Capital Fitness To Return Uncashed Checks To Some Members
Posted January 6, 2006 10:27 a.m. EST
RALEIGH, N.C. — Capital Fitness sent letters in December, saying members at its eight facilities would be charged a $25 "Up Fit" fee for club upgrades. They automatically drafted accounts of many members.
Some complained about whether it was legal and contacted Attorney General Roy Cooper. He said because the fee was not spelled out in the contracts of more than 33,000 members, the gym cannot collect it, so the company will send the uncashed checks back to those consumers.
For the remaining 6,600 members who signed a newer version of the contract, Cooper questions how the fee is spelled out.
"It's clearly in the contract but it's in the part where there's a lot of writing, a lot of small print and it's not included in the area where you normally would expect fees and charges to be," Cooper said.
Cooper said the negotiations continue, but Capital Fitness CEO Rick Quinn told WRAL he is confident they can charge those 6,600 members. He said all new contracts will make the possibility of that charge more prominent.
Had the fee gone through for all 40,000 members, it would have generated $1 million for the club. Now, $835,000 in fees will be dropped and the gym will have to show the state Attorney General what improvements were made with the money they can collect.
The $25 fee is spelled out under the "Terms of Membership," line 8 of the newer contract. It says "Club membership may from time to time, change the rules and regulations governing the operations of the Club. The Club reserves the right to charge an upfit fee of $25 annually for facility improvements at its discretion."