Adventure dating club faces potential class action over how it collects, manages member payments

By Scott Holland | Aug 28, 2015

An Oak Forest woman hopes to bring a class action against a dating club she said improperly managed her account and refused to cancel her membership.

On April 4, Judy Radusewicz opened a membership with the Chicago branch of Events & Adventures, a dating service operated by Adventures Northwest, a corporation based in Washington state. On its Chicago area website, the company markets itself as an “invitation-only club” promoting events like volleyball, skiing, rock climbing, spelunking, paintball and whitewater rafting.

After agreeing to pay a $2,495 “initiation fee,” Radusewicz made an initial $500 payment and agreed to pay $141.25 monthly installments for a year, and another $360 broken down as $30 in monthly dues, her complaint states. Over 12 months, the total amount paid would be $2,555.

Two days later, after deciding the membership was too expensive, Radusewicz gave notice of intent to cancel. However, the complaint alleges the company, which had already debited Radusewicz’ account for the $500, went ahead with collecting the initial installment and dues payments, despite receiving the cancellation notice. She said she never received a Truth in Lending disclosure, though any agreement with a payment structure of more than four installments is a credit extension subject to the federal Truth In Lending Act, the complaint asserts.

Radusewicz filed her complaint on Aug. 26 in federal court in Chicago.

Radusewicz argues the way Events & Adventures structured her contract, requiring payment in monthly installments, amounts to a loan, and the Electronic Funds Transfer Act prohibits lenders from making preauthorized electronic debits a compulsory condition of credit.

“By providing that membership shall cease upon cancellation of the debit authorization,” her complaint reads, “defendant (Events & Adventures) improperly conditioned the extension of credit on repayment by means of electronic fund transfers.”

Radusewicz, who is represented by Daniel A. Edleman, of Edelman, Combs, Latturner and Goodwin, of Chicago, alleges Events & Adventures easily has enough customers to warrant the class action. According to her complaint, Events & Adventures’ own website boasts 40,000 members in nine cities.

She argues anyone who has an Events & Adventures contract in which their initiation fee was payable in more than four installments by recurring debit would be eligible for the class action, provided their contracts began either one year before or 21 days after the filing of the complaint, noting well more than 40 people would qualify as class members.

On behalf of the class, Radusewicz seeks a declaration the contracts members signed are void and unenforceable, requests the court award statutory and actual damages, legal fees and any relief the deemed proper. The action includes five counts: class violations of the EFTA, Truth In Lending Act and the Dating Referral Services Act, as well Radusewicz’s own individual breach of contract claim and individual DRSA violation.

The individual DRSA claim is tied to a clause in the state law requiring such companies to allow clients to cancel within three business days after signing the contract and collect a full refund. The class DRSA claim involves a different component of the law, arguing the way Events & Adventures structures its contract, with the substation initiation fee and allowing itself to enact fee increases with 60 days’ notice, amounts to an illegal long-term contract.

A hearing on the case is scheduled for Sept. 3 in Chicago before U.S District Judge Robert M. Dow Jr.

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