August 11, 2020 – Weight Watchers Hit with Another Suit Over Monthly Charges During Pandemic
Weight Watchers is the defendant in another proposed class action that alleges the company wrongfully charged full monthly membership fees while its locations were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the suit, defendant WW International, Inc., began offering “less than equivalent” online alternatives once its locations were closed amid the early months of the public health crisis. Despite the online alternatives’ inferiority to in-person group meetings, weigh-ins and product purchases, Weight Watchers continued to charge the full price each month and has neither issued nor offered any refunds or other type of credit, the complaint says.
The lawsuit, filed June 10 in Ventura County Court and removed to federal court on July 30, alleges Weight Watchers has banked “tens of millions of dollars” from members unable to use the services they paid for during the pandemic.
Weight Watchers faces a proposed class action after allegedly deciding to continue to charge monthly membership fees while each of its in-person workshops remain closed due to the COVID-19 crisis.
According to the 23-page suit, a prominent selling point of Weight Watchers’ program is its in-person Wellness workshops, during which members can weigh in and record their progress. In-person workshops are also touted by the defendant as an opportunity for members to talk with their Weight Watchers guide about goals they’d like to achieve and other topics related to weight loss, health and wellness, the case says.
Amid the ramp-up of the novel coronavirus pandemic, Weight Watchers announced on March 14 that all of its in-person workshops would be transitioned online through April 4, 2020, the lawsuit says. Unlike other companies, Weight Watchers has continued to charge customers for the full price of their memberships on top of an additional virtual workshop fee, the suit alleges. The case claims Weight Watchers has continued to reap membership fees even though in-person workshops, for which proposed class members have already paid, have been terminated as of the lawsuit's filing.
The defendant has refused to reimburse pre-paid customers for the time during which they were unable to attend in-person workshops or for the extra virtual workshop fee, the complaint asserts. The sum of its conduct toward paying customers amid the COVID-19 crisis evidences “the deliberate decision” by Weight Watchers to “bilk its customers on a monthly basis as the country is effectively shut down,” according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit proposes to cover a class comprised of all consumers in the United States who were charged membership fees while Weight Watchers ceased in-person workshops.
The suit alleges breach of express warranties, negligent misrepresentation, fraud, unjust enrichment, breach of contract, and violations of New York and California consumer protection laws.
ClassAction.org’s coverage of COVID-19 litigation can be found here and over on our Newswire.