NYSC sets aside $850,000 to pay back members it billed during shutdowns

The owner of New York Sports Clubs has set aside $850,000 to compensate angry gym rats who were charged monthly membership fees while its facilities were closed.

Town Sports, which filed for bankruptcy protection on Monday, had initially allocated just $225,000 to repay customers for such fees, a lawyer for the company said in court on Thursday. But a tidal wave of outrage on social media convinced Town Sports to increase the amount, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

In April, New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office reached a deal with the company to stop charging customers and to credit them for the time they couldn’t use their gyms. Town Sports also agreed to allow members to cancel their memberships online — the company previously required customers to do so in person — without incurring penalties.

But that didn’t stop the company, which also owns Lucille Roberts,  from charging customers monthly dues over the past six months while many of its gyms were closed and even after some members canceled their memberships, customers say.

Gyms in New York were allowed to reopen this month.  

“@NYSC I’ve been requesting to CANCEL my gym membership since MARCH. My account has been frozen since MARCH and you decided to CHARGE ME for the month of SEPTEMBER. You closed my gym and fired my trainer without notice to either party. This is absolutely disgusting,” customer Kim Jay tweeted earlier this week.  

Others complained they couldn’t reach a NYSC rep to help them cancel their membership.

“@NYSC every location I phone that is open won’t take my call, your 800 number isn’t taking calls, my home location is closed — I’ve been charged for Sept. without notice and I want to cancel my membership immediately. You’re not being transparent about your reopening or charges,” Lucy Ruth Cummins tweeted last week.

Ms. James’ office told the Wall Street Journal that it was looking into the new claims now as part of its continuing investigation.

The company did not immediately respond for comment.

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