Gym owners must take ethical route, refund members

Updated: Jul 18, 2019, 07:27 IST | A Correspondent

The owners collected annual fees from more than 200 people and fled in January this year, after shutting the gym on the pretext of repair work

Gym owners must take ethical route, refund members
Representational Picture

This paper had highlighted how the owner of a fitness centre in the western suburbs fled in the beginning of this year after duping more than 200 members of Rs 9.7 lakh. He was arrested recently because of the relentless follow-up by the members he cheated. The co-owner though is still on the run.

The owners collected annual fees from more than 200 people and fled in January this year, after shutting the gym on the pretext of repair work. When the gym remained shut for almost three months, the members filed a police complaint in April. The cops booked the duo for cheating.

In 2016, this paper had a front page report about a famous fitness trainer who shut her Bandra centre without informing members citing some maintenance work. The gym members had filed a complaint with the Khar police station for a refund. They were then told to go to consumer court.

Gym owners need to take the ethical route and refund members if they are constrained to shut the premises. There is also no transparency in communication and several fitness centres have shut down abruptly or under the guise of repair work. At times, they have shifted venue and forced members to move to the new premises, instead of giving them a refund. Wary of action by members, several fitness chains actually have a clause in their membership forms citing that they might move to another vicinity in case of unforeseen circumstances and members would not be entitled to refund, but could continue training at the new venue. Those who join must read the fine print on the membership form. This has become a common way to hoodwink the membership base and owners must be held accountable. They are morally and legally bound to return members’ money. Any other way is cheating and they need to be brought to book for it.

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