B.C. fitness club closure leaves some in lurch

Some fitness centre members caught in the change of ownership of a failed Vancouver gym are having trouble getting their membership money back.
The fitness centre at Broadway and Fir Street in Vancouver changed ownership in September but closed Nov. 30. (CBC)

A Vancouver fitness centre has gone out of business unexpectedly, but is offering refunds only to members who signed up in the last three months — leaving those who’d signed with the original owners out of luck.

In September, Club Phoenix, based in Victoria, had been looking to expand and took over the business located at Broadway and Fir Street that had been previously owned by Target Personal Training.

"We feel we're not responsible for [prior members] because we did not receive any money whatsoever for any memberships that were purchased from Target," said Club Phoenix co-owner Diana Dawson. "We received nothing at all."

Club Phoenix abruptly closed the centre Nov. 30.

Consumer Protection B.C. said it would be investigating the case.

"I can't say specifically whether there would be recourse for the consumers, but we will look at their contracts and look at some of those details to see whether we can help people," said spokeswoman Tatiana Chabeaux-Smith.

Consumer Protection B.C., which is responsible for enforcing the law on fitness centre contracts, says any members who have lost money as a result of the recent closure should contact them.

As a general precaution, the agency says gym members should ask for a trial membership before they join a fitness club, to check with other members if they are satisfied with the facility and to check the fine print - especially when it comes to refunds and cancellations.

With files from the CBC's Ayesha Bhatty