About 100 members of the health club gathered in front of the Consumers Protection Foundation (CPF) office in Silom Road in inner Bangkok demanding the company accept responsibility for failing to provide the services agreed upon.
The protestors said they had paid the company the membership fees stipulated for the use of exercise equipment. The company had reneged.
CPF official Sawanee Chumchaliew said a total of 300 members had prepaid a combined total of 21.6 million baht for use of the equipment and had not received the promised services when the health club went into bankruptcy.
The demanded compensation would be much more if the fees paid by another 200 members were included, she said.
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“A major problem was that the company was closed down without giving any notice to its members. Many of the members still have assets in the firm’s lockers and could not bring them out.
“In addition, the members’ payments were made through credit cards and cannot be cancelled and the fees are still being charged by the company without any services being provided,” said Ms Sawanee.
Her foundation will hold a meeting with related state offices on Sept 23 to find acceptable solutions for the affected members. One way out of the problem would be to ask the Bank of Thailand to order all banks to stop debiting their clients the California Wow fitness fees, she said.
Yoawapa Chamrassomboon, a representative of the rallying members, said that she is a life-long member of the health club. After the club branch near her residence was closed down, it was a great inconvenience to travel to another club in the centre of Bangkok, which was still open.
Ms Yaowapa said she had asked the club to cancel her membership, but there was no response, so she had to seek help from the Consumer Protection Foundation.
She said the rallying members had two demands:
1) The health club must inform all credit card service providing banks to stop collecting the fitness fee through the credit cards without any conditions, and2) The company must pay back in full the fees paid by all members who had cancelled memberships or wanted to do so, together with the interest rate stipulated by the law, without any conditions.
If the health club fails to comply with the demands, the club’s members will file both civil and criminal lawsuits against it, charging the franchise with fraud, she said.