WASHINGTON, D.C. – Attorney General Karl A. Racine announced today that Town Sports International, LLC (TSI), the parent company of Washington Sports Club (WSC), will stop charging members while gyms are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The gym chain will also credit members for time the gyms were closed and offer free electronic membership cancellations through April 30. This policy change follows a letter from AG Racine and other state Attorneys General demanding the company stop charging customers for memberships they cannot use. TSI agreed earlier this month to automatically freeze memberships at no cost and has now committed to provide additional relief to its members seeking to cancel and resolve all complaints filed with the Office of the Attorney General (OAG).
“We are pleased that members of Washington Sports Club (WSC) are no longer subject to totally unreasonable terms because WSC has now committed to freeze memberships, provide credits, and allow free cancellations,” said AG Racine. “This will help take some financial pressure off District club members during the pandemic and the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) will ensure WSC follows through on its promises. I encourage all District residents who are being treated unfairly by a business to reach out to OAG for help.”
TSI is the Florida-based parent company of Washington Sports Club, New York Sports Club, Boston Sports Club, and Philadelphia Sports Club, among other health and fitness subsidiaries. The company is one of the largest operators of fitness centers in the country. It operates six locations in the District under the name “Washington Sports Club,” in Columbia Heights, Connecticut Avenue downtown, DuPont Circle, Gallery Place, Georgetown, and Glover Park. The gyms offer both month-to-month and annual membership plans.
When the District ordered all gyms and health clubs in D.C. to close last month, many 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. WSC refused to do the same and, instead, continued to charge membership dues. It also refused to honor cancellation and freeze requests or imposed onerous fees and conditions on these requests, even though all clubs were shut down.
Last month, AG Racine joined with the Attorneys General of New York and Pennsylvania and sent TSI a letter demanding immediate changes to its policies, including demanding that TSI implement an automatic and free membership freeze.
Following discussions between TSI and the states, TSI has agreed to:
- Automatically freeze all WSC memberships, effective as of April 8, 2020, at no cost to members;
- Issue credits to members for dues and fees paid for cancellation or freezing of accounts after the District’s order directing the closure of health clubs first went into effect;
- Honor all cancellation requests submitted by April 30, 2020, without charging cancellation fees or requiring advance notice (members can submit cancellation requests by filling out the “Contact Us” form on the WSC website: https://www.washingtonsportsclubs.com/contact-us); and
- 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, abides by the District’s consumer protection laws, and provides further updates when they become available.
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