- Office of Attorney General Maura Healey
Media Contact for AG Healey Secures Commitment from Boston Sports Club to Stop Charging Members While Gyms are Closed
Boston — Attorney General Maura Healey today announced that after conversations with her office, Boston Sports Club (BSC) has committed to immediately stop billing their members while their gyms are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and to allow their members to cancel their contracts without paying a fee.
“We’re pleased that BSC has committed to our office that it will stop charging members while its clubs are closed and to allow members to cancel without paying a fee or penalty, as required by state law,” said AG Healey. “We’ll be watching closely to make sure the company does right by its clients going forward.”
BSC’s commitment is the result of a demand letter the AG’s Office sent to Town Sports International Holdings Inc., the parent company of BSC, last week. In the letter, AG Healey says BSC misled its members about their right to cancel their membership and continued to charge members who tried to cancel in violation of Massachusetts consumer protection laws.
Since BSC closed all its locations on March 16, the AG’s Office has received more than 920 complaints from members who have tried and failed to cancel their contracts with the company. These consumers report that they have called, emailed and sent social media messages to BSC in an effort to cancel their contracts, all without receiving any response. Consumers also alleged BSC continued to charge consumers for memberships they can’t use even after these consumers gave notice of their wish to cancel.
In its commitment to the AG’s Office, BSC has stated that it will cease all billing until its clubs reopen by placing a no-cost freeze on all member accounts, provide additional membership access equal to the number of days paid while the clubs are closed, allow members to cancel by sending a request through their club’s website, and waive all cancelation fees through April 30, 2020. BSC is also offering online streaming workouts for members who wish to remain active and has offered to provide upgrades for BSC members once their clubs reopen. Current BSC members may want to consider whether maintaining or freezing their membership is a better option for them than cancelling their contracts. BSC members who rejoin their club at a later date may have to enter a new contract with BSC and pay a new membership fee.
Under Massachusetts law, consumers have a right to cancel a contract with a health club when the club “substantially changes the operation of the health club or location.” The indefinite closure of all BSC clubs as a result of the COVID-19 epidemic qualifies as a “substantial change” and gives BSC’s members the right to cancel their contracts.
If consumers continue to have problems canceling their contracts with BSC or have questions related to the AG’s Office response to COVID-19, they may call the AG’s consumer hotline at 617-727-8400 or file a complaint online.
Visit AG Healey’s COVID-19 resources page for information about how the office can assist you during this crisis.