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Pattaya Daily News

16 August 2012 :: 10:08:42 am 65701

Thai Fitness Club In Poor Financial Health

Members of the California Wow Xperience fitness club are irate over a letter asking for a membership fee increase, even after the fitness club closed several branches. The company is being sued in Bankruptcy court for unpaid debts of 76 million baht.
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BANGKOK – August 14,2012 [Pattaya Daily News]; The California Wow Xperience Ltd. last week sent a letter to fitness center members to increase the annual membership fees for lower-paying customers.

For members paying less than 40,000 baht per year, the membership fee increase would rise from 100 baht to 600 baht. Members paying more than 40,000 baht in fees per year would pay only the same $100 fee increase.

The ailing fitness club has gradually closed various branches, including the last remaining Siam Paragon branch.

Mr. Jirachai Multhongroi, Secretary-General of the Office of Consumer Protection (OCP), said he has received more than 100 complaints from fitness club members since late April.

As a result, the Consumer Protection Board called the entrepreneur to negotiate. At first, the company welcomed canceled contracts by customers and was willing to pay their damages.

But the company later wrote a request to the Consumer Protection Board to allow them to stop receiving the complaints for a while, because the company was currently in the process of financial recovery.

After its recovery, California Wow plans to allow customers to visit any branch, and to extend memberships beyond a year.

The OCPs sub-committee of lawsuit screening had written to the court to inquire about the fitness company’s situation. The court confirmed that the company had filed for reorganization, after a lawsuit by a Bangkok bank in Bankruptcy Court, claiming unpaid debts of 75.78 million baht.

The next court hearing on the case is scheduled for August 18. A decision is expected to be finalized by September 2012. Meanwhile, the Consumer Protection Board will be monitoring the reorganization of the company.

If the reorganization fails and California Wow goes bankrupt, the OCP will make claims for damages by affected customers.

However, if the fitness chain has any chance of recovering, it should be given that opportunity, Mr. Jirachai said.

The OCP has written a letter to both Thai commercial banks, the Bank of Ayudhya and Krung Thai Bank, asking to withhold payment from California Wow members for three months.

Consumers looking for more information, or who would like to receive compensation from the company, may contact the OCP Board during office hours.

Photo : Internet   Category : Business News

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