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Gym contracts in better shape for your rights

OFT secures gym contract improvements


An OFT investigation has secured customers better rights with their gym contracts, including cancellation rights if the customer’s circumstances have changed – for example, if they lose their job.

The agreement is with health and fitness club operators LA Fitness and Dave Whelan Sports (DWS), and gym management company Harlands Group, who collectively manage 900,000 customer contracts. 

This follows agreements in March 2013 with Bannatyne Fitness Limited, David Lloyd Leisure Limited and Fitness First Clubs Limited, which have almost a million members between them.   

The OFT is also writing to 20 other health and fitness operators today, highlighting contract terms which could be considered unfair, and advising them to review their contract terms.

If you have problems with your gym contract, see our advice guide to find out whether you can cancel.

Gym contract terms

The commitments from LA Fitness, DWS and Harlands Group include:

  • Extended rights for members to cancel their contracts early should their circumstances change in a way that makes attendance at the gym difficult or unaffordable – such as job loss or injury
  • A commitment not to describe membership as being of a fixed duration, if the contract automatically continues on a rolling basis after the initial membership period has expired
  • Greater transparency about key membership features, including initial membership periods and cancellation rights, and for those to be provided upfront as part of the sales process.

These echo the agreements made earlier this year with Bannatyne Fitness Limited, David Lloyd Leisure Limited and Fitness First Clubs Limited.

Gym contract traps

You should always think carefully before signing on the dotted line – remember a gym contract is a legally binding document.

Make sure you’re aware of any minimum terms before you start a contract, and any notice periods you may need to give to cancel.

See our guide for more information on your rights with cancelling gym contracts.

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