Customers complain, but yoga studio denies closure

Customers of a yoga studio in Dhoby Ghaut fear that it has shut suddenly and left them in the lurch, although Sadhana Sanctuary denied it has closed.

They showed up for classes last Friday to find a notice which said that renovation works were being carried out until the end of the month and the management would update customers on when classes would resume.

Customers said they had not been informed. Some subsequently filed police reports and complaints with the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case). Case said it had received 53 complaints as of 2pm yesterday. Most customers said they had paid for classes which they were afraid would not be honoured.

More than 1,000 people, mainly customers of the studio, have also joined a closed Facebook group to voice their concerns.

They said on social media that their attempts to reach the management had gone unanswered.

One customer, Ms Ada Yeo, 22, said she paid $1,399 last November for a package that allowed her to take unlimited classes for two years. She filed a police report with 10 other members last Friday.

Said Ms Yeo, who is unemployed: "I noticed students and instructors leaving over the last few months but there was still a steady flow of students. There is a clause in the contract saying they have a no-refund policy, so I do not expect to get any money back."

In response to queries from The Straits Times, the management of Sadhana Sanctuary claimed there had been flooding due to a leak in its shower facilities last Thursday night. Said the management: "It was an emergency, not a planned renovation. The flooding happened during night time. Our morning shift wasn't able to open the studio because of the flooded floor. We will extend packages as we have promised."

Last Saturday, the management of Sadhana Sanctuary had also told The Straits Times by e-mail that it planned to resume operations at the end of this month.

Other fitness facilities have faced troubles in recent times.

Last year, Affinity Yoga closed abruptly because of financial difficulties. In March this year, the gym Sky Fitness also ceased operations suddenly, affecting close to 700 members.

Chinese daily Lianhe Wanbao reported that Sadhana Sanctuary had not paid its instructors last month and that they had quit last week. The company is still listed as live, according to the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority's records.

Said Mr Seah Seng Choon, executive director of Case: "Ceasing operations without prior notification to consumers is certainly an unacceptable practice as affected consumers would require information immediately on a situation like this.

"The management should come clean and make an announcement on the status of its operations and keep consumers informed."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 14, 2015, with the headline 'Customers complain, but yoga studio denies closure'. Print Edition | Subscribe