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For Immediate Release
March 25, 2003
Contact: Sean Caine, 410-576-6357
scaine@oag.state.md.us

COLUMBIA SELF-DEFENSE SCHOOL ORDERED TO STOP ACCEPTING PAYMENTS UNTIL IT POSTS SECURITY

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that his Consumer Protection Division ordered the self-defense school Get Your Kicks, LLC, trading as Jhoon Rhee Institute at 9520 Gerwig Lane, Columbia, Maryland 21045, and its owner, Farrukh Anwar, to stop taking payments from consumers and to cease signing up new members. In addition, the business has been ordered to post a security with the Division to protect advance payment by consumers.

The Division found that Get Your Kicks and Farrukh Anwar have failed to register with the Division under Maryland's health club law and that they have failed to post a surety bond or other security with the Division while taking advance payments from consumers. Under Maryland law, health clubs are required to register annually with the Consumer Protection Division, and post a bond or other security with the Division if they collect more than three months' payment in advance from members or an initiation fee greater than $200.

"The law requiring martial arts schools and health clubs to post a surety bond or other security guarantees that consumers will receive refunds should the facility close," Curran said. "Maryland consumers should not have to run the risk of losing their money."

Customers of the Jhoon Rhee Institute who make payments on a regular basis should know that although the facility is still open, it cannot take any payments from customers at the present. Customers who paid money in advance should know that the business has been ordered to post security or make refunds to consumers within 10 days of the Division's order. Customers may call the Division at 410-576-6350 with questions.

Curran urges consumers to call the Consumer Protection Division at 410-576-6350 before they join a health club, weight loss center or self-defense school to see if it is properly registered and bonded. Consumers can also get consumer advice about memberships in health clubs, weight loss centers or self-defense schools on the Attorney General's Web site at www.oag.state.md.us/Consumer/tip69.

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