For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Kriss Bivens Cloyd
(208) 334-4119

Date: February 26, 2015

Judgment Entered Against Former Fitness Clubs

(Boise) - Attorney General Lawrence Wasden obtained a $394,900 judgment against Body Renew Fitness, LLC, which operated several Treasure Valley fitness and tanning facilities before they abruptly closed last summer. The judgment ends Wasden’s lawsuit against the company and its owner for taking customers’ money, but failing to provide the services the customers purchased.

“A business with prepaid membership accounts cannot simply shut its door and ignore its debts,” Wasden said. “There is a right way to go out of business and a wrong way. Leaving a note on the door and skipping town with customers’ money is not the right way.”

Wasden began investigating Body Renew Fitness after he received consumer complaints about the company’s unlawful debt collection practices. In July 2014, the company unexpectedly closed its facilities, yet continued debiting its customers’ accounts. On behalf of the state, Wasden filed a lawsuit against Body Renew Fitness and Dakota Routh in October 2014, alleging numerous violations of Idaho’s consumer protection laws. Neither the company nor Routh answered the state’s complaint.

The judgment includes $13,900 in restitution for 70 consumers and prohibits Body Renew Fitness or Routh from attempting to collect on the debts of four consumers. Consumers who filed complaints with the Attorney General’s Office will receive a letter providing more details about their restitution claim.

“This judgment is a tool for my office to collect from Routh when or if we are able to locate him and any assets he may have,” Wasden said.

The remainder of the judgment includes $375,000 in civil penalties and $6,000 to reimburse the state for the cost of the lawsuit. Routh also is prohibited from operating an Idaho fitness facility in the future.

As in this case, consumers risk losing their investment when they enter into prepaid membership agreements, Wasden said. When possible, consumers should avoid lengthy, prepaid contracts and instead choose month-to-month memberships.

Wasden also encourages consumers to be cautious about who has permission to make automatic withdrawals from their financial accounts. Consumers need to immediately cancel the automatic withdrawal authorization of any company that closes.

For informational purposes only, consumers who lost money to Body Renew Fitness are welcome to file a complaint with Wasden’s Consumer Protection Division. A complaint form can be downloaded here.

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