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11 Hong Kong fitness centre staff arrested after using undue influence to sell memberships
11 employees of a fitness centre in Hong Kong have been arrested over allegations by two customers of their being subject to undue influence in pressuring them into taking out membership.
The complainants said they were approached on the street and offered a free trial to the gym in Mong Kok before allegedly being duped into paying a total of HK$25,500 (US$3,200) in membership fees.
Gym employees are accused of using undue influence in pressuring the pair into taking out membership
Reacting to the complaints from the two victims – a man and a woman – the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department earlier this month arrested six men and five women.
The three managers and eight frontline staff were accused of exerting undue influence in selling fitness club membership, according to Customs Superintendent Hui Wai-ming – who heads a squad investigating unfair trade practices.
The 11, aged between 20 and 57, have subsequently been released on bail pending further investigation of the incidents, which related to trials offered n May and July.
Superintendent Hui told the South China Morning Post “the man claimed that after the workout, he was asked to sign a document to join the centre with a three-year membership worth HK$19,000.
“He was required to pay HK$1,800 for the workout if he refused to sign the document.”
He then paid to join.
The other victim told officers that she was given a document to sign after the workout and told that it was normal procedure for a free trial.
Superintendent Hui added “after signing the document, she realised that it was a one-year membership worth HK$6,500.”
Superintendent Hui said the 11 employees were suspected of using undue influence and leading the victims to procure the memberships, concluding “it is in violation of the unfair trade practice provisions under the Trade Descriptions Ordinance”, stating that the offence carried a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment and a fine of HK$500,000 (US$64,000).
17th December 2015 - HONG KONG FITNESS COACH JAILED OVER HK$1.4 MILLION CREDIT CARD FRAUD
19th August 2015 - ONLINE FITNESS PASSES AID HONG KONG EXERCISERS
18th March 2015 - CONSUMER NZ TARGETS GYMS AS PART OF UNFAIR CONTRACT TERMS CAMPAIGN
14th July 2014 - SINGAPORE FITNESS CLUBS HIT BY COMPLAINTS
4th July 2014 - ACCC WARNS GYMS ABOUT ‘NO CONTRACTS’ MEMBERSHIP ADVERTISING
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