DC Attorney General Karl Racine is filing a consumer protection lawsuit against Town Sports International, the group that manages the local gym chain Washington Sports Club, Racine’s office announced in a press release today.
Along with other attorneys general, Racine signed a letter to TSI in early April demanding that the group stop charging clients while gyms were closed during the pandemic, and that it honor customers’ requests to freeze or cancel their memberships. Later that month, the group said it would stop charging fees, credit users for weeks the gyms were nonoperational, allow membership cancellations free of charge, and contact members who filed complaints with the OAG.
However, Racine says that hasn’t happened. Since the DC locations reopened June 22 under Phase Two guidelines, the OAG has seen dozens of complaints from WSC members who say they did not receive credits to their accounts, according to the press release. The office has also received about 50 complaints from users who were still charged membership fees after TSI said it had processed their cancellation requests.
Before the pandemic, Washington Sports Club had six DC locations. However, the Georgetown and Gallery Place locations have since closed. The parent company, TSI, is Florida-based and also operates New York Sports Club, Philadelphia Sports Club, and Boston Sports Club.
This isn’t the first time the DC attorney general’s office has gotten involved with the health club company: TSI 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.
At the time of publication, Town Sports International had not returned requests for comment. This story will be updated once it does.