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For Immediate Release
April 10, 2003
Contact: Sean Caine, 410-576-6357
scaine@oag.state.md.us

COCKEYSVILLE KARATE SCHOOL ORDERED TO COMPLY WITH LAW PROTECTING CUSTOMERS' PAYMENTS

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that his Consumer Protection Division ordered the self-defense school Kenpo Academy, Inc., trading as Joe Palanzo's Kenpo Karate at 10534 York Road, Cockeysville, Maryland 21030, and its owner, James Walsh, 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 Kenpo Academy and James Walsh 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.

"Self-defense schools, like health clubs and weight-loss centers, must comply with the law protecting customers' advance payments," Curran said.

Customers of the Joe Palanzo's Kenpo Karate at 10534 York Road, Cockeysville, 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.htm.

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