After enduring years of pandemic, you may be put off by heavily touched surfaces and heavy-breathing strangers. Perhaps you have discovered the benefits of workout at home.
For whatever reason, you’ve found yourself in a classic situation: you signed a contract for an expensive gym membership and you’re not using the damn thing.
Can you get out of this commitment and save money?
Today, the answer is always the same: maybe, maybe not; certainly not without some effort and perhaps for a fee.
“Giving up a gym membership is notoriously difficult,” says David Reischer, New York City attorney and CEO of LegalAdvice.com. “Contracts are written in such a way as not to allow a person to resign without suffering a penalty. »
Ah, yes, a bit like working out. That said, there are ways to get around gym contracts, especially now. Here’s how to do it.
1. Review your contract
Go through your inbox or junk drawer for the documents you signed when you joined the gym and review each clause before continuing.
“Firstly, I suggest reading the fine print of your contract so you can see the terms and what is expected of you if you want to break it,” says Andrew Taylor, a lawyer in Sydney, Australia, founder and director of Net Lawman.
Check to see if there are any cancellation provisions. These usually include:
- If you become disabled and cannot use the gym.
- If you move a certain distance from a gym or channel (often 25 miles).
- When you give a certain number of days’ notice (usually in writing).
- If you pay cancellation fees. “Sometimes there will be a kill fee, but if you’re not using your membership for certain reasons, it will be worth getting out of it,” says Taylor.
2. Call the gym
If your membership is ironclad – or if the contract cancellation terms don’t suit you – you can call your gym and see if they will let you cancel your contract.
But according to the gym, don’t expect to bend a sympathetic ear.
If cancellation is not an option over the phone, you can suggest other solutions while you have them on the line.
3. Suggest a freeze or transfer
A potential compromise: “Try talking to gym management and see if the membership can be transferred or temporarily frozen,” says Reischer.
Gym contracts often include a provision to freeze memberships. If not, you may be able to negotiate one over the phone.
You may be able to pause billing for a monthly subscription for a period of time, usually one to six months.
Or if you have a friend or family member who is ready to take over your membership and your gym allows it, you can ask the gym to transfer the monthly fee to their credit card, or they could reimburse you for the balance of your annual prepaid account. contract.
If you choose the latter option, just do it formally through the gym; It’s not a good idea to let someone pretend to be you in a place where public nudity is common.
4. Cut them
If you have a monthly contract, you have another option: go nuclear.
“Call your credit card company to dispute the charge and avoid further charges,” says Reischer.
“Typically, someone who unilaterally cancels the contract will not be subject to prosecution, as most gyms collect enough of an upfront fee that they will not waste their time taking legal action for the remaining money owed” , he adds.
But do it at your own risk. You might find yourself blacklisted from that gym or chain in the future.
And credit card companies regularly conduct chargeback reviews; they could determine that your claim is invalid and reinstate the charges.
Your best bet is to call your gym and negotiate conscious uncoupling. Don’t be afraid to ask for terms that work for you: consumers can have leverage.
“Talk to your gym, explain the situation and your reluctance to continue your membership, and possibly put it on hold for another time, which they might be interested in – they don’t want to lose you as a customer for their own survival ,” Taylor said.