24 Hour Fitness, San Ramon, California, is facing another federal lawsuit over its lifetime membership contract terms.
Russell Marchewka filed a class action complaint on April 29 demanding a jury trial in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California. The complaint alleges the annual renewal rate on his lifetime membership increased from $69 to $119 per year in December 2015. The class, if granted by the court, would include all individuals who purchased a prepaid membership in the states where 24 Hour operates clubs and whose fixed, annual renewal rates allegedly increased.
Marchewka allegedly purchased a 24 Hour Fitness pre-paid lifetime membership in 2007 while living in Orange County, California, for approximately $675 for three years of membership. He was promised that he would only have to pay a $69 fixed annual fee for life after January 2010 to maintain the membership, according to the complaint.
After Marchweka completed the three-year membership term in 2010, he renewed his membership through 2015 and paid the $69 annual renewal rate until he received notification of the fee increase in a December 2015 letter from 24 Hour Fitness, according to the complaint. Marchewka said 24 Hour Fitness has not provided him with a copy of a contract that bears his signature and contains a provision that allows 24 Hour Fitness to increase the fixed annual rate, according to the complaint.
Marchewka is seeking certification of the case as a class action; relief including actual damages, restitution and disgorgement; injunctive and declaratory relief, including an order and judgment directing 24 Hour not to raise annual renewal rates for class members; pre-judgment and post-judgment interest; attorney fees and costs; potential additional orders or judgments to prevent alleged 24 Hour practices detailed in the complaint; and other favorable relief allowable under law.
Marchewka's case is similar to a class action lawsuit filed in the Northern District of California on April 1. The three plaintiffs in that case – O'Shea et al. v. 24 Hour Fitness USA Inc. – allegedly had their lifetime membership annual renewal fees increase in January: Kevin O'Shea's fee increased from $49 to $124, Mark Victov's fee increased from $69 to $119, and Rod Morris' fee increased from $49 to $161.29.
Both the Marchewka and O'Shea cases allege 24 Hour Fitness violated the California Unfair Competition Law, California Consumers Legal Remedies Act and the California Health Studio Services Contract Law. Marchewka also alleges fraud for 24 Hour Fitness' alleged misrepresentations of the fixed annual renewal rate.
After April 2006, 24 Hour's standard membership agreement form allegedly did not guarantee lifelong memberships, according to the O'Shea complaint. Instead, the second page allegedly contained fine print containing language that 24 Hour could increase all subsequent annual renewal amounts on prepaid memberships, according to the complaint.
24 Hour Fitness did not respond to a Club Industry request seeking comment for this story.
Below is the complaint filed in Marchewka v. 24 Hour Fitness USA Inc: