Are Your Gym Membership Terms Illegal?

In a High Court case earlier this year, a sports club was taken to court by the OFT (Office of Fair Trading) and the judge held that certain terms were unfair. These included:
• Terms restricting the right of a member to terminate a 12 month or longer period even if there are good reasons for wanting to terminate – e.g. ill health
• Requiring full payment of fees for the minimum membership period if the contract is ended early
• Requiring payment even where the member had a genuine dispute about the quality of the gym.
• Threatening to report a non-paying member to the credit reference agencies in certain circumstances

The OFT has been keeping a close eye on sports clubs over the years and they have even issued a long report entitled ‘Guidance on unfair terms in health and fitness club agreements’, with warnings against using various clauses including those that try to exclude any liability of the club for death or personal injury.

This case is a recent example of the OFT flexing their muscles with a sports organisation that they felt had overstepped the mark. For the full judgment click here.

ContractStore now offers a Sports Club Membership Agreement and, as always, we have been careful to ensure our terms are both user-friendly and fair to both parties.

5 responses...

i jioned quick gym for a 3 yr membership after increasing monthly payments without informing me the gym doesn’t get cleaned on a regular basis equipment is of poor quality because pieces don’t get replaced. i have now tried to cancel membership to find i cant

We sympathise with you: too many gyms have unfair terms in their contract. You might usefully get some legal advice or you could tell the gym that you think their terms are unfair and unless they agree to you terminating the contract, you will take the matter up with the Trading Standards Authority in your area and/or the Office of Fair Trading. And have a look at the OFT website – there is information and an address to write to on this topic as they have been investigating gym membership terms.

i have tried the trading standards and i know the oft was looking into to 3yr memberships being unfair but i dont know the outcome of the courts
but thankyou for your reply i shall try your suggestions

I am blacklisted by the Gym Company from Maponya Mall. I did not even receive a membership card from Gym Company. I was approached by my friend Sizwe who told me that if I joined I can cancel anytime. Him being my friend I trusted him. I trained for a month and relocated to Boksburg. This was 2012 when I joined, now its 2015 last month when I checked my credit I saw they blacklisted me for what? They Blacklisted me for not training there anymore?. If you offer service and the person can no longer afford your service. You terminate your service to that person. I am told I owe them R7200 for not gyming with them any more. That is not only parthetic but out right robbery. This is how they make their money. Its truly sad. I will stop at nothing to expose them of their dirty tricks. We need to expose them of all they dirty tricks. Let us use social media in exposing them so that people will not fall for their tricks.

Thank you for sharing your experience. If you had a contract with them you should be able to check the terms and perhaps find a local lawyer to help you also.

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