April 22, 2003
Sean Caine, 410-576-6357
HEALTH CLUB FINED FOR NOT COMPLYING WITH HEALTH CLUB LAW
General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that his Consumer
Protection Division ordered the owners of the Bare Hills Athletic
Club in Baltimore to stop selling health club services until it
registers with the Division and to pay $2,000 in penalties for failing
to comply with Marylands Health Club Services Law.
The Health Club Services Law requires health clubs to register annually
with the Consumer Protection Division and to either provide security
to protect advance payments collected from members or certify that
they do not collect advance payments. The Division found that The
Bare Hills Athletic Club, Inc. and Lisa Dicicco have failed to comply
with Maryland's Health Club Services Law for the registration years
starting on September 1, 2000, and September 1, 2001.
"We are serious about enforcing the requirement that health
clubs register with the State," Curran said.
noted that the registration requirement allows the Division to ensure
that payments made by consumers to health clubs are adequately protected
in the event the club were to close. Prior to 2000, the Bare Hills
Athletic Club had claimed that it did not collect more than three
months advance payment from members and therefore did not
need to post security with the Division. However, since then it
has neither registered nor certified that it does not collect advance
Currans office also announced that his Consumer Protection
Division filed separate charges against The Bare Hills Athletic
Club, Inc. and Lisa Dicicco on March 4, 2003, for again failing
to register for the registration year starting on September 1, 2002.
Under the Divisions Order, the Bare Hills Athletic Club at
1422 Clarkview Road in Baltimore may continue to provide services
to existing members, but the club is prohibited from signing up
any new members until it complies with the Health Club Services
Law. 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
Generals Web site at www.oag.state.md.us/consumer/tip69.htm.