Taipei, Feb. 16 (CNA) The Taiwan Taipei District Court ruled on Wednesday that Alexander Health Club Group, which once ran Taiwan’s leading chain of health clubs, must pay more than NT$256 million ($9.19 million dollars) to its former members for closing all of its 21 branches in December 2007 without notice.
The decision comes 14 years after the Taipei-based Consumer Foundation filed a class action lawsuit in January 2008 on behalf of 8,564 former members of the Alexander Health Club group, seeking NT$582 million in punitive damages from the owners of the ‘business.
The company’s island empire, consisting of 16 Alexander fitness centers, four Aegius clubs and a Jun Spa, was closed on December 10, 2007.
The court pointed out that the company’s Alexander Health Club had to pay NT$186.02 million, while its clubs Aegius and Jun Spa had to pay NT$57.28 million and NT$12.92 million respectively. a total of over NT$256 million.
However, the verdict can be appealed.
The court said consumers were entitled to damages because the branches had been dissolved or had their registration revoked and were unable to provide the services specified in their contractual agreements.
The whole affair arose because Candy Tang (唐雅君), the group’s founder, and her sister Tang Hsin-ru (唐心如) continued to sell discounted subscriptions to thousands of people in 2007, when the company knew financial difficulties and on the verge of collapse.
The Tang sisters were indicted on January 17, 2008, for fraud and breach of trust, and were sentenced in 2011 to one year and 10 months and one year and eight months, respectively. They were later released on parole.
Alexander Health Club Group, established in 1982, was once Taiwan’s leading chain of health clubs, with comprehensive classes taught by top instructors, before collapsing due to hasty expansion and lack of awareness changes in the general business climate.
The Aegius clubs, launched in 2000, were aimed at upper-class businessmen.