Fitness services Code of Practice

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New Fitness Industry Code of Practice 

The Fair Trading (Fitness Industry Code of Practice) Regulations 2020 (WA) that contain the new Fitness Industry Code were published on 29 September 2020.

This mandatory code comes into effect on 1 July 2021.

Due to the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the transition period is lengthy to give businesses time to adjust and prepare for the changes. In the meantime businesses must observe the current interim code.

Review of the previous code

The Fitness Industry Code has been updated as a result of the final report of the review of the previous Fitness Industry Code. The review found that the Fitness Industry Code was supported by industry and consumers, but should be updated due to considerable changes in the industry. For example, there has been growth in fitness services conducted outside of traditional gym facilities.

The updates in the new code are a response to the industry evolving and the need to address changes, including the concerns of non-traditional fitness services such as boot camps and online-only classes and the increasing use of electronic communications. 

Key changes

The key changes made in the new code include:

  • consistent application of the code across the entire industry;
  • greater transparency in membership agreements;
  • improving how fees must be disclosed; 
  • changes to cancellation processes;
  • extending the cooling off period to seven days; and
  • addressing the impact  that  e-commerce has had on the fitness industry.

Benefits

The new code benefits both business operators and consumers in that it: 

  • allows businesses to reduce their costs by supporting the use of electronic membership agreements and email communications;
  • clarifies the required content and layout of membership agreements;
  • provides guidance for industry and assists consumers to understand their fees and responsibilities;
  • recognises that membership agreements may be offered to clients outside of traditional fitness centres; and
  • simplifies the cancellation process by allowing for electronic notification and immediate cancellation of direct debit arrangements. 

Key points for consumers

Once the new laws commence, changes to the code will give consumers: 

  • an easier way to compare providers by introducing a requirement for publication of services and fees;
  • more straightforward and clearer membership agreements and fees;
  • an easier cancellation process – consumers will be able to cancel online; and
  • a longer a cooling off period, which means consumers will be able cancel a contract within seven working days of signing up. 

Tips for consumers 

You should not sign a fitness contract if you feel pressured or are unsure what you are committing to.

Contact Consumer Protection on 1300 304 054 if you are concerned that a gym or fitness provider is not following the code.

Current interim code

The current interim code continues to apply until 1 July 2021.  It places requirements on fitness businesses and other businesses that supply fitness services, such as gyms, personal trainers, and aerobics and aqua aerobics instructors.

For all such businesses, false and misleading statements are prohibited in respect to:

  • fees charged;
  • all sales advertising; and
  • membership of, or endorsement by, any organisation or association.

In addition, fitness service suppliers must:

  • make information available so that clients can make informed choices;
  • have a copy of the code for clients or potential clients to read; and
  • not disclose information about a client unless required by law or with the client's permission.

See the Fitness industry: guide to the code of practice publication for more information. Note: this publication is under review and will be updated to reflect the new code. 

For further information or enquiries, contact Consumer Protection on 1300 304 054 or by email.

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