Equinox has stopped paying its vendors as coronavirus casts an ominous shadow over the brand.
The fitness and lifestyle company stressed the measure is a temporary one as it grapples with mass club closures and isolation recommendations to curb the spread of COVID-19.
A spokesperson told Campaign US: "Equinox has temporarily halted payments to our vendors given the current circumstances surrounding COVID-19 and government-mandated closures of our clubs. We expect to resume business as usual as soon as it is safely possible."
The confirmation comes after one Equinox freelancer based in New York voiced concern on social media that the company was refusing to pay her $8,000 owed for content and copywriting services rendered in February and the first half of March.
— Erin Van Der Meer (@erinvandermeer) April 6, 2020
Today I was informed by @Equinox I will not be paid over $8000 they owe me for content/copywriting. "Equinox will not be making invoice payments until further notice." This is illegal in New York State. Any journalists interested in following up? @nytimes @TheAtlantic @guardian pic.twitter.com/rdOQthWZ99
[1/2] UPDATE: I got a call from Equinox to say my invoices will be paid, 'likely' this week. I understand other writers will have their invoices paid too. If I'm not paid next week, I will continue to pursue a course of action. I HAVE LEARNED SO MUCH about what to do if ...— Erin Van Der Meer (@erinvandermeer) April 7, 2020
Erin Van Der Meer tweeted that she had planned to live off the payment for the next few months.
She received an email from Equinox CFO Paul Tizik in which he wrote: "Please be advised that Equinox will not be making invoice payments until further notice."
It goes on to read: "We respect and value our relationship with you and we fully expect to return to business as usual once market conditions permit."
However, Erin has since tweeted that she was called by Equinox which said she will likely be paid this week.
A source close to the company said that Erin received the notice in error and will be paid in accordance with the terms of her contract and timing of her invoices. The person said it was always Equinox’s intent to pay Erin and it is still within the 30 day window since the date of her invoice.
The source added that Equinox is continuing to pay all freelancers -- which are not classed as vendors in this context.
Droga5, a major marketing partner for Equinox which helped create new work for the brand back in January, did not comment on any correspondence it may or may not have had with the brand regarding payment terms.
Last week, Campaign US reported that some brands are extending payment terms or refusing to pay external partners altogether.
Below is the note in full sent from Equinox to its vendors on March 18.
To whom it may concern:
Please be advised that Equinox will not be making invoice payments until further notice. We regret having to take this action but we have determined that it is a necessary measure given current circumstances and government-mandated closure of our clubs. We respect and value our relationship with you and we fully expect to return to business as usual once market conditions permit. Should you have any questions or should you wish to discuss this matter further, please do not hesitate to reach out to your relationship manager.
Thank you for your continued support, understanding and partnership as we navigate this unprecedented time together.
Paul Tizik, CFO Equinox