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Hong Kong members of ClassPass, the leading fitness subscription startup, have taken to social media to voice dismay over fee increases without prior knowledge or notification. Subscribers complained of charges of up to 50% more than their intended monthly commitment. The global fitness app has denied accusations stating to Hong Kong Free Press “that the price rose because their ‘introductory launch pricing’ ended.” The discontent amongst users has stemmed just months ago since the New York-based platform acquired rival Asian app, GuavaPass, for USD$ 4.6 million.
“Yo @classpass Hong Kong. I get it, you’ve acquired Guavapass and can maybe afford to give zero Fs, but a notification about changing out credit/price plans would have been nice. I don’t mean the email you supposedly wrote everybody but none of my friends received. Rude,” Twitter user Alice Chan stated.
ClassPass insists emails were sent months in advance to users of the price surge but those who have opted out or unsubscribed to email communications may not have received said memorandum. In the same vein, ClassPass users in Singapore – which launched first in Asia before Hong Kong’s debut – expressed similar disappointment over the post-introductory membership structure. Reviews on the Apple iTunes app echo the same fee hikes without warning.
Founded by MIT grad Payal Kadakia in 2013 after struggling to find a fitness class to take after work, ClassPass has become the leading fitness aggregator operating in over 80 markets across 15 countries. With access to yoga, strength training, barre, martial arts, pilates, boxing and more, its flat-rate monthly subscription billing service is an allure to many active busybodies who wish to sample a variety of classes.
However, conscious consumers should consider the economic impact amongst the giant digital platform and boutique partner studios which already operate under costly hurdles and strained competition – especially in a fast-paced economy like Hong Kong. While ClassPass lets studios decide which classes they list through the service, maintaining a small business – which have partnered with a startup using the Internet to increase customer choice or convenience – may be difficult to keep afloat with the commission taken, processing fees or advertisement charges. The power imbalance may push the limits of these small businesses.
Find the 10 Cheapest Group Fitness Class in Hong Kong ranging starting from HKD170 and up.
Lead image courtesy of ClassPass.