to NYSC.”
The letter sent by James and other attorneys general to Town Sports International Holdings, the NYSC’s parent company, demands that the sports club immediately implement a member freeze at no cost and honor cancellations without fees. They also demand that they clearly and unambiguously communicate its policies to members.
The AG’s Office has also encouraged any New Yorkers who feel that they have been unlawfully charged to file a complaint with the Consumer Frauds and Protection Bureau. They also encourage people to contact their bank to stop automatic payments to NYSC.
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