- Fitness First
Fitness First is one of the largest health and fitness provider in the world, second in number of clubs only to
Gold's Gymand third in memberships only to 24 hour fitnessand Gold's Gym, with clubs in the United Kingdom, Europe, Australia, Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region.
In 2005 the company was acquired by
BC Partners, a European private equity group.
In Australia, Fitness First took over a number of Living Well locations owned by the
Hilton Group. Also they bought the 11-gym Healthland chain from an administrator, and now own over 80 gyms across Australia.
In late 2006, Fitness First reached the milestone of 500 clubs world-wide, marked by the opening of the fourth club in Sydney, Australia.
It now has over 550 clubs worldwide with more than 1.5 million First Fitness members.
In August 2008, Fitness First took an ill patient to the Australian NSW Supreme Court to recover a $200 cancellation fee she could not afford to pay. The patient explained her medical condition before signing up and was instructed to sign the contract. Fitness First sought action to ensure that gym contracts with clients were still legally valid even if the court finds that the client did not understand what they had signed. [http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/fitness-first-sick-win/2008/08/07/1217702208957.html] .
This appeal overturned a prior decision against Fitness First by the NSW Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal which had found that a contract required a "meeting of the minds, in that they each fully know and understand the terms and conditions of the agreement". [http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/fitness-first-sick-win/2008/08/07/1217702208957.html] . The Supreme Court found that the Tribunal had erred in a matter of law.
The company also hit most members in Australia with significant fee increases in August of 2008, in the range of 20% - 30% increase, depending on membership type, the reasons provided for the increases were the number of new clubs opened and "increased general costs".
* [http://www.fitnessfirst.com Official Site]
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