A group of disgruntled customers of a yoga studio, which will shut down tomorrow, May 18, went to the Consumer Council (CC) on Friday, appealing to authorities to intervene in recovering their financial losses.
The yoga studio is located on Rua Do Campo. It is alleged that the owners have refused to return the pre-paid tuition fees to customers even after it decided to go under days later.
On Friday, members of the New Macau Association (ANM) stepped in and offered help to the customers. ANM’s member Chan Lok Kei told the press that there may be more than 130 customers involved in this dispute, with each suffering a financial loss ranging from MOP3,000 to MOP20,000.
He said that most of them had no choice but to turn to litigation to resolve the case.
The yoga studio charged clients an up-front annual fee, a common practice among fitness centers. It is told that at the end of 2020, the management inflated the membership costs. On May 6, the center announced that it would close down on May 18.
As of 1 p.m. last Friday, the CC had received a total of 124 complaints filed by the studio’s clients, according to an official statement published by the council on May 14.
“The Consumer Council will consider turning to mediation, conciliation or arbitration to settle the disputes,” as stated in the official release.
The CC reaffirmed that it will set the arbitration mechanism into motion as soon as possible to assist consumers in their claims. The CC will meanwhile continue to investigate other legal means to safeguard the rights of the affected consumers.
The authorities have already contacted the person in charge, and passed on the requests of the customers. The CC urged the studio to carry out appropriate settlements in due course.
The affected individuals claimed that they have already reported the case to the police.
It is suspected that the closure is due to discord between the studio’s shareholders, and has little to do with the Covid-19 pandemic.
A staff member from the studio disclosed that she still has not received last month’s salary.