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Washington Sports Club accused of deceiving customers, DC's attorney general sues

The company was found to be in violation of the District's Consumer Protection Procedures Act.

WASHINGTON — A popular D.C. gym and its operator are under fire again, accused of making money by deceiving its customers. DC's Attorney General Karl Racine on Tuesday sued Washington Sports Club.

With six locations in the district, it isn't the first time the gym has gotten in trouble with city officials.

In 2016, the district found that Town Sports International, operating as Washington Sports Clubs, was involved in deceptive cancellation practices, and the company agreed to stop doing it. The company was found to be in violation of the District's Consumer Protection Procedures Act.

Racine filed a lawsuit Tuesday on behalf the district that includes the following allegations:

  • The WSC continues to charge its customers for months and sometimes even years after they've canceled their membership.
  • The gym misleads consumers in order to convince them to sign up for gym memberships
  • Gym representatives make false and misleading statements. When people sign up in person, they use an electronic pad and aren't given the opportunity to read or review a membership agreement.
  • WSC charged unexpected fees when people sign up and when consumers asked for a refund, they are denied.
  • Gym representatives told customers they can cancel at any time for free, but the gym requires 45 days’ notice. That sometimes leads to a fee of almost $100.
  • WSC refuses to provide written membership contracts to unhappy customers.

The district has received at least 40 complaints so far.

When WUSA9 went to the WSC location on Wisconsin Avenue in northwest, the manager claimed to have no knowledge of the lawsuit.

WUSA9 contacted both WSC and Town Sports International and has not yet heard back.

People who think they’ve been a victim of the WSC can call the OAG Consumer Protection hotline at 202-442-9828.

Officials with the attorney general's office said it is hoping to impose civil penalties on the company, stop deceptive practices and get restitution for customers.

Read the entire lawsuit here. (link to this in CMS: http://oag.dc.gov/sites/default/files/2019-01/Washington-Sports-Club-Complaint.pdf)