Gym membership agreements
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Pre-paid membership agreements
Under pre-paid membership agreements, you pay the full amount of the membership at the start. Pre-paid arrangements are limited to 12 months payment in advance.
Pre-paid agreements can be cheaper than other options. However, if the fitness centre goes out of business before your membership period has ended, you risk losing money.
Fitness centres cannot sell or renew a pre-paid membership if the lease on the premises expires before the end of the membership period.
Ongoing membership agreements
An ongoing membership agreement is a type of payment-by-instalment agreement that will stay in place until you take action to end it.
Generally, the agreement will require you to end the agreement in writing and 30 days notice is commonly required.
If you sign up to pay by instalments with regular deductions from your credit card or bank account, you are still under contract to continue making payments for the membership period. Therefore, make sure you are happy with the length of the agreement before signing and consider a shorter term, such as three months, if the fitness centre offers one.
On ongoing membership paid by instalments may appeal to you because of its flexibility. However, such contracts can cause disputes. The Code of Practice addresses this by requiring that:
- ongoing membership agreements contain a statement alerting consumers to the special issues involved; and
- fitness centres must respond to requests to end an ongoing membership agreement within seven days and record the request.
Amending your membership agreement
Carefully check the terms of the agreement before you sign it. It can only be changed later with the consent of both parties.
Before signing, you may cross out clauses that you consider unfair or add new clauses. For example:
- if you are planning an overseas holiday you may want to include a clause allowing you to suspend your membership for that time; or
- you may want a clause that allows you to suspend or end your membership if you become injured or sick.
Any changes or additions must be initialled and dated by you and the fitness centre representative.
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