Attorney General gets gyms to shape up in settlement


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – January is the busiest month of the year to sign up for new gym memberships, as health conscious Americans try to fulfill their New Year’s resolutions to get fit.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced a settlement with more than 100 fitness clubs to ensure that “getting ripped” doesn’t lead to getting ripped off.

Responding to a flood of complaints, the Attorney General warned fitness and health clubs to shape up or ship out, and reached settlements with hundreds of those businesses to simply obey the law.

The Attorney General’s investigation found fitness clubs playing fast and loose with the law, not disclosing basic consumer rights in their membership contracts, such as a maximum term of 36 months, and $3,600 dollars a year.

Schneiderman’s investigation also found gym members have cancellation rights many of those clubs were not disclosing.

The Attorney General cited dozens of health club chains with a presence in Western New York, including World Gym, Fitness 19, L-A Fitness, and Planet Fitness. He also offered a few words of advice for New Yorkers looking to get healthy in the new year.

“When you are signing up for a gym membership, make sure to ask a few key questions: how long does the introductory rate last? What fees will you have to pay to cancel your membership early, and does your membership automatically renew? Asking these simple questions will make sure you save money, and avoid any unexpected hassles later.”

Schneiderman added, pre-paying your membership up front might be cheaper, sometimes, but it is safer to pay by the month—in case you have to quit, or the club goes out of business. Schneiderman has more tips for joining a health club in a special section of the Attorney General’s website.

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