Attorney General Gansler Cracks Down on Unregistered Health Clubs
Consumer Protection Division charges four facilities for failure to register
MD ( Aug. 12, 2011) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler today announced that his Consumer Protection Division has filed administrative charges against four Maryland health clubs and their respective owners for failing to register with the Office of Attorney General, as required by state law.
“We encourage consumers to check with us before joining a fitness club to ensure that it is properly registered,” said Attorney General Gansler. “These registration requirements are designed to protect consumers' money and their investment in their health and wellbeing.”
The Health Club Registration Unit of the Consumer Protection Division alleges that the health clubs listed below failed to properly register for registration year 2010-2011 (September 1, 2010 - August 31, 2011), despite repeated notices from the Division that they were required to do so. The charges allege that the following health clubs and their owners are operating in violation of Maryland's Consumer Protection Act and Health Club law:
- Arm 1, LLC (Columbia, MD) and its owner, Raphael Marcantoni IV;
- Dynamic Defense, Inc. (Cockeysville, MD) and its owner, William David Stoffregen II;
- Reducing Key Hypnosis Center of Glen Burnie, Inc. (Glen Burnie, MD) and its owner, Samuel Baldwin; and
- Team Maryland BJJ, Inc. (Timonium, MD) and its owner, Nicholas R. Tissue.
The Health Club law protects consumers in a number of ways, including the requirement for health clubs to provide certain information to consumers, such as a “Notice of Consumer Rights” on all health club contracts. In the Notice of Consumer Rights, a health club must disclose whether it has posted a bond that would protect consumers' advance payments if it were to go out of business.
The charges seek a cease-and-desist order prohibiting the health clubs from selling any services in Maryland until they comply with the registration requirements of the Health Club law. Additionally, the Division will ask the clubs to pay civil penalties and costs. The hearings are scheduled for September 27, 2011 at the Maryland Office of the Attorney General.
Health clubs, self-defense schools and weight loss centers are required to register with the Division's Health Club Registration Unit. Consumers looking to join these facilities are encouraged to check whether the facility is registered at the Attorney General's website, www.oag.state.md.us/healthclub, or by calling (410) 576-6350.