Members of the Curves clubs that closed abruptly in 2009 will get their fees refunded, according to a recent settlement between the health club and New York state.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced the settlement with health club franchisor Curves International.
The settlement involves 60 health clubs across the state, including six in the lower Hudson Valley, that closed their doors two years ago without issuing refunds to members who pre-paid. Curves, which is based in Texas, is required to pay at least $100,000 in reimbursements and $60,000 to the state to cover the costs of the investigation.
“If you do business in New York, then you have to play by the rules. Curves International—like any franchisor operating in the state—must refund the customers who prepaid for memberships they ultimately could not use,” Schneiderman said in a statement.
The six local clubs involved in the settlement were located on North Main Street in Brewster; North Middletown Road in Pearl River; 6th Street in Pelham; Route 100 in Somers; and in Yonkers on Lockwood Avenue and Central Avenue.
State law requires franchisors such as Curves to assume the legal responsibility of individual franchise owners. The freshman attorney general said that the company initially refused to offer refunds.
Monthly membership costs for Curves clubs range from $24 in Rochester to $42 in New York City. Schneiderman spokeswoman Lauren Passalacqua said that many of the customers eligible for refunds paid up front for one-year memberships; their refunds will be pro-rated depending on how much of the contract went unfulfilled. She also said that the franchises "didn't notify anybody" before they closed.
Curves President Mike Raymond applauded the settlement.
"When it was brought to our attention that certain of our independently-owned franchises were not treating members in the same spirit of fairness we pride ourselves on, we took all necessary steps to ensure that such was corrected," Raymond said in a statement.
A Curves spokeswoman did not return calls seeking further comment.
If you believe you are owed a refund from Curves, contact the Better Business Bureau at (212) 358-2857.