Written by The Business Journal Staff
Fitness Evolution has settled a lawsuit with the Fresno County District Attorney’s office for $1.8 million over alleged unfair business practices.
District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp filed a civil action against the gym along with seven other DA offices across California, according to a news release from Smittcamp’s office.
An investigation was launched into customer complaints between 2011 and 2015 of false advertising of membership promotions, unauthorized billings, cancellation practices and collections practices.
The investigation examined whether the company used the alleged ill-gotten gains to fuel its growth and expansion.
In addition to the settlement, a judgment filed in Santa Cruz County by the joint task force requires Fitness Evolution to “provide thousands of its past and current members with the right to cancel their contracts with the gyms,” according to the press release. The gym must also forgive past due consumer collections, which the court valued at approximately $11 million.
Fitness Evolution agreed to pay $500,000 in restitution to members who may have suffered “ascertainable financial harm” from the unauthorized charges. They will also reverse any negative reports made with credit bureaus and train employees about preventing future abuses.
The joint task force was made up of officials from Santa Cruz, Merced, Monterey, San Joaquin, Santa Clara, Stanislaus, Tulare and Fresno counties. The investigation began in 2015.
Fitness Evolution never admitted wrongdoing and the district attorney’s office reported that the gym cooperated with the investigation.
Fitness Evolution locations in the Central Valley have since been rebranded under the name Fit Republic. Based in Pleasanton, Fit Republic has more than 60 gyms in Central and Northern California and Washington state.
People who were members of the gym between June 2011 and September 2015 with questions about the settlement can call the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office at (559) 600-3156.