Fitness suppliers and services
New Fitness Industry Code of Practice
The Fair Trading (Fitness Industry Code of Practice) Regulations 2020 (WA) (the Fitness Code) applies to all fitness suppliers who are carrying on the business of supplying fitness services. It is very important that members of the fitness industry in Western Australia understand and comply with the Fitness Code.
This mandatory code comes into effect on 1 July 2021 and sets out specific standards that:
- ensure there are appropriate standards of service in the fitness industry
- encourage and maintain consumer confidence in the fitness industry
- support and promote the fitness industry.
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. The WA's fitness code publication provides a detailed overview of the Fitness Code and can help businesses prepare to meet the mandatory requirements by 1 July 2021.
In the meantime businesses must observe the current interim 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
- 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
- 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.
A fitness supplier is a business or individual that provides a fitness service.
For example, a fitness supplier may be:
- an owner of a gym
- a franchisee of a fitness centre
- a person operating a business as a personal trainer
- a fitness instructor.
Suppliers of a fitness service do not include:
- registered doctors
- services provided by an educational institution exclusively for students or staff
- businesses that provide the hire of sporting facilities such as basketball courts
- martial arts schools
- dance schools
- swimming facilities that provide a swimming pool only and no other fitness service.
A fitness service can include:
- an exercise screening
- an individual exercise program
- group exercise
- the provision of exercise equipment for use by clients.
Examples of a fitness service include a 24/7 gym, an outdoor boot camp, a personal trainer or a yoga class.
Membership agreements for fitness services
If you offer your clients a membership agreement for a fitness service, it must meet the requirements outlined in the new Fitness Code as of 1 July 2021.
Membership agreement summary
A membership agreement must start with an agreement summary. This will help consumers understand the key terms and cost of the membership at a glance.
An agreement summary must include:
- a description of the fitness services you will supply
- the length of the agreement
- if the agreement is for a fixed term, when it ends
- if the agreement is an ongoing agreement, when any initial term for the agreement ends
- all fees and charges that are payable under the agreement including
- the total amount of fees and charges payable
- when each fee or charge is payable
- the service or good that each fee or charge relates to
- a statement that there is a seven-day cooling-off period during which the agreement may be cancelled
- any exclusions, limitations or restrictions on the supply of the fitness services.
Required membership agreement details
Membership agreements should be written in plain English and be easy for consumers to understand.
Agreements must include:
- the supplier’s name and address
- the supplier’s Australian Company Number (if applicable)
- the supplier’s and client’s rights and obligations
- how payments are made under the agreement
- the service, or services, you will provide under the agreement
- if the agreement is ongoing, a statement that it will continue until it is cancelled
- the date the supplier will contact the member to let them know the initial term of an ongoing agreement has ended
- details of any third party payment agreement
- the client's right to cancel, including in the cooling-off period, or for permanent illness or incapacity
- procedures for cancelling the agreement including how to do it electronically
- the date and time on which the cooling-off period starts
- the circumstances when you may terminate the agreement
- for minors (people under the age of 18), that the membership agreement must be signed by a parent or guardian.
All fees must be clearly stated and any termination fees must be fair and proportionate to the actual cost incurred by the business.
Other membership agreement details
Other information can be included in the membership agreement as long as it does not conflict with the requirements in the Fitness Code.
For example, you could include a standard clause enabling a client to suspend their membership agreement when they take a holiday.
All fitness suppliers should also know their obligations under Australian Consumer Law. See our Business rights and obligations in Western Australia page for helpful information.
Also see the following consumer pages:
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