It’s the “Year of Our Best Bodies,” so commands Oprah in her latest Weight Watchers commercial. Just be careful getting there.
First, there are scams. One is alleged against SoulCycle, the “the cult-favorite spin club that urges riders to ‘find your soul.’" Earlier this week, a judge said a class action could proceed against the company for “violating the law by imposing a 30-day expiration date on some of its class passes.” You see, "the federal CARD Act (Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act) prohibits expiration periods of less than five years and the California Gift Certificate Law prohibits expiration periods on gift cards such as the ones SoulCycle offers." SoulCycle offers packages with expiration dates as short as 30 days (for a “one class” pass) and a year for a 50 class pass. And “SoulCycle doesn't offer a refund for unused classes -- it just keeps the money." Woops!
Then, you may have heard about the class action filed last week against Fitbit over defective heart rate monitors. First reported by The Verge,
In the suit, consumers from California, Colorado, and Wisconsin allege that the heart rate tracking in the Charge HR and the Surge, two products that came to market last year, is inaccurate by a "significant margin," especially during periods of intense exercise. The plaintiffs say that despite Fitbit's high-visibility advertising campaign around the heart rate tracking in its products, the monitors don't actually "count every beat."
One plaintiff said she bought a Charge HR because she wanted to track her heart rate accurately during exercise, but in her experience the heart rate monitors in the device didn't work properly. When she complained, Fitbit refused to refund her, she said.
It's not the first time Fitbit has faced a class-action suit. In the spring of 2014, consumers filed a suit alleging that the company misled them in the advertising of the Fitbit Force wristband after a number of wearers suffered skin rashes from the device. The Fitbit Force was eventually pulled from the market, and Fitbit later re-introduced a similar wristband called the Charge, which the company said had new materials that had undergone enhanced testing.
So in other words, the class action worked. But as Alison Frankel at Reuters writes, the company is now trying to block all class actions, forcing Fitbit purchasers into arbitration, no matter from whom they purchased the device, simply by clicking on the company’s website. In the class action,
Plaintiffs’ lawyers from Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein and Robert Klonoff confront the fitness device company’s mandatory arbitration clause head on, claiming not only that the provision does not bind class members but that it is itself an illegal trade practice.
As the complaint explains, Fitbit devices work properly only when users register them at the company’s website. To register, users must agree to terms of service in which they submit to arbitration (unless they opt out) and waive the right to classwide dispute resolution.…
The heart rate complaint asserts … that Fitbit purchasers who bought their devices from sellers other than Fitbit didn’t agree to the company’s terms of service before they plunked down their money. The named plaintiffs in the case bought Fitbits from REI, Target and a California store called Sports Chalet. None of them, according to the complaint, realized from Fitbit advertising or packaging that they would have to sign up at the Fitbit website – and submit to Fitbit’s terms of service – to use the devices.
I like my Fitbit, but trying to bind people in this way is outrageous.
And then, there’s the problem of women trying to work out in a gym but not dressing like a Kardashian. Late last year, an Orthodox Jewish woman sued Lucille Roberts gyms “for allegedly pitching a holy fit when she insisted on wearing a skirt during her workouts in Brooklyn.” Writes the New York Post:
Yosefa Jalal, of Crown Heights, claims in court papers to be filed Friday that she was repeatedly harassed, threatened with arrest and ultimately had her membership revoked for following religious dictates regarding female modesty.…
Jalal “observes the Jewish rules of modesty” and in public always “wears skirts and tights to cover her legs, and shirts that cover her elbows and come to her neck.”…
Her workout attire first became an issue at a Kings Highway location, where she was told in 2013 and again the next year that she couldn’t wear her skirt.
Instead, she started going to a Lucille Roberts on Flatbush Avenue regularly until June 26 of this year, when a manager accused her of “ ‘trespassing’ because she was not wearing appropriate attire,” the suit alleges.
Jalal left to avoid trouble and later went to the local police station house, where she says a cop told her that going to the gym in a skirt was not trespassing.
But when she returned on July 1 for a kickboxing class, a staffer interrupted the lesson and spoke to the instructor, who “stopped the music and told everyone they had to stop class until Ms. Jalal took off the skirt,” her suit says.
When the other women began screaming at her, she switched to an elliptical machine and was told that her membership had been revoked and warned that “the police are on their way.”
Meanwhile in Michigan,
A judge has dismissed a Midland County woman's lawsuit against Planet Fitness for its transgender-friendly locker room policy.…
Cormier's suit was based upon her seeing a transgender person in the locker room. …
Planet Fitness canceled Cormier's membership after she complained to fellow gym members over several days.…
Known for its "judgment free zone" slogan, Planet Fitness has stated its locker room policy allows members and guests to use the facilities that correspond with their "sincere self-reported gender identity."
Cormier’s appealing. Really? How are we supposed to obey Oprah if we can't just get along?