Four area health clubs are among 53 in New Jersey cited as failing to comply with consumer protection laws, the state Division of Consumer Affairs said Thursday.
The state is fining Brigantine Fitness Center in Brigantine $5,000 on its claim the gym did not properly register with Consumer Affairs. A gym owner said the state is in error.
Three other area facilities were cited on claims they offered long-term contracts without maintaining a security bond or letter of credit.
New Jersey requires health clubs that offer contracts for terms longer than three months to post bonds with the Division of Consumer Affairs.
The three gyms cited as being in violation were:
* Vineland World Gym in Vineland, with a fine of $5,250.
* Lyceum II Health & Fitness Club in Manahawkin, Stafford Township, $5,250.
* Bolero Spa Wildwood, $5,000.
Tim Tran, an owner of Vineland World Gym, said the citation was based on an office misunderstanding of the law regarding the types of memberships requiring bonds.
The company took steps to comply with state law, he said.
In a statement, Lyceum owner Lloyd Little said, “The Lyceum has been in business under the original owners for 32 years and is in full compliance with consumer laws. Our business has grown over these years and continues to expand.”
Charlene Goff, a co-owner of the Brigantine gym, said the business was fined in error and her partner was correcting the problem.
“We are fully certified and registered, and the state has made a mistake,” Goff said.
Representatives from Bolero did not respond to requests for comment on Thursday.
The clubs cited for violations can contest the charges and request a formal hearing, seek a conference to explain mitigating circumstances, or pay the fine and agree to comply with the law, the state says.
Throughout New Jersey, the Division of Consumer Affairs is fining 53 health clubs a total of $283,500 in civil penalties.
“When consumers pay for a gym membership, they need to know the gym will be held accountable for maintaining its side of the contract. That is the purpose of our registration laws and other requirements,” acting Attorney General John Hoffman said in a statement. “We are citing these health clubs for their alleged failure to comply with these consumer protection laws.”
Staff writer Anjalee Khemlani contributed to this report.
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