Several hundred customers of GoodLife Fitness are learning they may have been the victims of fraud after the memberships they paid for were never legitimately registered with the company.
Francesco Campo told CityNews he first signed up with GoodLife Fitness in 2016, handing over $435 in cash to Leanna Habil, who was general manager at the Richmond Hill facility at the time. When he went to renew his membership in January, he was told the cost would be only $390 this time around. Three weeks later, Campo was denied access to the fitness centre after being told there was no record of his paid membership.
Campo was then informed that Habil was no longer with the company.
It appears Campo was not the only one affected by the alleged scam.
A GoodLife spokeswoman told CityNews approximately 275 members were duped out of almost $125,000. The issue came to light after the company identified what it calls “irregular banking activity” for one of its members.
“We are very sorry for their experience and are doing all that we can to make this situation right for them,” Tracy Matthews, executive director of membership services said in an email.
Matthews said the company is planning to honour the memberships that were sold by Habil.
She added GoodLife has launched an internal investigation and is taking “swift and appropriate action” against Habil.
In a telephone interview with CityNews, Habil denied the allegations, saying the memberships were pre-approved by other managers at GoodLife. She said she has receipts of all the pre-payments made to her.
GoodLife disputes those claims, saying it has proof that Habil received money from members which was never forwarded to the company.
The Ministry of Government and Consumer Services said anyone with any questions can call Consumer Protection Ontario at 1-800-889-9768 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Under Ontario’s Consumer Protection Act, gym members who have to pay in advance and the total payment obligation exceeds $50, have the right to:
o A 10-day cooling-off period
- Right to cancel a gym membership within 10 days of receiving a written copy of your contract, without providing a reason.
o Pay monthly
- Right to choose to pay in instalments instead of paying up-front for the whole time period agreed upon.
o All contracts for maximum one year
- Contracts cannot be made for a term longer than one year and consumers have the right to receive a renewal notice between 30 and 90 days before contract expires.
- Before signing a contract, consumers should make sure that the gym or facility they choose is the right fit for them. Consumers should ensure that:
o Gym hours and class times fit their schedule;
o Trainers and instructors are qualified;
o Facilities are clean and equipment is well maintained; and
o They take the time to review the contract and ask questions.
- Please note that the 10 day cooling off period does not apply to renewals.
- Contracts may be renewed only if the gym follows certain rules, including:
o sending you a renewal notice at least 30 days, but not more than 90 days before the contract expires
o giving you a copy of the contract that clearly notes all changes the gym has made to the contract
o If you received a renewal notice and did not respond to it, the club has the right to renew and bill you.