SENATE BILL NO. 6201
C 055 L 90
State of Washington 51st Legislature 1990 Regular Session
By Senators Lee and Rasmussen; by request of Attorney General
Prefiled with Secretary of the Senate 1/4/90. Read first time 1/8/90 and referred to Committee on Economic Development & Labor.
AN ACT Relating to health studios; and amending RCW 19.142.010, 19.142.040, and 19.142.050.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:
Sec. 1. Section 2, chapter 317, Laws of 1987 and RCW 19.142.010 are each amended to read as follows:
Unless the context clearly requires otherwise, the definitions in this section apply throughout this chapter:
(1) "Business day" means any day except a Sunday or a legal holiday.
(2) "Buyer" or "member" means a person who purchases health studio services.
(3) "Health studio" includes any person or entity engaged in the sale of instruction, training, assistance or use of facilities which purport to assist patrons to improve their physical condition or appearance through physical exercise, body building, weight loss, figure development, the martial arts, or any other similar activity. For the purposes of this chapter, "health studio" does not include: (a) Public common schools, private schools approved under RCW 28A.02.201, and public or private institutions of higher education; (b) persons providing professional services within the scope of a person's license under Title 18 RCW; (c) bona fide nonprofit organizations which have been granted tax-exempt status by the Internal Revenue Service, the functions of which as health studios are only incidental to their overall functions and purposes; (d) a person or entity which offers physical exercise, body building, figure development or similar activities as incidental features of a plan of instruction or assistance relating to diet or control of eating habits; (e) bona fide nonprofit corporations organized under chapter 24.03 RCW which have members and whose members have meaningful voting rights to elect and remove a board of directors which is responsible for the operation of the health club and corporation; and (f) a preexisting facility primarily offering aerobic classes, where the initiation fee is less than fifty dollars and no memberships are sold which exceed one year in duration. For purposes of this subsection, "preexisting facility" means an existing building used for health studio services covered by the fees collected.
(4) "Health studio services" means instruction, services, privileges, or rights offered for sale by a health studio. "Health studio services" do not include: (a) Instruction or assistance relating to diet or control of eating habits not involving substantial on-site physical exercise, body building, figure development, or any other similar activity; or (b) recreational or social programs which either involve no physical exercise or exercise only incidental to the program.
(5) "Initiation or membership fee" means a fee paid either in a lump sum or in installments within twelve months of execution of the health studio services contract on a one-time basis when a person first joins a health studio for the privilege of belonging to the health studio.
(6) "Special offer or discount" means any offer of health studio services at a reduced price or without charge to a prospective member.
(7) "Use fees or dues" means fees paid on a regular periodic basis for use of a health studio. This does not preclude prepayment of use fees at the buyer's option.
Sec. 2. Section 5, chapter 317, Laws of 1987 and RCW 19.142.040 are each amended to read as follows:
A contract for health studio services shall include all of the following:
(1) The name and address of the health studio facilities operator;
(2) The date the buyer signed the contract;
(3) A description of the health studio services and general equipment to be provided, or acknowledgement in a conspicuous form that the buyer has received a written description of the health studio services and equipment to be provided. If any of the health studio services or equipment are to be delivered at a planned facility, at a facility under construction, or through substantial improvements to an existing facility, the description shall include a date for completion of the facility, construction, or improvement. Health studio services must begin within twelve months from the date the contract is signed unless the completion of the facility, construction, or improvement is delayed due to war, or fire, flood, or other natural disaster;
(4) A statement of the duration of the contract. No contract for health studio services may require payments or financing by the buyer over a period in excess of thirty-six months from the date of the contract, nor may any contract term be measured by or be for the life of the buyer;
(5) The use fees or dues to be paid by the buyer and if such fees are subject to periodic adjustment. Use fees or dues may not be raised more than once in any calendar year;
(6) A complete statement of the rules of the health studio or an acknowledgement in a conspicuous form that the buyer has received a copy of the rules;
(7) Clauses which notify the buyer of the right to cancel:
(a) If the buyer dies or becomes totally disabled. The contract may require that the disability be confirmed by an examination of a physician agreeable to the buyer and the health studio;
(b) (i) Subject to (b)(ii) of this subsection, if the buyer moves his or her permanent residence to a location more than twenty-five miles from the health studio or an affiliated health studio offering the same or similar services and facilities at no additional expense to the buyer and the buyer cancels after one year from signing the contract if the contract extends for more than one year. The health studio may require reasonable evidence of relocation;
(ii) If at the time of signing the contract requiring payment of an initiation or membership fee the buyer lived more than twenty-five miles from the health studio, the buyer may cancel under (7)(b)(i) of this section only if the buyer moves an additional five miles or more from the health studio.
