Getting out of your gym contract

 

By Garry Hertzberg, practising Attorney at Dewey Hertzberg Levy Attorneys and presenter of The Laws of Life on Cliffcentral.com

Read also: Teach your kids how to love

SUMMER is coming – this is the season of well-intentioned people getting their bodies ready to show off on the beach, and gym membership suddenly looks like a good idea.

The gym deal on offer looks great and per visit, it seems very affordable. It happens from time to time that these good intentions don’t work out – a resolution to start going to gym at least twice a week becomes once a week, and before you know it you’re paying a subscription for a service you rarely use.

Read also: Write your will, and more, for free

What then? You’ve signed up for 24 months and just a few months later you realise your mistake. In an attempt to get out of it, you cancel the debit order and now there is outstanding money. These were the facts of a case that came before the Consumer Ombudsman quite recently.

In this case, the consumer had actually signed a 36-month contract at R200 per month and tried to cancel after three months. The gym wanted him to pay his outstanding fees that he had withheld and half of the balance of the contract as a penalty totalling about R4 500. They based this on a penalty clause in the contract itself.

Straight away the Ombudsman could see two problems in terms of the Consumer Protections Act. Firstly, the maximum period for a fixed term contract is 24 months. The second issue, which was clear to the Ombudsman, was that the gym could not rely on the cancellation penalty as written in the contract. A cancellation penalty has to be fair and must take various factors into consideration, which can only be known at the time of cancellation.

In the end, the Ombudsman recommended a total cancellation fee of R1 100, made up of his outstanding fees and a small token penalty. The Ombudsman said a consumer should be able to escape a gym contract with relative ease and without excessive penalties being imposed.

The consumer just has to give his 20 days’ notice in writing and pay a reasonable cancellation penalty with respect to any goods supplied, services provided, or discounts granted.

find your
dream home

looking for an
affordable
apartment

List your Property

It's easy in only three
simple steps...

find professional
services in
your area

Locate a business
operating in
your area

List your Business

Want more customers? They're online right now, searching for businesses like yours. Place your ad now...

Latest News

northsider_2015northcliff_2015getitlooklocal.co.zaAutodealer.co.zaLeisure-Options
Top
Recommended Story
108 Dance Movement hosts its annual fest in Randburg

Thanx for your referral. We have no doubt your friends will love our newsletter as much as you!

Don't forget to verify your email.

SUBSCRIBE
to our free NEWSLETTER
!
SUBSCRIBE to our FREE newsletter.




SELECT your titles:

Alex News
City Buzz
Fourways Review
Joburg East Express
Midrand Reporter
North Eastern Tribune
Northcliff Melville Times
Randburg Sun
Roodepoort Northsider
Rosebank Killarney Gazette
Sandton Chronicle


Your details:


Your friends:

I didn't sign up for this
I'd like to see and read more... (Please indicate in comments section below)
I'm relocating (Please indicate where to)
Other