Members of New York Sports Clubs (NYSC) and Lucille Roberts gyms will soon have some cash in their hands.
On April 24, Attorney General Letitia James announced she has secured commitments from the parent company of NYSC and Lucille Roberts to institute a number of policy changes that will provide economic relief to members who were charged dues over the last six weeks.
The gyms have been shuttered since March 16 to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Both NYSC and Lucille Roberts have already followed through on a demand by James to automatically freeze memberships at no cost to members and have now pledged to credit members for time the gym is closed, allow members to electronically cancel memberships without penalties or conditions and resolve all complaints filed with the Office of the Attorney General.
“This is putting money back in the pockets of New Yorkers who were being illegally charged for unusable gym memberships,” James said. “The commitments we secured from New York Sports Clubs and Lucille Roberts will ensure that members will not be left paying the bill and lifting the weight for NYSC’s financial straits as long as the gyms remain closed.”
When Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered all gyms and health clubs closed last month, the majority responded by freezing memberships at no cost until the clubs reopened, some going even further by promising to automatically credit or refund consumers for days the clubs were closed. However, NYSC refused and, instead, continued to charge membership dues.
In March, James led a multi-state coalition, which also included the attorneys general of Maryland, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia, in opening an investigation into the billing practices of Town Sports International Holdings, Inc. (TSI), the parent company of New York Sports Clubs, Lucille Roberts, Philadelphia Sports Clubs and Washington Sports Clubs, among other health and fitness subsidiaries.
On April 3, Attorney General James and the coalition sent TSI a letter demanding immediate changes to its policies, including demanding that TSI implement an automatic and free membership freeze.
Following negotiations between TSI and the states, TSI has agreed to:
- Freeze all New York Sports Clubs and Lucille Roberts memberships, effective as of April 8, at no cost to members;
- Issue credits to members for dues and fees paid for cancellation or freezing of accounts after March 16, when New York’s executive order directing the closure of health clubs first went into effect;
- Honor all cancellation requests submitted by April 30, without charging cancellation fees or requiring advance notice;
- Contact all consumers who filed complaints with the Office of the Attorney General to resolve those individual complaints.
The states will continue their investigation to ensure TSI honors its commitments and abides by New York’s Health Club Services law and New York’s consumer protection statutes and to also ensure that the company provides further updates when they become available.