The health and fitness subscription app ClassPass is facing a federal class-action lawsuit for allegedly representing itself as a partner to several small businesses without their knowledge or permission.
As VICE reported Monday (Oct. 25), the suit, filed in Manhattan, claims ClassPass “unfairly and falsely” steered customers away from small businesses and towards itself.
“A business has the right to control how it’s used, its reputation, its name,” attorney Raphael Janove told VICE’s Motherboard. “It gets to choose who it wants to partner with, how it wants to advertise itself, how it wants to reach out to customers. Another business can’t take that without consent or knowledge.”
ClassPass did not immediately respond to a request for comment, VICE said.
The lawsuit stems from something that happened last month to Leeah Nails, a nail salon in Montclair, New Jersey. After a customer got a manicure and pedicure, they informed the salon they’d already paid for the service on ClassPass.
The salon says it had no partnership with ClassPass, and the online booking system showed a reservation, but not payment.
ClassPass customers can earn monthly credits depending on their subscription levels. Customers can use those credits on the app to schedule and pay for services with small businesses that agree to be part of ClassPass’ network.
According to the suit, the salon discovered ClassPass had listed Leeah Nails as an affiliate, alongside incorrect appointment slots and a business description the salon had not written.
When the salon reached out to ClassPass, customer service “refused to assist on the grounds that Leeah Nails did not have an account with ClassPass,” the lawsuit says.
VICE notes that ClassPass has faced several complaints from fitness studios, some of which were its partners. These complaints have typically involved allegations that ClassPass drove prices beyond sustainability; however, many of these businesses feel compelled to stay with ClassPass due to the size of its customer base.
As PYMNTS reported earlier this month, ClassPass was recently acquired by Mindboy, a wellness experience technology platform. The deal will help make a “one-stop shop” for business owners and consumers, the companies said at the time.