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Members cry foul after gym closes

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18:10, November 26, 2012

Members of a Power Fitness gym franchise in Qibao town, Minhang district, plan to ask the local government for help Monday getting their membership fees refunded following the disappearance of the gym's management last week.

Members discovered that the gym had been abandoned Tuesday, according to a report in the Oriental Morning Post. The gym had about 4,000 registered members.

Some of the gym's members have begun conferring over text message about how they can get their money back and plan on asking the township government for assistance, said Huang Zhen, a member of the gym.

Huang paid 2,500 yuan ($401) for a discounted two-year membership to the gym in August. The standard annual membership fee was about 1,500 yuan.

Huang said there were no employees left at the gym when he last visited.

"The large equipment such as the treadmills was still there, but the small stuff like the dumbbells and the Yoga mats was all gone. I could not find a trainer or employee. The sales manager who signed me up for a membership told me over the phone that he had already quit his job," Huang told the Global Times.

The gym had not paid its management fees for three months, said an employee with the building's property management company, which was also unable to reach the gym's management.

Huang said employees from the property management company helped members file a complaint with police Friday.

Authorities became aware of the case Friday and are still investigating, according to a press officer from the Minhang district government.

The Global Times called Power Fitness' headquarters in Shanghai several times Sunday, but all of the calls went unanswered.

Six trainers from the Qibao gym have sued its management in Minhang District People's Court to recover their back salary, which they said hadn't been paid since July, according to the Oriental Morning Post.

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