JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Many customers are looking to get their money back after a popular gym in Mandarin closed Wednesday morning without notifying members beforehand.
The attorney general's office said Club Fitness of Mandarin had four previous complaints against it.
Less than 48 hours after Club Fitness of Mandarin on San Jose Boulevard closed its doors, a new notice was posted at the gym, warning of property seizure and saying the business owes $19,000 in back taxes. The Club Fitness corporate office told News4Jax Wednesday that the gym was forced to close because of financial difficulties.
News4Jax discovered Club Fitness has been open since 2010 and was formerly called "Just Fitness," until two years ago, when it closed and changed the name to "Club Fitness."
The state said the company does have an active business license that's valid until 2017. There are also other Club Fitness locations, including two in North Carolina and another one in Daytona, opening soon.
"There's nothing, certainly, that can keep a business from shutting down, especially when they are saying, 'Listen, financially this is just not favorable for us to continue.' But the law will protect consumers and customers from businesses just taking your money," said attorney Rhonda Peoples-Waters.
Peoples-Waters said the Club Fitness contract specifies that the facility to which the company is transferring people must be within a 5-mile radius or the member can ask for a refund for services that were not rendered.
News4Jax mapped out the route to the new Planet Fitness in Bartram Park, to which Club Fitness of Mandarin is sending its members, and the location is about 8 miles away.
"I would definitely recommend to customers to put this in writing: that they are requesting the refund based on the unused portion of the payment that they have made," Peoples-Waters said.
As far as the sudden notice, Peoples-Waters said, there is nothing in the contract that prevents Club Fitness from closing its doors without warning.
"It doesn't look like the actual Club Fitness had an obligation. Then, of course, it's good business practice to provide it to them. But based on this contract, it doesn't give a time period."
The Club Fitness corporate office said it also contacted the attorney general's office to notify it that the gym was closing and members were affected.
Anyone wishing to submit a concern or complaint can do so on Club Fitness' website.
Club Fitness of Mandarin on San Jose Boulevard posted a letter on the door early Wednesday, explaining the gym is closing "due to rising costs in operating overhead." But members said that's the only notice they have ever received.
New4Jax spoke Wednesday with the owner of Club Fitness, who said they are doing everything they can to accommodate clients. He said they tried to make rent this month, but couldn't make it and made the decision to shut down the facility in the last week.
McCall Gosselin, with Planet Fitness, sent the following statement to News4Jax Wednesday afternoon:
"Thanks again for reaching out. I can confirm that as a result of Club Fitness' closure, the nearby newly opened Planet Fitness is welcoming its members, and PF club staff and the local franchise owners are doing everything possible to make this transition as easy and seamless as possible.
"We look forward to introducing new members to all the amenities that Planet Fitness has to offer -- a larger, extremely clean 22,000 square foot club with brand new equipment, flat screen televisions, full size locker rooms, unlimited fitness training, and more -- all in a non-intimidating, judgment-free zone for just $10 per month."