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LA Fitness, other clubs settle with AG

ALBANY — Greece-based health club giant LA Fitness has been penalized $6,750 as part of a sweeping settlement with 96 operators announced Thursday by New York’s attorney general.

The operators have agreed to modify their contracts and pay penalties and fines for violations of state law.

Investigators found widespread violations among the health clubs, including failures to make required disclosures to customers and inclusion of unenforceable contract releases and liability waivers, according to the attorney general’s office.

“Many people opt to sign up for a gym membership in January — and then, you hope, actually go to the gym,” said Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said. “As you consider your own wellness goals, follow a few basic tips to make sure you’re getting the membership you want at the price you expect.”

New York law says all health club contracts can be canceled within three days of signing, Schneiderman said. They also can be canceled any time the club stops offering services listed in the contract or if the member has a doctor’s order, he said.

Further, they can be canceled if the consumer moves 25 miles from any health club operated by the seller or has a significant physical disability for a period in excess of six months. Such notices must appear on all health club contracts, and they club must provide refunds within 15 days of such cancellations, he said.

As well as LA Fitness, Curves, which is based in Woodway, Texas, but has multiple locations in New York, as also penalized, to the tune of $2,650.

The two companies did not immediately reply Thursday to a request for comment.