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State sues Boston Sports Clubs over the way it's handled Covid-19 membership cancellations

Attorney General Maura Healey today announced a lawsuit against Boston Sports Club after "repeated failures" to honor requests for membership cancellations and refunds in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a statement, Healey said:

From the start of this pandemic, Boston Sports Clubs has shown a total disregard for its members, for good business practices, and for the law,. This company claimed it wanted to do the right thing, but it reneged on its promises. We are taking action today to secure relief for the thousands of people who have been cheated by BSC.

The state has gotten some 2,000 complaints from members who tried to cancel their membership after the state shut health clubs but who said they continued to get paid for services they could no longer use.

Under Massachusetts law, consumers have a right to cancel a contract with a health club without penalty when the club “substantially changes the operation of the health club or location.” The indefinite closure of all BSC clubs as a result of the COVID-19 epidemic qualifies as a “substantial change” and gives BSC’s members the right to cancel their contracts.

Complete complaint (1.7M PDF).




Why a lawsuit and not a criminal charges if they're depriving citizens of their rights?

Voting closed 15

The Watertown location sometime in the spring without notice to members. September 1 they started to charge me, again with no notice. I contested the charges with my credit card company and canceled the membership, but not without a fight. They have been that way for years, a shady company that steals from its customers. Town Sports/BSC should liquidate. Some criminals cannot be reformed.

Voting closed 13

Anybody experiencing massage envy in Norwood charging your card monthly despite doors being closed or Hyde park ymca giving membership dues to charity throughout lockdown without notifiying members?

Voting closed 9

Magoo likes to exercise and work up a good sweat. First thing in the am. Really gets Magoo’s system going. Eye of the Magoo. Magoo.

Voting closed 18

It’s always been very very hard to quit the BSC.
Prove you moved far away from any gym, show them your utility bill. What?!?
Or else owe for the whole year.

Pricing is random. You may pay 70 to 100 per month for one location, but others are 50 for all access everywhere.

The only thing that makes them worth more than golds or planet fitness or your local family owned is the access to sauna, steamrooms, and pools, and those are all closed now anyway. Any classes happening? Those were always too crowded too.

Let’s just say, I do not wish them any “specific” harm.

Voting closed 6

But ... we want to pump YOU up!

Voting closed 7

Couldn't Mass AG find a better use of their time, e.g., protecting actually vulnerable people? Half of BSC subscribers didn't really go there before the pandemic anyway.

Voting closed 6

The AG's office is not made up of one person. And they work for all of the people of the Commonwealth.

Further, a lot of people were laid off, some receiving unemployment and some not. I would venture some of them became vulnerable during this pandemic.

But I repeat: the AG works for all of the people of the Commonwealth.

Voting closed 35

And it's not like Maura herself working on one issue... she has a team.

Her office is pretty busy these days, this is just one of several things they are working on.

Maura does work for the people

Voting closed 22

BSC was in financial trouble before the pandemic and screwing over both members and employees. The AG warned them early on in the pandemic they were over the line and when they reopened they went back to their old tricks even as they were going into bankruptcy. They were asking for a lawsuit if not criminal prosecution. I hope she throws the book at them. Maybe it'll keep the other gyms honest.

Voting closed 14