Gym reaches settlement with Abbott

Keith Loria Sep. 2, 2010, 5:51am


AUSTIN (Legal Newsline) - Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott on Tuesday announced that his office has secured a deal with a fitness center that allegedly deceived its customers with fake past-due bills.

The California-based Bally Total Fitness Corp. agreed to a judgment that will prohibit the company from sending its former members misleading "past-due" mailings, which it had allegedly done between the summer of 2009 and March.

Abbott alleged that during that time period, Bally mailed more than 11,000 misleading "past-due" collection notices to past customers as a way to get them to rejoin their former gym. These notices misled consumers into thinking that they owed outstanding membership fees when, in fact, they were merely a scheme to get people to renew their plan with the gym, Abbott claims.

Allegedly, more than 1,000 Texans made payments to Bally after receiving the improper past-due collection notices.

According to the agreement, Bally must provide refunds to Texans who paid these fees. Bally is responsible for sending out settlement notices to customers who are automatically eligible for restitution.

Bally is also not allowed to inform current or former members that they owe a balance on their account unless the balance is truly owed.

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