Former members of a Savage kickboxing studio that closed without warning last month say they’re still waiting for an explanation and refunds, and the problem could reach beyond Savage.
The fitness kickboxing franchise, iLoveKickboxing, opened at 8160 Egan Drive in the fall of 2016. At the time it was one of 150-plus iLoveKickboxing studios and the fourth in Minnesota.
It closed effective immediately Feb. 3. Members were directed to corporate headquarters to request refunds, but some members say communication with corporate representatives hasn’t instilled hope.
“No one from my understanding has received any payments,” said former studio member Stacia Almendarez. “We don’t have claim numbers, reference numbers — nothing, there’s absolutely nothing.”
The company’s Vice President of Operations Ryan Healy declined to comment when reached by email and referred questions to the company’s legal counsel, who did not respond to requests for comment before press time.
Almendarez said that around 40 customers dished out around $200-$500 on a six-week challenge package only a week before the closing. Other members reported spending roughly $1,000 on a newly-offered lifetime membership.
“It’s really not an experience I’d wish on anyone else,” said Rachel Mielke, another former member.
Mielke said she disputed over $1,000 in credit card charges from the studio after seeing no evidence of progress towards her refund.
Mielke said members who paid with debit cards or cash are having an even harder time finding recourse to be refunded, and some have given up on seeing their money returned.
Mielke and Almendarez said they provided bank statements to the corporate email account as they were instructed but still haven’t been provided a timeline or any confirmation that they will be refunded.
“Haven’t heard a peep,” Almendarez said. As Mielke put it, “We are in the dark.”
Several news reports in the past couple of years tell of similar incidents with iLoveKickboxing franchise closures around the country.
A report by Daily Camera in April 2017 said members were left with unusable class punch cards, costing members around $700, after an iLoveKickboxing in Colorado closed suddenly. Eventually, the corporate office responded to media inquiries stating that members would be refunded.
In December, WYVT, an ABC news affiliate, found Ohio customers in a similar bind. One member reported purchasing an approximately $500 membership just 16 days before the sudden close.
In both incidents, members reported difficulty contacting corporate headquarters about their refunds.
Mielke and Almendarez say they are sad about the studio closing in Savage but won’t transfer their memberships to another location.
“It felt like home, it felt like family. You were very welcomed,” Almendarez said.
Mielke said the group affected has became “a tight-knit community because of the closing.”
Both plan to continue pursuing their refunds.
“I think that’s what they are hoping for — that we will just give up,” Mielke said.