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Gyms risk breaching unfair terms ban

Gyms risk breaching unfair terms ban
February 9, 2016

Consumer NZ is calling on fitness clubs to get their membership contracts into shape following a review of contracts that found many contained terms unfairly weighted in the gym’s favour that risk breaching the Fair Trading Act.

Highlighting that a ban on unfair terms in consumer contracts has been in place since March last year, Consumer NZ Chief Executive Sue Chetwin stated "our review found the industry has been slow to respond to the law change.

Commenting that unreasonable cancellation clauses are among terms highlighted by Consumer’s review, Chetwin added "gyms often require 30 days’ notice if you want to cancel after your minimum membership term ends (while) some even include a clause saying your cancellation won’t take effect until the gym confirms it in writing.”

The review found that some clubs also require members to use a prescribed form to cancel and that one contract reviewed stated members could only cancel by completing the club’s form at the counter, which then needs to be countersigned by the manager before taking effect.

Chetwin stated “these terms make it unnecessarily difficult to end a gym membership and we think they’re unfair.”

Consumer NZ’s review also found contracts that gave the gym broad rights to change its services or location and others that attempted to limit or exclude the gym’s liability for problems.

Chetwin sated “these terms are likely to be unfair and risk misleading consumers about their rights to reasonable standards of service under the Consumer Guarantees Act.”

Consumer NZ is encouraging gym members to complain if they’ve been given a contract they believe is unfair.

Chetwin said gym-goers should tell the gym it’s not playing fair and recommended making a complaint to the Commerce Commission, concluding “we’ve put standard letters on our website that consumers can use to lodge complaints.”

1st September 2015 - FLEXIBLE GYM CONTRACTS IMPROVE MEMBER RETENTION

25th June 2015 - MEMBERS OUT OF POCKET AFTER CLOSURE OF LIFESTYLE FITNESS CLUBS IN SYDNEY’S INNER WEST

18th March 2015 - CONSUMER NZ TARGETS GYMS AS PART OF UNFAIR CONTRACT TERMS CAMPAIGN

4th July 2014 - ACCC WARNS GYMS ABOUT ‘NO CONTRACTS’ MEMBERSHIP ADVERTISING 

11th February 2014 - IBISWORLD PREDICTS FLAT GROWTH IN FITNESS INDUSTRY THROUGH 2014 

10th January 2014 - ACCC WARNS FITNESS BUSINESSES ABOUT THE TERM 'NO CONTRACTS'

3rd January 2014 - STATE GOVERNMENTS SINGLE OUT FITNESS SECTOR FOR CONSUMER WARNINGS

29th May 2013 - NSW FAIR TRADING COMMISSIONER REMINDS CONSUMERS OF GYM MEMBERSHIP RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES 

18th June 2009 - TREADMILLS TO WARN OF INJURY RISK TO CHILDREN 


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Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at www.ausleisure.com.au is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

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