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The DC Attorney General Just Sent a Letter to Washington Sports Club Telling It to Stop Charging Members During Covid-19

Attorney General Karl A. Racine sent a letter today to the parent company that operates the Washington Sports Club gyms telling the group to stop charging members during the coronavirus pandemic. Racine penned the letter with New York Attorney General Tish James and Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, according to a press release sent today by DC’s Office of the Attorney General.

The Florida-based parent company Town Sports International also operates New York Sports Club, Philadelphia Sports Club, and Boston Sports Club.

On March 24, Mayor Muriel Bowser ordered that all non-essential businesses cease operations, which includes gyms. Even though the six DC-area locations of Washington Sports Club are no longer allowed to be open, the group has still been charging customers membership fees, and has failed to follow through on members’ requests to freeze or cancel their accounts, according to the press release.

The group sent a letter to members on March 31 stating that it would add credits to members’ accounts and address questions regarding fees and cancellations once the gyms were open again.

This isn’t the first time the DC attorney general’s office has gotten involved with the health club company: Town Sports International settled with the OAG in 2016 over claims that the group defied debt collection laws and the Consumer Protection Procedures Act, according to the press release. Later, the OAG went on to sue the company in 2019, claiming it had broken the terms of the settlement. That suit is still unfolding.

Click here to read the full letter. 

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Mimi Montgomery Washingtonian
Associate Editor

Mimi Montgomery joined Washingtonian in 2018. She previously was the editorial assistant at Walter Magazine in Raleigh, North Carolina, and her work has appeared in Outside Magazine, Washington City Paper, DCist, and PoPVille. Originally from North Carolina, she now lives in Adams Morgan.