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Transplant Athlete
Friday, September 08, 2006
  Update on Golds Gym

I received a response from the General Manager of the Gold's Gym, its short so I'll include it.

"It's unfortunate that the advertised price on the coupon is somewhat misleading. The advertising coupon was a piggy back coupon between us and the New Leesburg Gold's Gym. The new owner of the Leesburg club is a former employee of ours and made arrangements with our owner to piggy back their advertising because they both were advertising in the same zip codes. As you can see, the rate he is offering is a pre-sale rate because he has yet to open his doors. Fairly soon after opening, his pricing structure will be very similar to ours. The best options that I can set up for you here is: $0 down/$49.99, $50 down/$39.99 monthly or $250 down/$29.99 monthly. Hopefully this will fit into your budget. Again I would recommend Fitness First in Reston if you want to save a few dollars."

They admit that the use of the locations on the ad with the pricing is "somewhat misleading". If they think its misleading, and I think its misleading, then it meets the Federal Trade Commissions first test of false advertising which essentially says what would a reasonable person looking at the words, phrases and pictures think. I think it also meets the test of would the claim be material to the consumer's decision to purchase. (hell yes, I drove right over there to sign up after getting it in the mail).

Now about that disclaimer. The FTC says and I quote, "When the disclosure of qualifying information is necessary to prevent an ad from being deceptive, the information should be presented clearly and conspicuously so that consumers can actually notice and understand it. A fine-print disclosure at the bottom of a print ad, a disclaimer buried in a body of text unrelated to the claim being qualified, a brief video superscript in a television ad, or a disclaimer that is easily missed on a website are not likely to be effective. Nor can advertisers use fine print to contradict other statements in an ad or to clear up misimpressions that the ad would leave otherwise.To ensure that disclosures are effective, advertisers should use clear and unambiguous language, place any qualifying information close to the claim being qualified, and avoid using small type or any distracting elements that could undercut the disclosure. Although there is no hard-and-fast rule about the size of type in a print ad or the length of time a disclosure must appear on TV, the FTC often has taken action when a disclaimer or disclosure is too small, flashes across the screen too quickly, is buried in other information, or is otherwise hard for consumers to understand.

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I've gone through kidney failure twice. The first time in 2000, my mother donated a kidney; and again in 2008, I'm on dialysis waiting for a breakthrough in immuno-suppression medicines before seeking a new kidney.

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