MEMBERS of Selby Health and Fitness gym in Osborne Park were shocked to see the doors shut last week after the business allegedly defaulted on rental payments.
Member Ken Dacre said he arrived to see a notice on the door, which said the landlord had taken possession of the property as of February 22 because of unpaid rent.
“When I first saw the sign I thought it was probably expected, as the gym had become run down for some time, with no money spent on cleaning, maintenance of gym equipment and airconditioning,” he said.
City of Stirling councillor Mark Irwin has owned the business for 21 years.
A statement Mr Irwin posted on the gym’s website and sent to the Stirling Times said he and his wife were “devastated” for members and staff.
“We were, and still are trying to negotiate a resolution through our dispute; however, we were not anticipating this action and were unable to inform members. We apologise for any inconvenience caused by this lack of communication,” he said. “At this time we have no further information on when or if Selby’s will reopen.
“We are however making our best endeavours to ensure members’ best interests are being taken into account.”
Mr Dacre said no one was responding to emails and members who were seeking reimbursement had reported the situation to the Department of Commerce.
Mr Irwin said they had not contacted members personally, as they did not have access to the gym.
“We would also like to reassure members that we commenced cancelling memberships that were being paid by direct debit on February 23 as soon as we were made aware of the situation,” he said. “We have requested the debiting agency to refund and cancel any debits that were taken after February 22.”
Department of Commerce acting retail and services director Lanie Chopping said there had been several enquiries in relation to the closure.
“We understand that the business is closed and we are trying to make contact with the trader,” she said. “If people have paid money up-front then they should be entitled to a refund in these circumstances for the unused portion of their membership.
“We’ll try to help any customers who may want a refund for the unused portion of their membership, rather than to take up any offer to switch to another gym.
“Whilst some customers may wish to accept an offer to move to another gym, they are not obliged to do so if they would prefer a refund.
“Affected customers yet to contact Consumer Protection should call us on 1300 30 40 54 or email email@example.com.”
Members have started a private Facebook group Selby Gym Justice “for those of you concerned with your rights and correct paths for recourse in recouping pre-paid memberships,” the description said.
Mr Dacre said comments on the Selby Gym Facebook page regarding reimbursement or lack of maintenance were deleted.