A New Jersey nail salon claims ClassPass Inc. has falsely listed on its fitness and wellness platform thousands of businesses who never partnered with the company.
According to the salon’s proposed class action, ClassPass, a “digital middleman” whose app and website allow subscribers to book and pay for services at gyms, fitness studios and beauty and wellness centers, has attempted to inflate the perceived size of its partner network by designing landing pages that misappropriate the names and services of businesses who, in many instances, have never even heard of ClassPass.
Per the case, the plaintiff business began looking into ClassPass after a customer claimed to have booked and pre-paid for a manicure and pedicure service through the app even though the nail salon had no relationship with the company. The lawsuit contends that the defendant’s apparently false listings have diverted potential customers away from businesses and into purchasing ClassPass memberships instead of booking their services directly. In some cases, businesses’ reputations have been damaged, the suit alleges.
The lawsuit states that ClassPass allows subscribers to pay anywhere from $15 to over $200 per month to book and pay for classes at member gyms and fitness studios, as well as “wellness appointments” such as manicures, pedicures and haircuts at salons and spas. According to the suit, ClassPass aggressively promotes the size of its partner network in order to attract more subscribers, partner businesses and sell corporate wellness programs to corporations looking to offer its services as an employee benefit.
The suit says ClassPass “brags” that its customers have access to thousands of gyms, fitness studios and wellness centers, and tries to entice businesses to join its network by promising to connect them to “new audiences and . . . thousands of ClassPass subscribers” in their areas.
The lawsuit alleges, however, that ClassPass’s network has been deceptively bolstered by “countless false listings” of businesses who never partnered with the company.
The plaintiff business, a Montclair, New Jersey nail salon, says a customer arrived at the salon on September 1, 2021 and received a gel manicure and spa pedicure service. When the plaintiff requested payment, the customer was “confused,” per the suit, and stated she had already paid for the service through ClassPass, the case relays.
Indeed, the customer’s booking confirmation on her phone showed that she had used 16 ClassPass credits to pay for the service, according to the complaint. The nail salon’s online booking system, on the other hand, showed that the customer had booked a reservation but had not prepaid, the suit says.
According to the filing, the plaintiff business apologized to the customer for the confusion and ultimately charged her for the service. Afterward, the customer allegedly complained about ClassPass in an online forum, stating she was unable to receive a refund for both the price of the service and her membership fees.
Following this experience, the plaintiff business attempted to investigate and found that ClassPass had listed the nail salon on its network with a “generic description” and a listing of the business’s services, according to the suit. The plaintiff, however, did not write the description on ClassPass’s platform and had never uploaded its appointment schedule. Per the case, the purported appointment times offered on ClassPass are “false and inaccurate,” as the salon does not schedule services for every half hour, and some slots that were listed as available had already been booked.
When the plaintiff attempted to contact ClassPass customer service, they “refused to assist” given the plaintiff had no ClassPass account, the suit alleges.
According to the case, the plaintiff salon discovered that “countless other businesses” had similar generic descriptions listed on ClassPass and confirmed with five of the listed businesses that they similarly had no relationship with the platform. Further investigation revealed that “dozens of businesses” in at least 20 states had their services falsely listed on ClassPass without their knowledge or consent, the lawsuit claims.
“On information and belief, ClassPass falsely lists thousands of businesses that are not actually partnered or affiliated with ClassPass on its marketplace as part of the ClassPass Partner Network,” the complaint attests, noting that each listing has “essentially the same” generic description accompanied by stock photos.
The plaintiff says it is concerned that its purported affiliation with ClassPass, who allegedly has poor ratings among customers and businesses alike, will harm its reputation and cause more customers to have negative experiences at its business. Moreover, the plaintiff “fears that it will be forced to use ClassPass” as a result of the false listings or risk losing customers, the suit says.
The lawsuit looks to provide monetary relief to certain business who are alleged to have been falsely given a landing page despite having no business relationship with ClassPass and prevent the company from continuing to “misappropriate and trade upon [their] goodwill and business reputation.”
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