Gym membership agreements are often concluded for a fixed term. You may only terminate a fixed-term contract during the contract period in certain special situations. Once you have signed a fixed-term contract with a fitness centre, you must pay all membership fees for the whole contract period, even if you did not use the services.
A fitness centre may not renew a fixed-term contract automatically as another fixed-term contract, but the contract will typically continue as one that is valid until further notice. If you wish to terminate your membership, you have to expressly inform the fitness centre of this. You cannot terminate the contract simply by stopping to pay the invoices.
Read the terms and conditions of a gym membership contract carefully
Before you conclude a gym membership contract, you should read its terms and conditions carefully. You should pay particular attention to the clauses on fees, suspending your membership and cancellation of the contract. Only sign the contract if you can accept all parts of it.
Before signing a fixed-term contract, you should check
- the opening hours of the fitness centre and the services it offers
- the total costs of training at the gym, for instance any sign-up and joining fees and additional costs of child care services or group classes
- the period of the contract, and if the contract will continue automatically as one that is valid until further notice
- the grounds for suspending the contract and the conditions under which you can take a break from training if, for example, you become ill or have an injury.
Early termination of the contract
Terminating a fixed-term contract or one in which a minimum contract period is required may be possible if your life situation changes so significantly that fulfilling the contract can be considered unfair. This change must be something that you did not know about and could not anticipate when you concluded the contract.
Examples of situations in which terminating the contract may be justified include:
- long-term illness
- injury or disability
- moving to another locality.
However, the following contractual terms cannot be regarded as unfair in general:
- In an unexpected situation, you membership can be suspended without terminating the contract.
- If you terminate a fixed-term contract before it expires, you may be billed for the price difference between a contract valid until further notice and a fixed-term contract for the months you have used.
The service must be as agreed
The content and performance of gym services must be as agreed. For example, this means that the promised fitness services must be available during the announced opening hours.
If the content or performance of the service is not as agreed and the situation is not rectified within a reasonable time, you may have the right to a price reduction that corresponds to the defect, or to cancellation of the contract.
The location of the gym is also important. If the gym moves to another address, you may have the right to terminate a fixed-term contract early.
Changing contract terms
The gym cannot change the terms of fixed-term contracts without a mutual agreement between the parties.
The gym may change the terms of a contract valid until further notice, including the price, if it has mentioned this right and the possible grounds on which such changes can be made in the contract. However, the consumer must have a possibility to terminate the contract without additional costs before the new contract terms enter into force.
A contract clause under which the gym could one-sidedly make substantial changes to the contract can usually be considered unfair. Such changes include large price increases or, for example, a significant and permanent reduction in the provision of services.
Follow these steps if you have problems with your contract with a gym
If you have problems related to the gym’s operation or the contract, negotiate on them with the service provider.
You can use our Complaint Assistant for help.