General Gansler Files Charges Against Harbor Nautilus
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.