Defunct Brooklyn Health Club To Refund $55,000 In Prepaid Dues
New York, NY (July 03, 2007) - Attorney General Andrew Cuomo today announced a settlement with owners of Absolute Power Fitness, Inc., a Brooklyn health club that closed its doors without warning after accepting prepaid membership fees from 650 consumers.
Under the terms of the settlement, Robert Dreiss and Alex Vasquez, owners of Absolute Power Fitness, Inc., will pay $55,289.77 to defrauded members along with penalties and costs of the investigation. Members eligible to receive a refund must file a complaint form with the Attorney General’s Brooklyn Regional Office by September 24, 2007.
“Absolute Power Fitness gym was absolutely caught,” said Lois Booker-Williams, Assistant Attorney General-In-Charge of the Brooklyn Regional Office. “Health club members are entitled to get the services they paid for and should not have to risk their down payments when joining a health club.”
In January 2007, Dreiss and Vazquez were operating 3 health clubs in Brooklyn when they closed the doors without warning of the gym located at 5313-23 Fifth Avenue. In response to complaints received from stranded members who were unable to contact the gym or receive refunds for their prepaid memberships, the Attorney General’s Office launched an investigation that resulted in a settlement.
The settlement agreement requires Absolute Power to notify eligible members (in English and Spanish) of their right to either: receive a pro rata refund; or use 1 of the following 2 health clubs for the remaining time on the members’ contract in lieu of receiving a pro rata refund: Absolute Power Fitness Health club located at 750 Grand Street, Brooklyn, New York, (718) 387-4711, or Kensington Aerobics & Fitness, Inc., at 202 Caton Avenue, Brooklyn, New York (718) 854-8300.
Under New York State law, health clubs such as Absolute Power must post a bond, letter of credit or deposit (“financial security”) with the Secretary of State. Before signing a membership contract, consumers may protect themselves by calling the NYS Department of State to confirm whether the health club is bonded and ask for proof of compliance.
The investigation was handled by Lois Booker-Williams, Assistant Attorney General-In-Charge of the Brooklyn Regional Office with the assistance of Investigator Michael Ward. To file a complaint form, call the Attorney General’s Helpline at 1-800-771-7755.