- Associated Press - Thursday, January 14, 2016

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York’s attorney general announced settlements Thursday with 96 health club operators he said have agreed to modify their contracts and pay penalties and fines for violations of state law.

Investigators found widespread violations including failures to make required disclosures to customers and inclusions of unenforceable contract releases and liability waivers, the attorney general’s office said.

“Many people opt to sign up for a gym membership in January - and then, you hope, actually go to the gym,” 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 the clubs must provide refunds within 15 days of such cancellations, he said.

Club operators that settled included Curves, based in Woodway, Texas, with multiple locations in New York, penalized $2,650; and LA Fitness, based in Greece, New York, with multiple locations, penalized $6,750.

LA Fitness agreed to add some language to its contracts and remove some waiver language and didn’t admit any violations of law, a spokeswoman said. Curves did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Many of the other club operators paid $250 penalties for single locations.

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