Washington, DC, Attorney General Karl A. Racine is suing Town Sports International (TSI), Jupiter, Florida, over allegedly deceptive cancellation and billing practices at its Washington Sports Clubs, Racine's office announced Jan. 8. Racine claims TSI is violating consumer protection laws as well as a previous November 2016 settlement with the attorney general's office.
“It’s clear that Washington Sports Club is still making money by deceiving consumers, and that is not acceptable,” Racine said in a media release. “We are filing this lawsuit to protect District consumers and to warn businesses that if they profit by misleading or hiding information, we will hold them accountable for breaking the law.”
Racine alleges TSI is misleading consumers about the terms of membership agreements, failing to educate them about cancellation policies and continuing to bill them even after they attempt to cancel their memberships. He is seeking to provide relief for members who were subject to these alleged practices and to impose civil penalties against TSI.
TSI, which operates six Washington Sports Clubs locations, did not immediately respond to Club Industry's request for comment. TSI also operates New York Sports Clubs, Boston Sports Clubs and Philadelphia Sports Clubs.
After a 2016 investigation, TSI reached an agreement with the attorney general's office to comply with the local Consumer Protection Procedures Act (CPPA). As part of the agreement, TSI vowed to not mislead members about cancellation policies, according to Racine.
Since 2016, Racine has received approximately 50 complaints from local consumers about TSI allegedly violating the CPPA.
In total, Racine claims TSI is misleading consumers into signing up for memberships, failing to disclose all sign-up fees, refusing to provide written membership contracts, failing to inform consumers that memberships auto-renew, misleading consumers about cancellation policies, and continuing to charge consumers even after they cancel their memberships.
In October 2018, TSI reported its fifth consecutive quarter of revenue growth.
TSI ranked No. 7 on Club Industry’s Top 100 Health Clubs of 2018 list, reporting $403 million in 2017 revenue.