Discovery, Virgin Active, Planet Fitness accused of unfair business practice

The Body Action Gym has approached the Competition Commission to investigate what it claims to be the unfair business practice between Discovery Vitality, Virgin Active and Planet Fitness.

Discovery Group offices in Sandton. Image: Abigail Javier/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The Body Action Gym has approached the Competition Commission to investigate what it claims to be the unfair business practice between Discovery Vitality, Virgin Active and Planet Fitness.

The Johannesburg gym said that Discovery subsidised up to 100% of their members' gym fees when signing up with Virgin Active or Planet Fitness and refused to allow any other competing gym facility to participate in this arrangement.

Body Action Gym said that the anti-competitive and toxic closed member alliance had distorted competition, created barriers to entry and caused immense harm to the gym industry.

They said that gym operators were simply unable to compete against the Discovery subsidy, which had resulted in gym closures, loss of jobs and an even tighter stranglehold by the cartel on the gym industry.

CEO Antonio Lozzo said: “Over the past 20 years, the gym industry has been monopolised and operated like a cartel by the largest privately-owned medical aid being Discovery Health through their Vitality reward programme between Virgin Active and Planet Fitness.”

The gym said that it had taken up the fight on behalf of all independent operators against the Goliaths’ in the industry.

It’s lodged an official complaint with the Competition Commission over what it called grossly unfair business practice.