AG Shapiro: “Don’t let the ‘ball drop’ on your New Year’s plans to get healthy because of a bad gym choice.”
HARRISBURG — Just in time for New Year’s, when Pennsylvanians resolve to get healthy through exercise and joining a health club, Attorney General Josh Shapiro is encouraging Pennsylvanians to carefully examine any contract they sign before joining a health club, and offering tips so they understand their legal rights.
“New Year’s is a time when many Pennsylvanians decide to join gyms or health clubs to get healthy,” Attorney General Shapiro said. “I want consumers to know my office monitors these health clubs to make sure they’re properly registered, and we’re here to help them avoid scams. We don’t want the ‘ball to drop’ on your New Year’s plans to get healthy because of a bad gym choice.”
The Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection received 93 complaints against health clubs and gyms in 2017, a 66 percent increase from 2016. Most complaints involved issues related to contract cancellations or consumers seeking refunds when clubs unexpectedly closed.
In Pennsylvania, consumers have specific protections under the state’s Health Club Act. Gyms and health clubs are required to register with the Bureau of Consumer Protection if they sell membership contracts of more than three months. The Bureau entered into nine settlements with gyms in 2017 based on non-registration.
Any health club or gym that sells memberships of more than one year, or collects more than one month of payment in advance, must file a letter of credit or bond with the Attorney General’s office. The bond or letter of credit is to protect consumers if a club closes before its pre-paid memberships have ended.
“I’ll protect Pennsylvanians from being scammed by ensuring these facilities are properly registered,” Attorney General Josh Shapiro said. “If a health club is acting outside of the law, we’ll hold them accountable.”
In one recent case, ElectroFit LLC in Lehigh County, now doing business as OxyFit Gym, closed on December 13. Consumers who have paid memberships to ElectroFit may be entitled to a refund and are encouraged to contact the Bureau of Consumer Protection to file a complaint at 1-800-441-2555 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Whether a consumer is a member of this gym or any health club and they don’t believe the club is delivering on its promises, we want to hear from you,” Attorney General Shapiro said. “Call my Bureau of Consumer Protection. We’ll make sure the club is following Pennsylvania law.”
Attorney General Shapiro and the Bureau of Consumer Protection provided the following tips:
“All of us at the Office of Attorney General want you to fulfill your New Year’s goals to get healthy,” Attorney General Shapiro said. “I want you to make smart, informed choices on your gym or health club, and we’re here to help protect you. Happy New Year!”
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