A proposed class-action lawsuit alleges that Gold's Gym International, Dallas, broke federal law by sending non-consensual promotional text messages to consumers.
Tzvi A. Zemel on March 22 filed a complaint in New Jersey federal court that says that Gold's Gym violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). He is seeking a trial by jury, an injunction stopping Gold's Gym from sending further messages and an award of damages and attorney fees for himself and the proposed class he claims to represent for "actual harm, included aggravation, nuisance, and invasion of privacy that necessarily accompanies the receipt of unsolicited text messages," the complaint states.
Zemel claims that in February he began receiving a number of unsolicited automated text messages from Gold's Gym detailing various promotional offers, despite having no prior relationship with Gold's Gym. Zemel maintains he has never visited a Gold's Gym, nor has he ever voluntarily signed up for any communications from the company.
The complaint alleges the unsolicited text messages were placed to Zemel's phone via an automatic telephone dialing system (or autodialer), "which had the capacity to produce or store numbers randomly or sequentially, and to dial such numbers, to place text message calls to Plaintiff’s cellular telephone."
Zemel's claims hinge upon the TCPA, which was established by Congress in 1991 to mitigate a growing number of consumer complaints regarding telemarketing practices. The act regulates autodialers, according to the complaint, specifically prohibiting their use in making a call to a wireless number in the absence of an emergency or prior expressed consent from the receiving party.
Per the TCPA, "the burden is on Defendant to demonstrate that Plaintiff provided express consent within the meaning of the statute," according to Zemel's complaint.
Gold's Gym did not respond to Club Industry's requests for comment.
In March 2015, Life Time Fitness, Chanhassen, Minnesota, settled a similar TCPA lawsuit for more than $10 million.