HCOA Fitness, which on Tuesday was hit with a lawsuit by members claiming the chain had continued to charge membership fees during the lock-down, said it has continued to “expedite the freezing or cancellation of memberships.”
Rick Bouza, president of the 14-gym chain, said since the government mandated the closure of businesses on the island on Mar. 16 to fight the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the company has offered service to 9,832 customers by phone, has frozen or canceled 1,600 memberships and responded to 4,432 emails received by our members.
“We’re responding as fast as we can under these circumstances, and we’re reinforcing our customer service personnel,” he said.
The lawsuit filed at the San Juan Superior Court seeks some $3 million in fees that have already been charged and — if certified as a class-action case — plaintiffs Nicholas P. Mintzias; Krystal Abrante and Chris Brunner are also asking for another $6 million, plus interest and attorney fees.
They have also asked the court to issue a preliminary and permanent injunction preventing HCOA from continue charging membership fees while facilities are closed.
In the statement, Bouza said members who choose not to cancel will have a credit for the amount of time they were unable to attend the gyms and have unlimited access to more than 300 virtual classes that HCOA continues to offer.
“Under no scenario will customers be charged for services not rendered. Those who do not cancel will have that time on credit to use at the gyms after the reopening of the chain,” he said, adding cancellation requests take up to 14 business days to process.
While the case has been filed in court, Rep. Maricarmen Mas-Rodriguez has announced plans to launch a legislative investigation into the matter. She said her office has received “dozens of complaints” from consumers against a number of gyms, including HCOA, over collected fees.