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Media > Newsletters > Consumer Advocate > December 2013 > Resolve to Know Your Consumer Rights

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Resolve to Know Your Consumer Rights

With the new year just around the corner, are you resolving to lose weight, learn to dance, or meet that new someone special? If so, you should be aware of the consumer rights involving “prepaid entertainment contracts.” In Ohio, state consumer protections apply to certain personal services for which a contract requires payment prior to you receiving any of the services that you have purchased. This includes many of the following:
  • Gym and health spa memberships
  • Dating services
  • Dance lessons
  • Martial arts instruction
Before signing a prepaid entertainment contract, keep these consumer tips in mind:
  • Only promises in writing are guaranteed, so make sure any benefits or features promised by a business are included in the written contract.
  • Always read the fine print so you do not miss any of the important terms and conditions.
  • Understand your right to cancel a prepaid entertainment contract within three business days (Monday through Saturday) of signing it. The company must refund any money paid, minus an expense fee of no more than $10.
  • If you decide to cancel, you must notify the business by postal mail or in person, not by email, fax, or telephone. The seller must provide you with a copy of your contract, which will contain a “notice of cancellation.” 
For consumers signing a prepaid entertainment contract prior to the opening of a new business, the right to cancel is extended through the seventh day it is open to serve customers. Any cancellation fees for refunds prior to the opening of the facility cannot exceed $50 or 10 percent of the total membership cost, whichever is less.
If a facility relocates 25 miles or more from a customer’s home, or if the customer moves 25 miles or more away from the facility, the customer has the right to a refund based on the amount of time left on the contract. An exception is made if service is transferred to a similar facility within 25 miles.
Armed with your rights involving prepaid entertainment contracts, you’ll be one step closer to making your New Year’s resolutions a reality.
If you have a complaint of an unfair business practice, report it to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at or by calling 800-282-0515.