A potential class-action lawsuit has been filed in Ohio against the Lexington-based fitness club chain Urban Active, which has been the target of billing complaints.
The filing comes after the chain was chided last week by Central Ohio's Better Business Bureau, which noted that there have been more than 200 complaints filed against its clubs there during the past year, with 78 of those complaints unanswered or unresolved.
The suit was filed on behalf of two Urban Active customers by the Columbus law firm Isaac, Brant, Ledman and Teetor LLP, and it seeks class-action status to cover customers since March 27, 2000.
The suit alleges that customer Terry Troutman has been assessed late fees even though the company has been charging the monthly membership fee to his credit card. Urban Active "has made one attempt to correct the improper payment by crediting a future payment. ... The other two late payments have never been remedied," the suit claims.
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Troutman is the father of Isaac Brant attorney Mark Troutman, who filed the suit.
"He was facing the same issues that everyone else was facing," said Mark Troutman, noting that his father questioned why he should hire an attorney for a $40 dispute. "That's exactly what class actions are supposed to help with."
The suits also alleges that gym member Edward Lundberg attempted to transfer his membership to a different Urban Active gym after his initial 18-month contract expired, but that the chain has since billed him for memberships at both gyms.
The suit also alleges that the company has violated Ohio's Consumer Sales Practices Act by charging customers for services without their authorization.
"We want to bring the full measure of justice to each person taken advantage of by Urban Active," Mark Troutman said in a statement. "What Urban Active did to these folks is an affront to their customers, and also to every honest business out there."
Coby DeVary, chief operating officer of Urban Active, said the company doesn't comment on pending litigation. But he said, "We take every customer-service issue seriously, and we're working diligently to resolve each and every one of these issues."
The company said last week after the Better Business Bureau's comments that it would dedicate an employee full-time to resolving customer complaints.
"We've realigned personnel, added staff in our corporate headquarters ... to meet and exceed our customers' expectations," DeVary said Wednesday.