Did you ever buy too many fitness sessions, or a fitness studio gift card for a friend, and find they’ve expired before they can be used? If you live in California or Florida, and you’ve bought fitness session series or fitness session gift cards with short expiration dates, we’d like to hear from you.
The purchases we’re interested in are sometimes called “class packs” or “ClassPasses” or “series” and they work like gift certificates. They’re sold by studios such as Orangetheory Fitness, Flywheel Fitness, or Pure Barre, and they often have expiration dates as short as thirty or forty-five days. (One company even advertised a certificate for a low-priced, first-time class at the facility that expired two weeks after purchase!)
Short expiration dates can be a problem because life is never predictable. People who buy packages of fitness sessions may not be able to use all sessions within a short period of time because of injuries, illnesses, business trips, or family emergencies. Even when companies offer cancellation or suspension policies, they can be difficult to activate.
Federal law specifies that gift certificates and purchases that are handled like gift certificates must have a minimum five-year expiration date. California and Florida also have state laws regulating gift card expirations. It’s even illegal to specify that a gift card must be used in a single visit.
Some fitness companies have already been challenged on the expiration dates on sales of future classes. SoulCycle, a spin gym, required customers to purchase a series of classes to attend even a single class. It settled a class action in 2017 claiming that its sales of future classes were effectively sales of gift certificates, meaning that the company’s policies on expiration dates violated both the Electronic Funds Transfer Act and California state laws.
Groupon and Living Social had similar lawsuits filed against them, alleging that their deal vouchers are gift certificates. The claim in the Living Social lawsuit was that some deals would sell more vouchers than expected, so that the business offering the deal would be overwhelmed and unable to accommodate all the purchasers while the vouchers were still valid. Living Social is paying out $4.1 million to settle the suit, while Groupon has settled its case for $8.5 million.
If you bought a series of classes or fitness sessions with a short expiration date and lost money because you were unable to use all the sessions in that short period of time, fill out the form on this page and let us know what your experience was.Article Type: Investigation