Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette on Wednesday told West Michigan-based Family Fitness that it should immediately cease and desist its unlawful practices.
Schuette is accusing them of misleading members into believing they must make certain monetary payments after they canceled their gym contracts. Schuette said Family Fitness should stop making any statements, written or verbal, that cause customers to believe they will be required to pay the full amount of their contract, even if they cancel their membership.
The WZZM 13 Watchdog team has also received several complaints from customers who say they were charged extra on their credit cards after they canceled their contracts.
Hope VanDyke says she works near the Plainfield location and hears complaints often. “They say that they’ve been charged extra. We have a lot of people that come in here that say that, so I try to discourage people from going there.”
Schuette's inquiry into Family Fitness stems from the high number of complaints his Office has received since 2011. So far in 2017, 48 consumer complaints were filed against Family Fitness. Another 55 consumer complaints were filed against Family Fitness between 2011 and 2016.
Family Fitness has taken the position that it believes the gym is entitled to payment of the full contract amount when a consumer cancels, or attempts to cancel, membership and personal training agreements.
These agreements generally ranged from one to three years in duration, meaning Family Fitness told consumers they are obliged to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars for unused months remaining on those agreements.
There are fourteen Family Fitness centers in West Michigan, with locations in Allendale, Alpine, Grand Rapids, Grandville, Holland, Muskegon, North Muskegon, Norton Shores, Plainwell, Portage, Sparta, Standale, and Wyoming.
We've reached out to Family Fitness’ corporate offices in Grand Rapids and so far, we have not heard back.
Consumers may file a complaint online by going to Online Consumer Complaint/Inquiry. If you have any questions, please call the Consumer Protection Division Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 517-373-1140 or toll free 877-765-8388.
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