Lehigh Valley

Former fitness club members look for answers

Former fitness club members look for answers

After the sudden closure of a chain of Lehigh Valley fitness clubs this week, many members are left wondering what it means for their bank accounts.

There are options for people who have questions about their membership money.

Lehigh Valley Racquet and 24-7 Fitness Clubs abruptly shut its doors and its three locations Tuesday night.

"I really feel deceived and defrauded, I guess, because it's still taking money out of my account," said former member Elizabeth Battjes. "I looked up my bank information and sure enough, they had already taken my monthly membership fee of $102 out yesterday, after they had closed."

Battjes is not having much luck with her bank, either.

"They said it's not a fraudulent charge because I had agreed to have the money taken out," she said.

Consumer law attorney Jason M. Rapa weighed in on what's happening with the clubs.

"I haven't seen this type of action occur in a long time," he said. "That would be the remedy that I would suggest, first going to the Attorney General's office, finding out if there is a bond or a surety. If there is, making a claim. If that doesn't work out, then they should contact an attorney to pursue an action."

The attorney general's office issued the following statement Thursday:

"The office of attorney general is looking into the status of the financial security and is in contact with the FDIC. In addition, we are gathering information about the universe of club members who have prepaid memberships. We encourage club members to file complaints with our bureau of consumer protection either through our website or by calling 1-800-441-2555."

Battjes said she plans to reach out.

"You can't let this kind of stuff go," she said.

"My suggestion would be for individuals to make their claims as soon as possible, make an inquiry as soon as possible, because the pot that's there is only so big if it is there," Rapa added.

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