In March 2012, Willy Latzo, four-time world champion in Heavyweight Kyokushinkai Full Contact Karate and German boxing champion, opened Idyllwild Fitness Center with promises of full-service gym memberships, new equipment (coming that summer) and a full range of classes. One year later, in March 2013, he posted a notice that the gym was temporarily closed and would reopen at the end of April. But he has not and will not re-open the local gym.
Kent Steele, one of the first to join both Mile High Fitness (IFC’s predecessor) and IFC, said philosophically, “I’ve now had two gyms close on me.” Steele is not alone.
Only one person the Town Crier talked to had established communication with Latzo after he closed the gym. Latzo, in an April message to member Shanna Robb, so wrote, “Dear member. We are sorry to tell you that Idyllwild Fitness Center closed the doors and is not opening anymore. The repayment for upfront membership is starting soon. We wish you all best.”
A month earlier in mid-March, Latzo had originally told Robb that he had gotten an offer for the business, that it would be closing immediately and clients would get refunds in two weeks. After the April letter, in response to a text from Robb, Latzo stated refunds would be issued by May 24. Neither Robb nor anyone else interviewed for this article has received refunds.
The IFC membership contract contains no clause regarding refunds other than a “Three-day Cancellation Policy” giving a member three days to cancel after initially joining. There is nothing specific to gym closure. Relevant clauses state: “Prepaid membership dues are non-refundable.” And with reference to month-to-month automatic monthly deduction memberships, the contract states, “[I understand] that I cannot cancel my membership prior to the expiration of the stated contract term.”
The Town Crier’s Facebook messages sent to Latzo as well phone messages to his last known number have gone unanswered.
For information on California law regarding gym closures see http://www.dca.ca.gov/publications/legal_guides/w-9.shtml.