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Lawsuit filed against Illinois World Gyms

Jun 12, 2012 Philip Burgess

Two Illinois-based World Gym franchisees and their payment processor are in hot water after allegedly billing former members long after their locations closed, CBS Chicago reports. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is suing owners James Mecha and Diane Vassolo - who ran three World Gym locations across the state - as well as Colorado-based payment processor ASF International, for continuously charging former members a combined total of at least $100,000 in membership fees after the gyms had closed, WBEZ-FM notes. When members attempted to cancel their contracts, they were met with radio silence or received falsified contact information. Some were told they couldn't cancel without paying additional fees or were directed to other World Gym locations as far as 20 miles away. "They received no response to their request to cancel the contract," AG spokeswoman Natalie Bauer tells the news source. "They were being given false contact information to cancel - they were given a bad phone number or the wrong person to talk to." About 150 people were affected, and subsequently had their accounts sent to a debt collection agency. The suit asks the court to ban the two franchisees from owning fitness centers and order them to pay restitution to customers.