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For Immediate Release

Media Contact:
Raquel Guillory, 410-576-6357
rguillory@oag.state.md.us

Attorney General Gansler Files Charges Against Harbor Nautilus

BALTIMORE, MD (January 5, 2008) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler today announced that his Consumer Protection Division has filed administrative charges against Harbor Nautilus, Inc., 1030 Baltimore Boulevard in Westminster, and its owner, Charles B. Riddle, for violating Maryland’s Health Club law. The charges allege that Harbor Nautilus failed to renew its health club registration with the Division and post the required security. Despite the company’s lack of registration, it continued to sell health club memberships to Maryland consumers. In addition, the Division alleges that consumers were charged unauthorized fees.

Under Maryland law, health clubs, self-defense schools, and weight loss centers are required to register with the Division prior to selling health club services. The law also requires facilities to post a bond or other security if they collect more than three months’ payment in advance from members or charge an initiation fee of more than $200.00.

“Enforcement by my office of the registration and bonding requirements helps protect consumers in the event that the club should go out of business,” said Attorney General Gansler. “It is especially important in the current economic climate for consumers to ensure their payments are protected by checking whether the club is properly registered and bonded before joining.”

The charges seek an order requiring the business and its owner to cease and desist from selling health club services in Maryland unless they have complied with the registration and bonding requirements and to return all payments collected in violation of the Consumer Protection Act and Health Club law. The Division is also seeking payment of civil penalties and costs.
Attorney General Gansler urges consumers to visit the Attorney General’s website at www.oag.state.md.us/healthclub/consumer.htm or call the Consumer Protection Division at 410-576-6350 before they join a health club, weight loss center or self-defense school to ensure it is properly registered and bonded. The website also contains tips for consumers considering joining health clubs, weight loss centers or karate schools.

   

Attorney General of Maryland 1 (888) 743-0023 toll-free / TDD: (410) 576-6372
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