DC Attorney General Karl A. Racine filed a lawsuit against Town Sports International, LLC (TSI), which is the parent company of Washington Sports Club (WSC), for charging gym members while its facilities were closed as part of coronavirus restrictions.
According to the Office of the Attorney General (OAG), the company had agreed to freeze memberships, credit consumers for dues paid while their gyms were closed, and process requests for cancelations, after receiving a letter from Racine and other state Attorneys General in April.
However, Washington Sports Club has not issued those credits to account holders and not processed all membership cancelations, since reopening on June 22.
In the lawsuit, OAG is seeking a court order that will force the Florida-based parent company to follow through on its agreement, along with civil penalties. In the meantime, another consumer protection lawsuit filed by Racine against TSI, where it is accused of deceptive cancelation and billing practices, is still ongoing.
🚨 For the second time, we are suing @WSC_Gym's parent company for misleading District consumers about its membership policies.
— AG Karl A. Racine (@AGKarlRacine) August 20, 2020
“For the second time, OAG has been forced to file suit against Town Sports International for misleading District consumers about its membership policies,” said Racine in a press release. “The Office of the Attorney General warned the company that we would take necessary action if it did not honor cancellation requests and address charges billed over the COVID-19 closure period. We filed today’s lawsuit to get consumers their money back and the credits they were promised, and to ensure none of them pay for memberships they have canceled.”
As one of the largest operators of fitness centers in the nation, TSI had six locations in DC before the COVID-19 crisis, in Columbia Heights, Connecticut Avenue downtown, DuPont Circle, Gallery Place, Georgetown, and Glover Park. The Gallery Place and Georgetown stores have permanently closed.
DC Mayor Muriel Bowser had ordered all gyms and other nonessential businesses in the city to close in March.
Racine’s office urges every member of Washington Sports Club who thinks they were unlawfully charged by the company to file a complaint by calling (202) 442-9828, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or filling out a consumer complaint form online.