California Fitness closed... what now for its members?
California Fitness has ceased operations in Singapore, after the last two outlets at Novena and Bugis shut down on Wednesday (July 20).
Customers could have bought gym membership packages at California Fitness up till the point of closure.
Some of these packages involved a lump-sum payment of $4,000 for a two-year membership. Others are paid through monthly instalments of about $100 each via GIRO or credit card.
Were you one of the gym's members who paid for a package you can't use anymore?
Here are some tips from the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case), and lawyer Rajan Supramaniam on what you can do to try to get your money back.
1. Cancel your monthly instalment
If you are subscribed to a monthly payment scheme via credit card, Case's executive director Seah Seng Choon recommends contacting your bank immediately and asking for a chargeback due to non-delivery of services.
"If the chargeback claim is valid, consumers would not be liable for that payment and any recurring payment to California Fitness," said Mr Seah.
If paying via GIRO, you should instead ask your bank to cease GIRO payment to California Fitness.
However, if the bank has already paid California Fitness in full, you may still be liable to monthly repayments.
2. Get yourself a lawyer
Mr Supramaniam recommends seeking legal advice from a lawyer, who can look at the clauses in the contract you've signed with California Fitness before informing you what you can do.
"We need to look at the terms (that were agreed upon) before seeing what further action can be taken," he said.
3. Contact the relevant authorities
Mr Supramaniam also recommends exploring options with the Ministry of Trade and Industry, to see if they could render any assistance.
An online petition on change.org for California Fitness to refund its victims has 2,024 supporters so far. Should the petition be successful, it would be sent to Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang.
Mr Seah also recommends contacting Case for further assistance at their hotline number 6100-0315.
From the time the announcement was made this morning up until 5pm, Case has received 225 complaints from consumers.
Case is currently contacting the provisional liquidators and will update their advisory in due course.