DAYS before Sky Fitness abruptly shut its doors for good in March, the gym was still collecting money from new members.
This was a big grouse among former employees and members, who said there were telltale signs that the gym, which opened in HarbourFront in 2006, was in trouble.
Staff had not been paid their salaries on time, and rumours had circulated in recent months that the company was selling the gym.
Last Wednesday, it emerged that the company allegedly owes $3.8 million to its members, banks and other stakeholders.
The company has been in liquidation since April 21. At a meeting between the management and stakeholders on May 19, its owners hinted at what went wrong.
"The directors mentioned that the company has been making losses for the last nine years of operation," said Mr Lim Chee Wee, 37, a Sky Fitness member of five years who was at the meeting.
The logistics executive paid about $3,000 to renew his membership for 42 months in February last year. About $1,600 of his package has not been used.
The gym's closure affected close to 700 members. Of these, 23 have sought help at the Small Claims Tribunal, while 18 have filed complaints with the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case).
But it is unlikely that consumers who bought packages and have unused sessions will get their money back.
While the company owes its creditors millions, its assets amount to only about $21,000.
Members would be the last to be compensated, after the major creditors are paid, said Mr Lim, based on what was said at the May 19 meeting.
"We can't pin too much hope on Sky Fitness paying us back the money."
A former employee, who left the gym before its closure and declined to be named, said the staff did not know that it was closing down.
"They just turned up for work that day to find it closed.
"Imagine how they felt - just two days before, they had sold someone a membership package," he said.
Mr Seah Seng Choon, Case's executive director, advised affected consumers to approach the appointed liquidator, MGI Menon & Associates, and file a proof of debt against the business as soon as possible.
A former general manager at Sky Fitness declined to comment when contacted, saying he has moved on to another company.
Neither the directors of Sky Fitness nor its liquidator could be reached for comment.
Meanwhile, fitness start-up KFit is offering affected Sky Fitness members a free three-month membership.
They can e-mail KFit, where a month's membership costs $99, at email@example.com, with proof of their active Sky Fitness membership.
This article was first published on June 2, 2015.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.