Health clubs fail to adequately display membership fees, state investigators say

The Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation said that a recent investigation of 15 local heath clubs found that they failed to display membership prices and fees as mandated by state law.

What’s more, none of the locations surveyed adequately displayed a consumer’s three-day right to cancel health club contracts, the state agency said in a press release.

Barbara Anthony. File photo by Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe.

The survey was conducted from December through January.

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“This is the busiest season for new health club memberships, with people trying to stick to their New Year’s resolutions,” Barbara Anthony, the agency’s undersecretary, said in a statement. “We want to make sure that, as with any other product or service you buy, consumers are aware of their rights and told the price and terms and conditions before signing any contracts. Our survey shows that health club consumers, through no fault of their own, may not know how much they’ll be paying.”

Anthony added: “Signing a contract for a health club should not resemble the old stereotype of purchasing a used car. The law requires complete up front disclosure of all prices and material terms and conditions. We found some troubling transgressions during the course of our investigation and will refer all alleged violations to the attorney general’s Office.”

A page on the agency’s website includes tips designed to help consumers make informed decisions when it comes to choosing health clubs.