PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The Attorney General has filed a civil lawsuit against the owner of Gold’s Gym after receiving more than 140 written complaints following its sudden closure in April.
The lawsuit was filed on Monday against David Walker and Gable Fitness, the owner and parent company of Gold’s Gym in North Providence and Warwick, citing violations of the state’s deceptive trade practices act and health club act.
Members arrived at Gold’s Gym in North Providence on April 10 to find a “For Lease” sign directly underneath the chain’s famous logo. The doors were locked, and a typed message told customers their memberships would be honored at the company’s Warwick location.
According to the Attorney General’s office, under Rhode Island law, a customer may not get a refund of a pre-paid membership if there is another health club within 15 miles that accepts the contract. The distance between the two gyms fell within the location requirements.
On May 18, Walker sold the Warwick Gold’s Gym which began operating under new ownership and the name of Global Gym. According to the Attorney General’s office, one-time North Providence Gold’s Gym members were slapped with a surcharge at the new Global Gym in Warwick.
Records show that Walker has received $10,300 from the sale of the Warwick location, and will receive $20,000 in total.
The Attorney General’s office received more than 140 written complaints from gym members who said Walker accepted membership fees for services they did not get, which is a violation of the state’s health club act.
So far, none of the money that Walker received in the Warwick sale has been used to refund the 144 customers who have filed complaints.
Walker appeared before the Attorney General’s office and the civil lawsuit was filed in Superior Court shortly after.
If there are Gold’s Gym members who believe they should receive a refund, they are asked to file a complaint with the Consumer Protection Unit of the Office of Attorney General.
Other local gyms such as Fitness Together located in Lincoln and Barrington, said they will honor personal training time for customers at Gold’s Gym in North Providence.