24 Hour Faces Another RICO Class-Action Lawsuit

A lawsuit was filed last week against 24 Hour Fitness, claiming the company charges members an additional month of dues when they attempt to cancel their membership.

The lawsuit, Albert Alatorre vs. 24 Hour Fitness USA Inc., was filed Aug. 30 in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, San Francisco.

Representing Alatorre and similarly situated plaintiffs are the law firms Wasserman, Comden, Casselman and Esensten LLP, Tarzana, CA, and Keller Grover LLP, San Francisco. The same law firms represented plaintiffs in a similar case, Friedman vs. 24 Hour Fitness USA Inc., that was settled in 2010. The San Ramon, CA-based company is once again accused of violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.

24 Hour makes unauthorized electronic fund transfer (EFT) “taps” into member bank accounts 60 to 90 days after cancellation, according to the lawsuit, and that 24 Hour does this practice in all of its 346 clubs in 14 states. In the complaint, Alatorre claims he gave his notice of cancellation on June 1, 2009, yet he says he was charged through Aug. 1, 2009. The lawsuit also alleges that no class member has ever received a full refund for the extra “EFT tap.”

The lawsuit represents all 24 Hour members in which an EFT was made from their bank account, credit card or charge card by LaSalle Bank National Association, Paymentech Merchant Services Inc. or any other payment processor on behalf of 24 Hour for dues charges associated with an Unlimited Guest Services Special Privilege Agreement (SPA) after they filed a request for cancellation or termination of their membership.

Alatorre and other plaintiffs seek damages and an injunction for racketeering, unfair competition, fraud, breach of contract and misrepresentation.

24 Hour says it does not comment on pending litigation.

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