Thursday, June 22, 1995 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Clubs Will Repay Customers -- State Reaches Agreement With Fitness Chains


Four health-club chains in Western Washington have agreed to stop using questionable sales tactics and pay restitution to customers, the state attorney general's office said yesterday.

Four Corners Health Club, which operates 10 LivingWell Lady clubs in the Puget Sound area, voluntarily paid $72,000 in restitution.

It also agreed Tuesday in Thurston County Superior Court to pay $90,000 in civil penalties and $25,000 in attorney costs and fees. The company also is to mediate any additional consumer complaints filed within the next 90 days.

Settlements also were signed Tuesday with Cascade Athletic Clubs; Bell-Fit Inc., doing business as Cascade Athletic Club in Bellingham; and Hart's Athletic Clubs, based in Bellevue.

Their restitution is to be determined later.

The companies were accused of high-pressure sales tactics, bait-and-switch advertising, failure to deliver promised instructors, services and facilities, failure to cancel memberships when requested, and unfair and deceptive billing and collection practices.

An agreement filed in King County Superior Court requires Hart's Athletic Clubs and owner Richard W. Hart of Bellevue to pay $52,000 in attorney costs and fees and $250,000 in suspended penalties.

Cascade Athletic Clubs and owner John Michael of Redmond signed a settlement in King County Superior Court agreeing to pay nearly $70,000 in attorney costs and fees and $250,000 in suspended penalties.

Bell-Fit agreed to pay $15,000 in attorney costs and fees and $40,000 in suspended penalties in a settlement filed in Whatcom County.

Copyright (c) 1995 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.


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