About 450 members of Bikram Yoga had a rude shock when its franchise on Bandra’s Turner Road abruptly shut shop in the second week of June.
While some customers who had paid membership fees ranging from Rs 30,000 to Rs 50,000 received post-dated cheques as refunds, others have still been waiting for a response.
However, things are now set to cool down. “Some members who had paid for two months are now claiming that they had paid for six months, so I need to check the records. But everyone will get their money by the first week of August,” confirms franchisee Anurag Srivastav, adding that the US-based franchise owner Bikram Choudhury may be visiting the city later this month.
“Many members have asked me not to refund the money, but restart the classes. We are trying. An investment of Rs 1.5 crore was made, which will go to waste otherwise.”
Customers, who want to contact Anurag for refunds, can write to
Marketing manager Khushbu Kaushal was able to speak to him only after weeks of thinking she had lost Rs 50,000. “He didn’t sound like he was out to dupe members. I’ve been told that the refund will come by August. But what’s worse is that the classes have ended,” she says.
Before speaking to Anurag, we went snooping around the premises to understand the reasons for the sudden shutdown. We met some valets, who claim that they too are awaiting their salaries.
“The manager has also not been paid some Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 2 lakh,” says a valet, on the condition of anonymity. But Anurag clarifies, “The salaries are given on the 15th of every month. They will be paid on time.”
According to Mohammed Moin Sheikh, the manager of the premises where the yoga classes were held, the rent for the fifth and sixth floor of Notan Classic had not been paid in three months. “We have six months’ rent deposit. We will be meeting him soon and figuring things out,” he says. As per sources, the rent for the two floors amounts to Rs 9 lakh per month.