A federal lawsuit against SoulCycle will move forward after a California judge denied the fitness chain’s motion to dismiss Jan. 11. In the class action, SoulCycle is accused of ripping off customers by placing unreasonably short expiration dates on its exercise class passes.
Attorneys Dorian Berger and Daniel Hipskind of Olavi Dunne LLP hope customers will receive refunds on all the money SoulCycle made from cancelling sessions based on its unreasonable expiration dates. “SoulCycle needs to know that placing unlawful expiration periods on its exercise sessions is unacceptable,” said Berger.
The federal Credit Card Accountability and Disclosure Act (known as the CARD Act) prohibits gift certificates with expiration dates of less than five years.
In the federal lawsuit filed in August 2015, attorneys for the plaintiffs claim SoulCycle routinely forces customers to forfeit unused fitness classes by placing overly restrictive and short expiration dates on its “series” certificates.
According to lead plaintiff Rachel Cody, SoulCycle lures customers into buying multi-class passes for sessions that expire in as little as 30 days. Cody’s attorney, Dorian Berger, called the practice “soulless:”
SoulCycle’s practice of forcing its customers to forfeit unused exercise sessions is the epitome of soulless unlawful greed.
SoulCycle should not be able to profit from selling exercise classes that it knows will expire before a customer has a chance to redeem them.”
Many customers have lost thousands of dollars due to SoulCycle’s draconian expiration policies, the lawsuit alleges. This isn’t the first time SoulCycle has been sued.
In 2013, a former employee filed a class action claiming the chain violated wage laws by failing to pay instructors for the extra work they do marketing, communicating with clients and attending corporate training programs. That lawsuit was later settled out of court.
In April 2015, a New York judge allowed attorney Douglas Wigdor to proceed in his breach of contract lawsuit against SoulCycle for unlawfully banning him from classes because he represented the former employee who had sued the fitness chain for cheating him out of his wages.
Ironically, SoulCycle is known for its loyal customer base, which includes celebrities such as Kelly Ripa, David Beckham and Jessica Alba. The classes aren’t cheap, either. One class usually costs $34. With the $3 shoe rental fee and a $2 water bottle, a single session can cost $39.
SoulCycle’s policy is to not comment on pending litigation. SoulCycle, which is preparing for an initial public offering, posted revenue of $112 million in 2014 — almost double the $75 million it generated in 2013.