Snap Fitness Inc., Chanhassen, Minnesota, has been accused of unfairly charging its customers a $35 club enhancement fee, according to a July 3 class action complaint filed in Ohio common pleas court.
Plaintiff Thomas Dwyer complained to his local Ohio Snap Fitness franchisee in February when he learned in an email of the upcoming fee. The fee is to be used for nationwide club improvements, according to court documents obtained by Club Industry, but Dwyer argued that such a provision was not part of his original membership agreement. The franchisee allegedly affirmed that the fee "cannot be found in [the] membership agreement and is an industry wide fee that [the] corporate oversight just added," and that the franchisee "just found out about [the fee] a few weeks ago."
The fee was later charged to Dwyer's on-file credit card. He is now seeking a trial by jury and damages on his own behalf, as well as for other similarly affected members.
Dwyer's court complaint alleges: "The membership agreement contains no provision authorizing either the franchisee or Snap Fitness to charge a club enhancement fee, or any other fees, including but not limited to, for maintenance of the club. When plaintiff executed the membership agreement, he was never advised of a club membership fee, or any other fees, including but not limited to, for maintenance or upgrade of the club."
Dwyer argues that Snap Fitness' 43 Ohio franchisees must adhere to corporate policies related to memberships and pricing, even though they are independently operated.
The court complaint accuses Snap Fitness of breach of contract, unjust enrichment, violating the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act and violating the Ohio Prepaid Entertainment Contract Act.
"Snap Fitness Corporate denies any wrongdoing and will vigorously defend against the lawsuit," a spokesperson for Snap Fitness' parent entity, Lift Brands Inc. told Club Industry on July 21.