NYHRC Pays Penalty for 2008 Promotion

NEW YORK -- The New York Health & Racquet Club (NYHRC) and the New York Department of Consumer Affairs have reached an agreement regarding the club’s promotional campaign that ran from March 2008 to May 2008.

In the NYHRC promotion, prospective members were offered free access to a yacht, beach club and golf resort. The club says it stated “additional fees may apply” in the advertisement, without publishing the specific fees.

“We regret the confusion this promotion may have caused consumers and our members,” Howard Brodsky, president and CEO of NYHRC, said in a statement. “We take pride in the fact that we have been serving our members and this city for over 38 years and will continue to do so for many years to come.”

According to a report in the New York Daily News, NYHRC agreed to pay a penalty and allowed members who joined during the promotion to cancel their contract without penalty.

About 5,000 people joined NYHRC during the promotional period, according to the company. When members joined, they were assessed a $25 food fee for the yacht trips and fees ranging from $30 to $85 at the golf resort.

The Department of Consumer Affairs contacted NYHRC after learning members were assessed the fees.

“Buyer beware is not the law in New York City,” Jonathan Mintz, the department’s commissioner, told the Daily News. “You can’t bury the truth in a footnote.”

Although Brodsky thanked Mintz for mentioning in the Daily News report that his office received no complaints from membership, Mintz told the Daily News that it was “most disturbing” that his office did not receive complaints from members.

“When there are a bunch of footnotes and asterisks, someone may be breaking city law and deceiving you,” Mintz told the newspaper.
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