Surrey gym offers free membership to couple whose gym closed and kept fees

Aug 2 2022, 10:54 pm

A Maple Ridge couple have been offered a complimentary membership from another local gym after Snap Fitness closed and kept their pre-paid year-long membership fee.

After Daily Hive shared the story, L&L Signature Fitness Group in Surrey offered Sahil Mahajan and his wife Suhani a complimentary four-month membership to ease their struggle.

“Just hoping to help,” L&L’s director of operations Carl Ulmer wrote in an email. “Canadians must become more active, and this pandemic has not made fitness as accessible as it used to be.”

Sahil said he’s very grateful for the free offer, but said they haven’t taken the Surrey gym up on it because it’s quite far from them.

Sahil and Suhani paid just over $1,000 in January 2022 for a 12-month membership at Snap Fitness, a gym that was just a two-minute walk from their home. But in May they showed up to find the gym was closed and the unit was up for lease — and Mahajan’s calls and emails to get his money back have gone unanswered.

Daily Hive also contacted Snap Fitness’ media relations team but never received a response. Daily Hive didn’t find any bankruptcy declarations for Snap Fitness in a search for Canada’s Bankruptcy and Insolvency Records.

Tatiana Chabeaux-Smith, spokesperson for Consumer Protection BC, told Daily Hive that consumers have access to different types of recourse depending if a business has simply closed or if it’s declared bankruptcy.

If a business provides services that are ongoing and physical in nature, as a gym does, consumers have cancellation and refund rights for their contracts in certain situations. If a fitness studio closes its doors or changes the services offered, customers are within their rights to cancel and receive a refund because it’s considered a “material change” by the supplier.

Consumer Protection BC has instructions on its website to help people through the contract cancellation process.

On the other hand, if a business declares bankruptcy, it can be more challenging for customers to get their money back. In those situations, consumers can contact the bankruptcy trustee and request to be added to the list of creditors — but even then, there’s no guarantee of getting money back.

A real estate agent trying to find a new commercial tenant for Snap Fitness’ space said he didn’t have any contact information for the gym, only for the building’s landlord. But he confirmed he listed the commercial unit in June.

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