The Washington Sports Club saga continues.
Starting today, there is a temporary restraining order against Town Sports International, the parent company of the local gym chain, according to an email from the Office of the DC Attorney General. The DC Superior Court passed the order on August 28, stating the group cannot charge September 1 fees to customers who sought to cancel memberships while gyms were closed between March and June under Mayor Muriel Bowser’s orders.
A hearing will be held September 23 to determine how the group should credit members who were charged while the gyms weren’t operating.
This is the latest development in what has been a series of long-running issues with the group, which currently operates four locations in DC (the Georgetown and Gallery Place spots recently closed).
Along with other attorneys general, DC Attorney General Karl Racine signed a letter to TSI in early April demanding 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.
But the group continued to charge customers and did not issue credits to accounts, says the OAG, and Racine filed a consumer protection lawsuit against TSI on August 20.
And back in 2016, TSI settled with the OAG over claims that the group defied debt collection laws and the Consumer Protection Procedures Act. 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.