Current Status Introducing Body:
SenateBill Number: 639Primary Sponsor: MitchellCommittee Number: 13Type of Legislation: GBSubject: Physical fitness service credit contractsResiding Body: SenateCurrent Committee: Medical AffairsCompanion Bill Number: 3835Computer Document Number: 436/11215AC.93Introduced Date: 19930406Last History Body: SenateLast History Date: 19930406Last History Type: Introduced, read first time, referred to CommitteeScope of Legislation: StatewideAll Sponsors: Mitchell GieseType of Legislation: General Bill
Bill Body Date Action Description CMN Leg Involved ____ ______ ____________ ______________________________ ___ ____________ 639 Senate 19930406 Introduced, read first time, 13 referred to CommitteeView additional legislative information at the LPITS web site.
TO AMEND SECTION 44-79-30, AS AMENDED, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO PHYSICAL FITNESS SERVICE CREDIT CONTRACTS, SO AS TO INCREASE THE DURATION OF CONTRACTS FROM ONE TO THREE MONTHS AND THE AMOUNT FROM FIFTY DOLLARS TO FIFTY DOLLARS A MONTH FOR THOSE CONTRACTS THAT MUST CONFORM TO STATUTORY REQUIREMENTS; AND TO AMEND SECTION 44-79-80, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO CERTIFICATES OF AUTHORITY, SO AS TO REQUIRE THE POST OF THESE CERTIFICATES WITHIN VIEW OF THE FRONT ENTRANCE AND TO REQUIRE POSTING OF THE NUMBER OF COMPLAINTS FILED AGAINST THE CENTER.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. Section 44-79-30 of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 380 of 1992, is further amended to read:
"Section 44-79-30. (A) Every prepaid or credit contract for physical fitness services of over one month's three months' duration or over fifty dollars a month in amount must conform to the following requirements:
(1) the contract must be in writing, and a copy must be given to the customer at the time he signs it;
(2) the contract shall state clearly the street address or location of the center and outlets which the member may use at the time the contract is executed and the major facilities or major services which each offers;
(3) the contract shall reveal the finance charge, if any, which the member agrees to pay;
(4) if the customer executes a promissory note in connection with the contract, the contract shall clearly indicate whether the promissory note is assignable paper and whether it may be discounted and sold to third parties. Assignment of the promissory note does not affect the right of the member to cancel the contract or the method by which the cancellation may be made;
(5) the contract must contain a right to cancel provision in the following language:
(a) You may cancel this contract by sending notice of your wish to cancel to the center before midnight of the third business day after you sign the contract. 'Business day' means Monday through Friday excluding state holidays and federal holidays. This notice must be sent certified mail to the following:
Within thirty days of receipt of this notice, the center shall return any payments made and any note or other evidence of indebtedness. If you use the seller's facilities or services, the center may charge you deduct a reasonable fee from the payments being returned based on days of actual use and services rendered.
(b) In addition, you or your estate may also cancel the contract at any time by written notice to the center at the above address if the following circumstances occur:
(1) the customer's death;
(2) substantial physical disability, certified by a physician, which makes it permanently impossible for the customer to use the center's services;
(3) the customer's permanent relocation to a residence over fifty miles distant from an outlet operated by the center, if the center is unable to arrange for the customer's use of another center with equivalent major facilities and services. The center may require presentation of information to substantiate that one of these circumstances has occurred. If the contract is cancelled because of disability, death, or permanent change of residence, the center shall return any note or other evidence of indebtedness and unearned prepayments as follows: For each month that the contract was in effect, the center is entitled to the rate a month or a treatment which it would have charged if the contract had initially been one for the number of months or the number of treatments for which the contract was actually in effect. The rate is to be determined from a fee schedule in effect on the date of the contract.
(c) The right of cancellation shall affect only the financial obligations under the contract and customer's right to use the center's physical fitness services."
(6) services such as personal training, personal fitness testing, and daily visitor fees that are not subject to being refunded must be clearly stated in the contract;
(6) (7) Any contractual provision allowing more liberal rights of cancellation than set forth in this chapter may be substituted for the notice required in this chapter.
(B) A contract is not required for personal training, private consultations, and fitness testing rendered on an hourly basis unless they are part of a package of over three hundred dollars."
SECTION 2. Section 44-79-80(6) of the 1976 Code, is amended to read:
"(6) A copy of the Certificate of Authority required by this chapter must be posted conspicuously in view of the front entrance at every location where monies or contracts are received by the center. The certificate shall contain or be accompanied by a verified document prepared by the Department of Consumer Affairs containing the number of complaints filed against the facility with the Department of Consumer Affairs since the facility opened and during the previous year."
SECTION 3. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.