coronavirus pandemic

Lawsuit Filed Over Gym Fees Charged During Closures

NBC 7 Responds looked at a potential class-action suit filed over a San Diego health company's fitness program

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Gyms have had to close or change how they operate because of the coronavirus pandemic. Many people haven't been able to work out in months, but have still been charged gym fees.

"The same ways we lived our life before the pandemic is not the way we can safely live our lives," said Don Foty, an attorney who filed the lawsuit against San Diego-based American Specialty Health.

The lawsuit claims ASH's "Active&Fit" program continued to charge tens of thousands of customers, even though gyms across the country were shut down. People can subscribe to the program, which advertises access to more than 11,000 gyms across the country. Many of which were closed because of the pandemic.

"Month after month, the company was still charging its customers the monthly membership fee," Foty said. "If the agreement is they're supposed to provide you with a service, and they're not providing that service, they can't charge you."

NBC 7 Responds reached out to American Specialty Health. The company said they have been served with the lawsuit, but would not comment further.

Foty said these charges are hurting a lot of people who could use the money for other expenses.

"These companies can't pass on their overhead charges to customers," Foty said. "Millions of people have lost their jobs. They're not the ones that are supposed to be subsidizing these companies."

Foty says people also have been denied refunds for gym membership fees.

"They've said these are challenging times for everyone and you're just going to have to eat the cost," Foty said.

There are a few things you can do if you are being charged membership fees for a gym or other closed business.

"Contact the company and ask why they are charging you," Foty said. "Contact your credit card company and ask why you are still being charged when you can't use the service."

Foty says if neither of those work, you can always contact an attorney to see what legal options you have.

"People just need to be diligent and know about their rights during this pandemic," he said.

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