Shortly after midnight, Tim Reid and Theresa Ng of Ferrier Hodge, Provisional Liquidators of JV Fitness Pte Ltd, said in a media release on July 20 that all California Fitness gyms in Singapore will be closed with immediate effect 'until further notice".
Mr Tim and Ms Theresa has been appointed to be the Provisional Liquidators of JV Fitness Pte Ltd by the order of the High Court on July 19.
JV Fitness owns California Fitness branches, located at Bugis, Raffles Place and Novena. Previously, on February, the outlet at Ngee Ann City were closed and this event put the firm under the spotlight.
The media release read, "JV Fitness does not have adequate liquid resources to continue its operations and therefore all outlets in Singapore will be closed from today until further notice. The Provisional Liquidators will quickly explore options that may be available to enable the business to operate but for time being, it is necessary to cease the operations of the fitness centers with immediate effect."
The gym chain, once famously fronted by action movie star Jackie Chan, had closed all of its branches in Hong Kong. Then outlets in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou were being closed as well.
According to Hong Kong Free Press, the firm has paying wages owed to staff and that it has intended to pay HK$8,000 (S$1,938) to each employee as part payment for owed wages although most of the employees were owed much more than this amount in wages.
Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions lawmaker Tang Ka-Piu, who has been helping the employees, said that he had contacted the liquidator on Friday, but no details on when the wages would be paid was available. Tang said that JV Fitness still had around HK$16 million (S$2,796) in capital and was capable of paying wages owed to the staff, which amounted to around HK$6 million (S$1050).
A petition was created earlier this year in March by Jeremy Au Yong, sought the assistance from Ministry of Trade and Industry's assistance in getting California Fitness Singapore to give pro-rated refunds to its victims.
It wrote that California Fitness has dishonestly obtained membership fees by legalistically exploiting the terms and conditions of a contract that is not illegal per se but is nevertheless unethical. It added that the secondary purpose of the petition is to raise awareness amongst consumers regarding the dangers of committing to contracts offered by unscrupulous business operators such as California Fitness Singapore.
The petition then called upon MTI to intercede immediately to hold California Fitness Singapore responsible to its members as well as its staff, following the closure of its Hong Kong branches and the Raffles Place branch in July.
Members of California Fitness are told by CASE to file claims via the Small Claims Tribunal after approaching the consumer watchdog for assistance. It is unlikely that members can seek assistance from the banks as some have been told that the bank has already paid the fitness company in full and unable to cancel the monthly payment for their memberships.
California Fitness Singapore can not be reached at the moment for comments.