Check your gym membership terms!

February 1, 2023

Is it a new year and time for a new you? Many of us are joining the gym, taking driving lessons, taking dance classes or booking the kids into music and drama courses. It’s important to remember that you are entering a service contract for all these familiar activities.

We enter contracts for all types of services every day. They may be written or verbal. For example, an annual gym membership is a written contract for service.

Consider how regularly you’ll use a service before you commit. You don’t want to end up paying a monthly fee to a gym you barely use!

Get the facts

You now have stronger rights under the new Consumer Rights Act 2022 (CRA). Before you agree to sign up to a contract, your service provider must give you certain information, including:

  • a full description of the service provided
  • the total cost, including VAT
  • details of any extra charges
  • information on your right to cancel

You should read through all this information and make sure you are happy with the service before you pay and sign up.

Read your terms and conditions

You are bound by the terms and conditions of a contract after you’ve agreed to it. It’s up to you to make sure you have read the terms and conditions for any service you sign up to.

If a service falls short of what’s agreed the CRA gives you a range of redress options. Read about the actions you can take.

Annual memberships

Many services such as gyms, offer an annual membership. This may mean paying for the entire year up front or agreeing to pay monthly for at least 12 months. You should read your contract carefully to make sure you aren’t committing to a service for longer than you’re comfortable with.

If you sign up online, a 14 day ‘cooling off’ period applies, during which you can cancel your membership. You will receive a full refund if you have not used the service during the first two weeks and you may receive a partial refund if you have used the service.

What if I want to cancel?

You’ve signed up full of gusto but sometimes those new year’s resolutions go out the window or your circumstances change!

Many gyms, for example, allow you to cancel your membership under certain circumstances. These particular reasons may include illness, injury, losing your job or having to move home.

Your provider is obliged legally to provide you with information about cancellation. Read through your contract carefully and ask them if you are not sure about anything.


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