Curious about false advertising? Wondering what the law says about it, how to report it, and what to do if you have been a victim? We explain how to report 24 Hour Fitness if they have done something wrong and more.
False advertising, sometimes called misleading or deceptive marketing and advertising, is any situation where a business presents false or misleading information about themselves, their products or services in an attempt to get you to make a purchase. This might be presenting information that is false about themselves or about their competitor, presenting information about prices or even quality.
The rules that govern false advertising and marketing exist at the state and federal level. These consumer protection laws are almost all governed by The Federal Trade Commission Act, which established the FTC in 1914. The FTC is who responds to claims about false advertising today. Some examples of the rules outlined in that section are:
Sourced from the FTC with creative input from FairShake.
The FTC has a lot of different categories that encompass false advertising or misleading advertising. A company can be charged with false advertising if, for example, they failed to disclose known information about their products that could lead to property damage or personal injury. You need to know if a product you are using might have a harmful impact on your health especially when that product is an advertisement for medication or alcohol.
In 2017 24 Hour Fitness agreed to pay $1.2 million in fines as a result of misleading their members about agreements. Customers noted that sales staff promised lifetime memberships would incur annual membership dues that remained the same price for the rest of their memberships, but that was not the case when members started getting notices about their dues increasing. The case was Shah v. 24 Hour Fitness, Inc. and in it, a judge agreed to enforce a settlement from 24 Hour Fitness for their misleading lifetime memberships.
Another case was Harper v. 24 Hour Fitness, Inc. wherein the plaintiffs claimed that they entered prepaid memberships but 24 Hour Fitness used false advertising and misled them by failing to state the length of prepaid memberships, which was a special 3 year contract, would automatically renew and prices would go up. The agreement originally said no prices would increases, and yet, they did.
An ongoing case has to do with 24 Hour Fitness not opening their doors in spite of COVID regulations stating they can, but simultaneously charging their members the same monthly fee. This class action lawsuit alleges that many of the 24 Hour Fitness gyms were charging customers unfairly while doors remained closed, and no explanation was given. One customer noted they were charged $20 out of the blue with no explanation. The CEO said memberships and fees would be suspended on April 16 if the clubs had not reopened, but still customers faced charges.
If you see 24 Hour Fitness false advertising in action, remember that the courts do not require that anyone actually be affected by the false advertising in order to convict a company.
So, you can report 24 Hour Fitness if you see it by submitting a consumer complaint to the FTC. The FTC needs customers like you to report instances so that they can investigate and potentially take action. You can also submit a complaint to TruthinAdvertising.org where it will go public.
That action can range from something as simple as asking a company to stop, issuing fines, or jail time. The punishments are worse when companies have been convicted in the past or when companies are putting the health and safety of consumers at risk.
However, if you were personally affected, no fine levied against 24 Hour Fitness by the FTC is likely to make its way into your pocket. Instead the rules pertaining to how you can get recourse will depend on your state’s laws related to Unfair and Deceptive Acts and Practices.
So, other than reporting 24 Hour Fitness, what can you do? You can try, if you have lost money because of false advertising, 24 Hour Fitness customer service but you might find that they can’t or won’t help you resolve the issue. In this case, there are other options. One of those is consumer arbitration.
Consumer arbitration is usually faster and less expensive than going to court but there is still legal paperwork and rules to follow that can be a bit complicated. That’s where we can help. FairShake helps you navigate the consumer arbitration process, from filing your claim to getting the resolution you deserve.
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