Prince William County has sued the operators of the Fun & Fitness Exercise and Aquatic Centers, alleging that the business has continued to harass customers for payment of membership fees at spas that closed nearly a year ago.
In a lawsuit filed in Prince William Circuit Court, the county charged the operators sold memberships to spas in Manassas and Woodbridge without disclosing plans to close the facilities before the memberships expired.
Four Northern Virginia Fun & Fitness spas closed without notice Jan. 31, and two Prince George's County spas shut down four days later. Hundreds of customers who had paid up to $850 in fees were left stranded.
The spa operators declined to tell potential customers of their "precarious financial condition," the suit alleged, and they have continued to try to collect membership fees through the mail and by phone calls.
The suit was filed early last week against Beachwood Spas International of Ohio, the owner of the spas, and Ace Finance Co. and Advance Collection Services Ltd., bill collection companies. None of the companies could be reached for comment.
The county alleged that some bills erroneously indicate that the county's Office of Consumer Affairs has determined that consumers are obligated to pay. The lawsuit seeks an injunction blocking the collection activities, as well as civil penalties.
Virginia state officials sued Fun & Fitness this year, charging that they failed to honor a voluntary agreement to post a bond to protect all of its customers in the event of closings.
Spa officials had said a $50,000 bond would protect all customers, according to Hubert King, administrator of the Prince William Office of Consumer Affairs. King's office has received claims totaling more than $96,000 against the spas, and he said the claims eventually could exceed $350,000.