Boston Sports Clubs Sued by Mass. AG Over Unwanted Memberships During Pandemic

The complaint against parent company Town Sports International LLC was filed in Suffolk Superior Court

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Another lawsuit has been filed against Boston Sports Clubs after the company repeatedly failed to honor cancellation requests and to stop charging for unwanted memberships during the coronavirus pandemic, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced Tuesday.

The complaint against parent company Town Sports International LLC was filed Tuesday in Suffolk Superior Court.

The complaint alleges that the company "misled its members about their rights and continues to charge members who requested cancellation."

All clubs were closed on March 16 due to the pandemic.

The attorney general's office said more than 2,000 members reported trying to cancel their memberships for facilities that were no longer available. Those members told the attorney general's office they reached out to the company via phone, email and social media but never got responses -- all while continuing to be charged membership fees.

Some Boston Sports Clubs remained closed until early July, according to the attorney general's office, and due to the pandemic many closed again in September.

Town Sports International filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September. The company had said at the time that its facilities would continue to operate normally and the move was made to restructure to face challenges posed by the pandemic.

The company had agreed to a deal with the attorney general's office to provide refunds to its members while the bankruptcy was pending but has since refused to do so, authorities said in Tuesday's news release.

Town Sports International could not immediately be reached for comment on Tuesday afternoon.

Several members of BSC filed a class action lawsuit against the club in April, claiming they continued to charge members despite the closure of its facilities back in March. 

Consumers have the right under Massachusetts law to cancel a contract with a health club without penalty when the facility, "substantially changes the operation of the health club or location," the attorney general's office 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," Healey said. "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."

Any members who still have problems cancelling their memberships with BSC are urged to call the attorney general's consumer hotline at 617-727-8400.

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