Ky. AG recovers lost membership fees for former health club members

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Legal Newsline) -- Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway said Monday his office has recovered lost membership fees for hundreds of former customers of a Lexington-area health club. Shapes New Dimensions Inc. closed its doors April 25, 2012, according to the Attorney General's Office. Conway said his office is sending refunds totaling $36,296 to more than 500 consumers for the unused portion of membership fees paid to Shapes. As required by Kentucky law, the facility had in place a $50,000 bond for compensation of any member who suffers loss of money due to closure of the health spa. Conway said his office worked with the previous owner to obtain documentation for membership information, sent letters to affected members and placed legal notices in the newspaper. As a result, 583 consumers will receive refunds. "I am pleased that we are able to recover unused membership fees for former Shapes members," the attorney general said in a statement. "I appreciate the cooperation of the owner and the bond company in working with my office for the benefit of consumers." He continued, "Protecting health club members from unexpected closures was what the health spa bonding law was designed to do and it worked as envisioned by the General Assembly when they passed the law back in 1988." Conway asked consumers to consider the following prior to joining a health club: - Make sure the club is registered with the Attorney General's Office. Each health spa is required to register with the office. Health spas that receive payment for more than 31 days in advance are also required to post a bond; - Be sure to tour the facility to make sure the club offers the type of equipment and programs you want; - Ask the club owner to show you that the club is bonded, or if not, why it is exempt from bonding; - Be sure to review the contract before signing. Never sign a blank contract. All health spa contracts must be in writing and be delivered to the member at the time the contract is signed; - No health spa contract may be sold for a period of longer than 36 months; - Know your rights as a health spa member. Kentucky's Health Spas laws are located in KRS 367.900 - 367.930; and - Understand your rights to cancel. Conway said consumers may cancel their contract within three business days of purchase by notifying the health spa in writing. Consumers also may cancel if, because of death or medical disability, they become unable to use a substantial portion of the spa's facilities or services for 30 or more days. In addition, a contract can be canceled if the spa relocates more than five miles from the location stated in the contract, and if the consumer relocates more than 25 miles from his or her residence as stated in the contract and the health spa cannot provide comparable facilities and services within five miles of the new residence. From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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