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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 49787
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I took out a gym membership back in August of last year. The

Customer Question

I took out a gym membership back in August of last year. The gym is situated close to the hospital where I work. Unfortunately, the work load I had to deal with was greater than expected and I have never used the gym. I wrote to the gym around November last year stating that I wanted to cancel the memebership due to the increased workload making attendance at the gym impossible. I got a rather negative letter back stating that the gym was open until 9pm and that I couldn't cancel the membership. Almost a year a passed and the gym has taken my membership fee every month even though I never been. Can I claim my membership back?
Many thanks
Dr ***** *****
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

When they responded to your letter, did they advise you of their cancellation policy?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
They just sent a copy of the gym membership form that I filled in prior to starting work at then new hospital.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

OK thank you, ***** ***** it with me. I am in court today so will prepare my advice during the day and get back to you at the earliest opportunity. There is no need to wait here as you will receive an email when I have responded. Thank you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for you support and advice.Dr ***** *****
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

No problem at all.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Apologies for not getting back to you sooner, I experienced some temporary connection issues and could not get back on the site until now. All appears to be resolved now so I can continue dealing with your query.

It is common for consumers to be asked to enter into a minimum (usually 12-month) contract to use the services of a gym or fitness club. Many people have tried to cancel their membership before the expiration of this term, only to be asked to pay for the remainder of their membership and threatened with debt collectors if they fail to do so.

The starting point in such situations is that the club will usually be allowed to impose this minimum membership term on its members and also demand payment for the remainder of the term in the event of early cancellation. Whilst there are certain arguments by consumers that such terms are unfair and unenforceable, as long as they have been plainly and clearly stated in the contract, rather than hidden in the small print, they would be enforceable.

There are, however, certain reasons that the consumer can use to try and cancel the contract early, without having to pay for the remainder.

One example is a breach of contract by the club. If you were specifically promised certain facilities that have not materialised and you based your decision to join on these, you could claim that the club has breached their part of the contract and as such you could treat the contract as being void.

Another example is if the club was in some ways considered to be unhygienic or unsafe. However, for that to apply it has to be more than a trivial issue.

Unless any of the above points apply, you are unfortunately likely to be bound to the terms of the membership and failure to pay could result in the club taking further action to try and recover any fees due, even if you did not attend.

This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the steps you can follow to at least try and pressure them into returning your fees, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there is no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Hello, I see you have read my response to your query. Please let me know if this has answered your original question and if you need me to discuss the next steps in more detail? In the meantime please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts from the top of the page. The question will not close and I can continue with my advice as discussed. Thank you

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Hello, do you need any further assistance or are you happy with the above response? Look forward to hearing from you.