Family Fitness Center of western Michigan has been issued a cease and desist order regarding its cancellation fees from the Michigan attorney general’s office.
The order calls for the gym franchise to discontinue "making any statements, written or verbal, that cause customers to believe they will be required to pay the full amount of their contract, even if they cancel their membership."
In a press release, attorney general Bill Schuette said the gym’s contract agreements "generally ranged from one to three years in duration, meaning Family Fitness told consumers they are obliged to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars for unused months remaining on those agreements.”
According to mlive.com, the attorney general’s office has received 48 consumer complaints about the gym’s policies this year.
However, Family Fitness holds that the gym has a right to be paid the full agreed-upon amount for the duration of the contract when a patron cancels a membership or personal training agreement.
In a letter to Family Fitness, the attorney general’s office said that claim "does not appear supportable by the plain language of the contracts” that have been under review.
If the chain does not take action to amend the policy, the attorney general’s office has warned that it will take further action, including filing suit against the gym if need be.
"When consumers enter into contracts, the law requires that they be treated honestly and fairly," said Schuette. "Using the threat of enormous penalties as a way of keeping customers locked into membership agreements misleads consumers about their legal rights."