24 Hour News 8 web staff -
GEORGETOWN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) -- Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has filed a class-action lawsuit against Family Fitness for allegedly violating Michigan's Consumer Protection Act.
Schuette announced the lawsuit against the Jenison-based company Tuesday. It comes about two months after the attorney general ordered Family Fitness to stop collecting excessive cancellation fees from its members.
Schuette says he's received 286 consumer complaints about Family Fitness this year.
The class-action lawsuit claims Family Fitness misrepresents cost, contract duration and the customer's right to cancel their contract.
The lawsuit also accuses Family Fitness of telling patrons who win drawings that their membership is free. The consumer later learns there are monthly costs, according to the attorney general's office.
The lawsuit also claims Family Fitness "appears to be putting consumers under duress" by telling them the only way they can remove alleged debts and stop the collections process is to enter into a new membership agreement.
Schuette is asking for financial relief for affected customers, as well as clearing their credit reports of debts caused by "unlawful conduct by these fitness clubs."
When Schuette first announced the cease and desist order in July, Family Fitness released the following statement:
"Family Fitness fully stands behind both the integrity and the validity of our contracts.
"Family Fitness Michigan will not mediate or share member information with broadcast or any social media organizations. We encourage any member who wishes to discuss their current agreement to reach out to our corporate office directly.
"We look forward to continuing to serve the tens of thousands of our customers who enjoy our fitness centers every day."
Family Fitness will have a chance to respond to the lawsuit by filing a motion or answer with the court, according to Schuette.
West Michigan is home to 14 Family Fitness centers, including locations in Allendale, Alpine Township, Grand Rapids, Grandville, Holland, Muskegon, North Muskegon, Norton Shores, Plainwell, Portage, Sparta, Standale and Wyoming.
Family Fitness customers can file a complaint against the company by visiting the attorney general's office online or by calling 877-765-8388.