Joining a private golf club, with all its attendant exclusivity and facilities can be one of the joys of the good life. While the initiation fees and membership fees can be expensive, a lot of people really value having regular and convenient access to a top-notch golf course and its surrounding amenities to socialize, play a game they love, and get some exercise. Unfortunately, sometimes an unforeseen sandtrap will appear from out of nowhere when members resign the club and expect to receive a golf club deposit refund, that the club promised in its membership agreement.
Do You Have a Case?
Let our experienced class action attorneys determine whether you have a case in this golf club litigation initiative.
How Can I Get My Intiation Fee Back When I Leave the Golf Club?
Upon joining, a member is required to sign a membership agreements, sometimes just skimming their terms and not reading the fine print. Most if not all are legally binding contracts. Some incorporate the terms of the membership plan, which itself purportedly may give the golf club the unilateral right to change the terms. This may in turn impact a member’s right to obtain a return of their membership desposit or initiation fee upon resignation. While the annual membership fees you have already paid are likely not refundable, many membership agreements stipulate that the initiation fee or membership deposit will be refundable upon resignation or death.
What Are Initiation Fees?
An initiation fee or membership deposit is a one-time fee paid at the outset of the membership that can range anywhere from $5,000 to $100,000. These fees tend to promote the exclusivity of the club and enhance the prestige of membership. The golf club membership director or manager may emphasize that these fees or deposits, while steep, are fully refundable upon leaving the club or at a set time in the future (typically thirty years from joining). Membership agreements often incorporate the golf club’s overall membership plan as part of its terms. These membership plans can be thirty to forty pages long. It is the rare new member who reviews these terms, usually relying on the membership director or manager to generally describe the circumstances under which their refunds will be processed upon resignation. Thi often leads to some very disappointed former members when they learn the golf club is employing some very questionable or misleading tactics in interpreting its membership plan or administering its refund policy, when push comes to shove and the refund is due to the former member.
Golf Clubs Are Often Reluctant to Voluntarily or Fully Refund Initiation Fees or Membership Deposits.
In these times of declining golf club profitability, many golf clubs, especially those owned by investors as opposed to the members, seem to do everything they can to avoid repayment of initiation fees or membership deposits due to resigning members or to present the former member with an unsatisfactory return of only a portion of the deposit or a credit for future green fees or the like. Former members faced with such conduct should consider whether they have a legal remedy for the return of these amounts. A legal review of the membership agreement and the golf club’s membership plan is critical to make this determination. Possible remedies include recovery based on a breach of contract or the covenant of good faith and fair dealing often implied as a matter of law in the contract. Depending on the conduct involved the golf club may also be liable for a violation of applicable consumer protection laws. Filing a lawsuit to recover these initiation fees or membership deposits may not be cost effective on a member-by- member basis but may be practical on a collective basis where all former members join forces. We have the experience to be able to assist you on advising you on your rights and remedies in these circumstances.
If a Golf Course is Giving You the Run-Around, Call Us Today
If you are having trouble recovering your initiation fee or golf course membership deposit refunds, or you have questions about whether or not you are entitled to a golf club membership refund, now is the time to speak to an experienced attorney about this. Golf club members throughout the country are having problems with this issue, and our attorneys are here to help.
Contact Gary Graifman of KGG or Robert Dowd of Dowd Law today for a confidential consultation.