Check Conditions Before You Exercise

Photo: Fitness First Germany | Although the training fee may not be high, the total price will be high when the entry fee and start-up fees are added

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Each year, the Consumer Council receives
complaints about service at local gyms, or help inquiry from the people who
want out of the training agreement they signed under New Year’s Resolutions
pressure. The council therefore warns against a contractual stretch.

“Check the contract carefully when you join
a gym,” says Ingeborg Flønes , director of consumer service at the Consumer
Council. You only have the right to cancel if you sign the agreement on the
streets, or over the Internet. Doing it at the counter, you may be trapped.

Flønes adds that the fitness center is the
strong party, and you have little to say most of the time. It is therefore very
important to look through the contract before you sign it.

Check
the total price

“Although the training fee may not be high,
the total price will be high when the entry fee and start-up fees are added.
Examine, therefore, what is the total amount you must pay,” says the director.

Price lists shall be posted in the gym, but
you can find them on the training center’s website. Flønes also notes that some
fitness centers require customers to make an automatic payment agreement. In
this way, the fitness center gets money automatically from the clients’
account.

Lock
in period?

“Check if there is a minimum period of
membership, and how long it is. Otherwise you may need to pay for a gym
membership in another part of the country if you were to move soon after the
signing the agreement,” says Ingeborg Flønes.

“Consumers often face binding hours,
especially in connection with training facilities, but nothing is free. The
guidelines recommended by the Consumer Ombudsman proposes that lock-in period
shall not be longer than one year, but it is not illegal to require a longer
time, so be careful what you sign on,” adds Flønes.

Also, it is important to check whether you
need to do something actively to opt out. Most training contracts will be
converted into an ongoing agreement after the lock-in period has expired.

Can
agreement be frozen?

It might be nice to be able to freeze the
agreement due to injury or some other reason. Freezing means that you do not
have to pay for membership, while waiting to get better. It is a fairly common
condition to be included in the agreement. Flønes reminds that many gyms may require
you to present a sick leave document to freeze membership. In other words, do
not come later and require money to be repaid.

Termination
rules

“It can often be difficult to cancel a gym
contract. It is recommended to have a notice period of one month, but often it
is three months,” says the director.

Always check the notice period in your
contract, and how to terminate it. Although there is no requirement for written
notice, it is wise to send an e-mail as evidence. It may turn out to be a cheap
insurance policy for not having to pay extra.

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