Although we join gyms with the best of intentions, many of us give up after a couple of months. The problem is that we’re often locked into contracts of a year. So how easy is it to cancel a contract for gym membership?
How easy is it to cancel a contract for gym membership?
There are rules and regulations that cover gym contracts and what they can make you sign up to. Make sure you watch out for these points when you sign up:
Watch out for:
1. The cooling off period: You may be able to cancel your gym membership within the first 14 days, but it may depend on where you signed up to the contract. If you sign up at the gym itself you may only be allowed 48 hours in which to cancel. If you sign a contract for gym membership at home (over the phone or online) you should have 14 days. Do check this before you sign.
2. The length of the contract. Most gyms have a minimum contract time of 12 months and you normally have to give a full calendar month’s notice if you want to cancel your gym membership. Your gym shouldn’t tie you to a contract of more than 12 months as this is not legally enforceable.
3. Additional fees: Some gyms charge a fee for late payment, getting a debt collector involved or replacing lost gym cards. Despite the fact that gyms provide a service — they’re supposed to make you feel better about yourself — they can be pretty brutal if you get behind with your payments.
4. Being pressured to sign up. Don’t sign up if you’re at all unsure about being able to afford it. If you’re in doubt, say you’ll think about it.
SAVVY TIP: I wouldn’t rely on anything you’re told (verbally) by the sales staff if it comes to a dispute. Make sure you ask them to put it in writing in an email or to add it to the contract (and get it signed by the member of staff).
How to cancel your gym membership
You may be able to cancel your contract by email or over the phone, but you often have to do so by letter. or email. If it’s by letter, I would make sure you send it by recorded delivery. You may have to send your cancellation letter to the head office rather than your local branch. Whatever method you choose, make sure you’re able to get proof that they’ve received the cancellation notice.
You normally have to give at least one month’s notice before you can end the contract.
When can you cancel your gym membership?
There may be some circumstances where you can cancel your gym membership. However, these can vary from contract to contract.
You’re ill, you lose your job or move house
You can normally cancel your gym membership without giving the full notice if you’re ill, you move house or you lose your job. However, you have to be able to meet some minimum terms and conditions.
SAVVY TIP: Be aware that gyms will normally expect a doctor’s note or other evidence of your illness if you want to cancel because of poor health.
If you’re moving house most gyms will try and get you to transfer your membership rather than cancel. They may have terms in the contract that says you can’t cancel if there’s another branch less than 20 minutes drive away. Likewise — being made redundant should mean you can cancel. But if your hours are cut or you go part time, you may not qualify.
Your gym reduces some of its facilities
A number of gyms that have a creche facility often advertise to mums’ groups. If you’re signing up on the basis of something like a creche, find out whether you could cancel if it’s no longer provided or if it offers its services for reduced hours.
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