Gym membership agreements are often binding and on a fixed-term basis. For this reason, you should carefully examine the terms and conditions of the agreement before signing it. Make sure to request a copy of the agreement for your perusal and read the document at your leisure. You should pay particular attention to the provisions regarding fees, suspension and cancellation. You should only sign the agreement if you can accept all terms and conditions laid down in it.
If you cannot accept the terms and conditions offered by the fitness centre, you should seek other alternatives available on the market. Nowadays, many fitness centres offer agreements without fixed-terms provisions.
Ensuring that the marketing of gym memberships and the terms and conditions of the membership agreements are in accordance with the law is the responsibility of the Consumer Ombudsman. Contact the consumer advisory services if a dispute arises and you need assistance.
Check at least the following before signing an agreement
Costs of gym membership
Check what the membership fees cover and how much you have to pay for training. You should also include in the total such items as sign-up fees and start charges. Check whether you have to pay extra for group sessions or childcare services. Remember that after signing the agreement you must pay all charges for the whole agreement period.
Duration and binding nature of a fixed-term agreement
Check whether the fitness centre requires a fixed-term agreement and how long the agreement will be in effect. Remember that you may only terminate a fixed-term agreement early in exceptional circumstances. Check the grounds for an early termination of a fixed-term agreement. Such factors as a long-term illness, moving elsewhere, pregnancy, military service or unemployment should be valid reasons for an early termination of the agreement.
Consequences of the expiry of a fixed-term agreement
Check whether the fixed-term agreement will expire automatically at the end of the agreement period. If the fixed-term agreement becomes a continuous agreement check how you can cancel the agreement and how long is the period of notice. In most cases, you can cancel your gym agreement at any time after the end of the fixed-term period. You must notify the fitness centre of your intention to end your membership. You cannot cancel the agreement simply by stopping the payment of invoices.
Grounds for suspending the agreement
Check on what grounds and on what terms you can suspend your gym membership for such reasons as illness or injury. Many fitness centres require that you present a medical certificate before you can ask for the suspension of your membership.
Right to take trial sessions or trial membership and the right to cancel the membership
Check whether you can take trial sessions or a trial membership or cancel your membership. If these options are available, you do not need to make long-term commitments and can stop using the services of the fitness centre if they do not meet your expectations. They also allow you to examine your obligations under a fixed-term agreement.
Opening hours and services offered
Check the opening hours of the fitness centre and the services it offers. Make sure that the opening hours suit you and that the training offerings are in accordance with your needs. Remember that after your have signed a binding fixed-term agreement with a fitness centre, you must pay all membership charges for the whole duration of the agreement period even if you did not use the services.
Give feedback to the fitness centre
You should give feedback on the gym agreement and training directly to the fitness centre. If there are enough people requesting options other than fixed-term agreements or better terms and conditions, the fitness centre may change its practices in accordance with customers’ wishes.