Planet Fitness Franchising LLC and franchisees from Georgia and Massachusetts face a proposed class action lawsuit that alleges the companies continued to charge membership fees after their gyms were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The plaintiff behind the 21-page suit alleges that rather than provide customers with a means through which they could address post-closure monthly membership charges, Planet Fitness and its co-defendants, who operate nearly 2,000 fitness centers nationwide, have instead “hidden behind a single, inaccurate statement” online. Essentially, the suit claims, all customer billing inquiries have been redirected to a telephone number that indicates merely that Planet Fitness is closed for business, which the case alleges amounts to an attempt by the defendants to prevent gym-goers from having an avenue through which they can dispute membership charges.
According to the suit, Planet Fitness indicated on its website that no members would be charged membership fees for periods in which their fitness centers were closed. The company admitted, however, that some of its members were billed shortly before Planet Fitness quietly shuttered its facilities in early March, the case says.
As the lawsuit tells it, Planet Fitness, rather than offer recourse for customers seeking refunds, has said it instead plans to retain monthly membership fees until a future opening date emerges.
The plaintiff, who the suit says entered into a $19.99 per month “Black Card Reciprocal Access” membership agreement with the defendants for unlimited gym access, claims he was charged a full membership fee on March 18 despite the closure of Planet Fitness’ Stone Mountain, Georgia location during the first week of the month. The customer claims he could not contact the defendants via phone or online chat, with his inquiries redirected to a phone number offering “no option to leave a message, request a refund, or visit a fitness center to seek a refund for the wrongfully debited charges.”
ClassAction.org’s coverage of COVID-19 litigation can be found here and over on our Newswire.