Local I-Team: Gym Shuts Down, Owner Still Charging Members

Local News

 A boutique gym shuts its doors with little to no warning. Members said they received the notice on Thursday and by Friday, doors were closed. Many people are expressing concern on social media about Q4Fitness in East Memphis. They want to know why the gym is charging them fees well after its closure.

The Local I-Team did some digging and found out that charging members, even after a health club shuts down is technically legal. It has to do with your individual contract. But a lawyer says there is a way out of it.

“We love our gym. It’s a small boutique gym,” said Amanda Farmer. “I can safely say that everyone who went there loved it. I just feel like Michael ran it into the ground.”

In a matter of hours feelings towards the owner of Q4Fitness flip flopped after he announced the immediate closure of his East Memphis gym. News spread by email, citing money trouble and a lack of interest by a potential buyer.

“The email was completely unprofessional,” said Farmer. “It was all about personal matters and money which is none of our business. You shouldn’t send that out to your clients.”

More concerning Farmer said the owner told her some members will still be billed into April.

“I was told today by him that if your account drafts on the 1st or the 5th you’re going to be drafted,” he said. “He has no intention of refunding anyone’s money. I think people are ticked they’re being billed for something they can’t use.”

The Local I-Team tried talking to owner Michael Spratlin but he wasn’t interested in telling his side of the story.

Instead he posted signs telling members they could make use of the nearby French Riviera gym.

The Local I-Team spoke to a French Riviera manager who said Q4Fitness members can work out at their facility.

Former Q4Fitness gym members say that’s little consolation.

In Spratlin’s email to members he said,” We have established, as required, a facility within 15 miles of the club for you to workout to cover any costs that you have paid on a monthly basis.”  His email went on to say, “as a reminder, any and all credit card charge backs will be referred immediately to Universal Collection Services for 3rd party collection.”

Local 24 met with a lawyer who says this tactic is technically legal. Gym members might not like the practice, but Joseph Barton says there is a way out.

“They need to revoke their membership in writing for a stated reason,” said Barton. “There’s a law in Tennessee that says if you have good reason, in this case, the club’s breach of contract, coupled with promises that weren’t made, then you should have a claim against the club and you shouldn’t have to pay for the club.”

Barton recommends reviewing your contract. If a gym doesn’t follow through on promises outlined, members have legal ground to terminate a membership without being charged.

As for French Riviera, the health club told the Local I-Team it is honoring memberships for 30 to 60 days. All you have to do is bring your key fob from Q4Fitness and sign a liability waiver.

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