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For Immediate Release
April 22, 2003
Contact: Sean Caine, 410-576-6357
scaine@oag.state.md.us

BALTIMORE HEALTH CLUB FINED FOR NOT COMPLYING WITH HEALTH CLUB LAW

Attorney 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 Maryland’s 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.

Curran 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 payments.

Curran’s 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 Division’s 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 General’s Web site at www.oag.state.md.us/consumer/tip69.htm.

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