24 Hour Fitness settles lawsuit for $1.3 million, members could get partial refunds

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — The 24 Hour Fitness gym chain will pay $1.3 million to settle allegations that it misled people about its membership fees.

The Orange County district attorney’s office says an agreement was filed Wednesday, although the company didn’t acknowledge any wrongdoing.

A lawsuit filed in Orange County alleged that beginning in 2006, 24 Hour Fitness sold prepaid memberships to people with a guarantee that annual renewal rates would remain low.

But prosecutors say the San Ramon-based company later changed the rules without telling members and began raising renewal rates — sometimes by 300 percent.

Under the settlement, members who bought prepaid contracts after 2006 will be allowed to renew at the guaranteed lifetime rate and will receive partial refunds for the higher rates they were forced to pay.

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