(c) If a
contract extends for more than one year ((
or requires payment of an
initiation or membership fee, in which case)), the buyer may cancel
the contract for any reason upon thirty days' written notice to the health
(d) If the health studio facilities are permanently closed and comparable facilities owned and operated by the seller are not made available within a ten-mile radius of the closed facility;
(e) If a facility, construction, or improvement is not completed by the date represented by the contract;
(f) If the contract for health studio services was sold prior to the opening of the facility, the buyer may cancel within the first five business days the facility opens for use of the buyer and the health studio begins to provide the agreed upon health studio services;
(8) Clauses explaining the buyer's right to a refund and relief from future payment obligations after cancellation of the contract;
(9) A provision under a conspicuous caption in capital letters and boldface type stating substantially the following:
"BUYER'S RIGHT TO CANCEL
!sc ,5If you wish to cancel this contract without penalty, you may cancel it by delivering or mailing a written notice to the health studio. The notice must say that you do not wish to be bound by the contract and must be delivered or mailed before midnight of the third business day after you sign this contract. The notice must be mailed to .......... (insert name and mailing address of health studio). If you cancel within the three days, the health studio will return to you within thirty days all amounts you have paid."!ix
Sec. 3. Section 6, chapter 317, Laws of 1987 and RCW 19.142.050 are each amended to read as follows:
After receipt of a written notice of cancellation, the health studio shall provide a refund to the buyer within thirty days. The health studio may require the buyer to return any membership card or other materials which evidence membership in the health studio. The buyer is entitled to a refund and relief from future obligations for payments of initiation or membership fees and use fees or dues as follows:
(1) The buyer is entitled to a refund of the unused portion of any prepaid use fees or dues and relief from future obligations to pay use fees or dues concerning use after the date of cancellation.
(2) (a) Subject to (b) of this subsection, if a contract includes a one-time only initiation or membership fee and the buyer cancels pursuant to RCW 19.142.040(7)(a), the buyer is entitled to a pro rata refund of the fee less a predetermined amount not to exceed one-half of the initial initiation or membership fee if the contract clearly states what percentage of the fee is nonrefundable or refundable.
(b) If a contract includes a one-time only initiation or membership fee and the buyer cancels pursuant to RCW 19.142.040(7)(a) three years or more after the signing of the contract requiring payment of such fee, such fee is nonrefundable.
(3) If a
contract includes ((
a one-time only)) an initiation or membership
fee and the buyer cancels pursuant to RCW 19.142.040(7) (b) or (c), the buyer
is entitled to a pro rata refund of the fee less a predetermined amount not to
exceed one-half of the initial initiation or membership fee unless (( the
contract clearly states that the initiation or membership fee is nonrefundable,
and the clause is separately signed by the buyer)) the following clause
is contained in the contract and signed separately by the buyer. The clause
shall be placed under a conspicuous caption in capital letters and bold face
type stating the following:
I UNDERSTAND THAT I HAVE PAID OR AM OBLIGATED TO PAY .......... AS AN INITIATION OR MEMBERSHIP FEE, AND THAT UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES IS ANY PORTION OF THIS AMOUNT REFUNDABLE.
(4) If a contract includes a one-time only initiation or membership fee and the buyer cancels pursuant to RCW 19.142.040(7)(d), the buyer is entitled to a pro rata refund of the fee.
(5) If a contract includes a one-time only initiation or membership fee and the buyer cancels pursuant to RCW 19.142.040(7) (e) or (f), the buyer is entitled to a full refund of the fee.
If a buyer is entitled to a pro rata refund under this section, the amount shall be computed by dividing the contract price by the number of weeks in the contract term and multiplying the result by the number of weeks remaining in the contract term. If no term is stated in the contract, a term of thirty-six months shall be used.