Washington, DC

Photo by Andrea

Ed. Note: We had a lengthy discussion about gyms on Thursday but I continue to get a ton of messages asking specifically about WSC so I’ll dedicate this post to talk about your experiences with them.

“Dear PoPville,

Has anyone figured out what’s going on with Washington Sports Clubs? Are they continuing to charge membership dues despite being closed?

I reached out to them on 3/21 to cancel my month-to-month membership because I was moving out of DC. No answer. Followed up a few days later; no answer (they have not been answering their phones either). I take to social media and find the below email address, which just sent this auto-reply and directs you to this BS letter about how they are basically unreachable and will deal with “credits” after they are back up and operational. This is absurd! Would love to know if you’ve gotten any intel from other readers.”

Noodle writes: “Washington Sports Clubs seems to have tacitly refused to suspend membership charges during closure. This auto message (above) seems to indicate they intend to continue charging & will count the undue charges as future credits after they reopen.”

Mike writes: “This is now the second email in the past couple of days that I’ve received from Washington Sports Clubs parent company (Town Sports International) which, after not receiving any correspondence from them from the beginning of the pandemic until now, states that they will continue collecting membership dues from all members throughout the crisis. This is, of course, problematic on multiple fronts, not the least of which is that I suspect they know this behavior is unseemly (at best) due to the defensive posture of the email below.

First, there been zero indication that they have chosen this path in order to keep their staff employed, paid, and collecting benefits. This needs to be known and honestly, I don’t trust that the answers to those three questions are anything but “no” to each.

Second, there is a significant number of WSC/TSI members who are employed in the restaurant industry (here I’m guessing that the “cheap membership as a double-edged sword” is coming into play). Now, I am fortunate that I can work from home and afford to keep paying my dues (although I am obviously… “displeased” about this, to say the least) but I’m guessing that a lot of these folks are line workers who’ve had their hours cut or servers who’ve had their hours cut completely. They need this ~$70 a month and the fact that WSC/TSI is continuing to collect it, with no services rendered and any indication that they are using this money to pay their staff, is simply disgusting.

Third, the grifting in this email (pitching the value of their “Passport-Elite” package, like I’m seriously going to take a ride up to New York, Boston, or Philly after this just to use their terrible gyms in a different location) is absolutely tone-deaf.”


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