What to look out for in your New Year gym contract

As the year get underway, deals crop up for gym contracts everywhere. As with any contract, it is good to know what you are agreeing to before signing it, and it can be overwhelming to decide what is the best choice for you when there are so many deals available throughout January.

In this article, we help you know what to look for before signing a contract for a new gym.

Fixed term contracts

You will often receive a better offer from a gym for signing a longer contract, and although this might save you money upfront, it isn’t always the most future-proof option. However, in recent years, more protection has been offered to consumers who face changing circumstances, particularly unforeseen circumstances such as illness or losing their job.

When considering different deals and contracts, always check the minimum term the agreement will last for and if there is a fee or notice period to cancel after this. At times this term may be unfair. Below we look at the legal protections offered to you if they are unfair terms.

Breach of contract

Sometimes the gym facility will be in breach of contract, giving you the grounds to challenge them. For example, if your gym also offers access to a swimming pool, but this is closed, you could seek a reduction in fees.

Breach of contract is individual to each agreement, and the wording can offer the facility protection, which is why it is always important to review the contract before signing it. It is important to know your options if the gym breaches the contract, such as what compensation you are entitled to if any facilities were to close or be unavailable during your contract term. Just as you are liable for failing to meet your obligations, the gym are too.

Unfair terms

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 protects against unfair terms within a contract or an overall unfair contract. Before signing any contract, you should always read it carefully. If you feel there are any terms you don’t understand or contradict what you have been told, then speak with a representative at the gym to get some clarification. It is always important to fully understand a contract before signing it, and the staff should be more than happy to discuss it.

What to look out for in your new contract

Important terms to look out  for and ensure you understand include:

  • Contract renewal – Does the contract automatically renew? Will you be charged for this if you don’t cancel in time? Will you be notified before the renewal?
  • Length of contract – Is the contract fixed term, e.g. 12 months? Can you cancel the contract at any time, or is there a cancellation fee?
  • Cancelling the contract – How do you go about cancelling the contract? Is there a notice period when you are still liable to pay?
  • What is included in the contract? Sometimes a gym membership can include classes, access to a pool, sauna or other additional facilities – are these included in your cost or for an additional fee?
  • What are the remedies for a breach of contract? If all the facilities are not available to you, are you owed compensation, such as a pause in membership fees?

As with any contract, you must ensure you read it, understand it and also have a copy of the signed contract, whether this is physical or digital. Taking the time to review before you sign and ask questions on anything you are unsure of will help you step into the new year, and your new gym, with confidence.

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