Already facing bankruptcy, the New York Sports Club and Lucille Roberts gym companies were slapped with a lawsuit on Wednesday. The New York State Attorney General has alleged the companies illegally charged customers gym membership fees during the COVID-19 shutdown and then failed to issue reimbursements.

AG Letitia James alleges New York Sports Club and Lucille Roberts, and the parent company Town Sports International, had engaged in illegal and fraudulent activities regarding customers' right to cancel their memberships, according to the complaint. The company allegedly failed to allow members to cancel their membership after losing their jobs in a "Hotel California-style approach to its members—'You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave,'" according to the lawsuit, filed in Manhattan's state supreme court on Wednesday.

Since the coronavirus shutdowns beginning in mid-March, the attorney general has gotten 1,848 complaints about the company. About 24 percent were from this month alone.

One customer, who worked as an emergency room doctor, tried to freeze their membership during the closures but couldn't reach anyone at the company. "I am a doctor fighting on the frontlines of COVID, and I do not have time or money to have it pilfered," the doctor told the AG's office.

The company previously promised to freeze memberships and provide credits for those illegally charged following demands from James this spring, but the company allegedly "ignored" members' requests. When gyms opened in recent weeks, members were billed around September 1st, even though their main gym location remained closed. Some gym members previously filed a class action lawsuit against the company.

"Time and again, these gyms have illegally sought to lift up their precarious financial state at their members' expenses, even though many of these very members were simultaneously being crushed under the weight of financial hardships," James said in a statement.

Monthly dues for the sports clubs under Town Sports International, the parent company of New York Sports Club, range from $20 to $150, the lawsuit says. Cancellation fees cost $10 to $15.

"I am afraid I will be building up a balance with TSI that will end up with a collection agency," one customer said in a complaint to the attorney general.

Town Sports International did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the lawsuit.