The Andrews Labor Government is urging those signing up for gym memberships to read the fine print carefully and make sure they understand the costs involved before making any commitments.
With a new year comes new fitness goals for many Victorians, meaning a significant spike in the number of people signing up for gyms and fitness centres.
Consumer Affairs Victoria received more than 500 contacts regarding fitness centres or gym memberships in the last financial year.
Examples of contacts include one customer who signed up for a 12-month gym membership, only to be diagnosed with an illness that severely limited his ability to exercise. Under the contract terms, the customer was required to pay out the full-length of his membership.
While gyms and fitness centres are a great way to maintain a healthy lifestyle, consumers are encouraged to keep the following tips in mind before committing to a gym membership:
- Understand the circumstances in which you are able to cancel
- Find out how much the membership costs, including any cancellation fees
- Make sure the gym is able to meet your needs and lifestyle.
It is also important for fitness centres to remember that Victoria has strong laws that protect consumers from unfair contract terms.
Fitness centres should take care not to include any contract terms that would cause unnecessary harm to a consumer, financial or otherwise.
Gym and fitness centre members should be given the chance to read through the entire contract before joining up and should be given a copy of the completed contract for their records.
Consumer Affairs Victoria has worked with health and fitness centres to remove or modify contract terms that may be deemed unfair, including terms that result in the automatic renewal of a membership.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Consumer Affairs Marlene Kairouz
“If you decide to sign up to a gym in the new year, make sure you understand the terms and conditions and don’t be afraid to exercise your rights, as well as your body.”
“Finding the right fit in the gym is important – but make sure your contract is also the right fit.”
“Working out at the gym is a big part of staying ripped – but don’t get ripped off.”
“Those who love exercising on a treadmill need to tread carefully and read the fine print.”
Reviewed 29 June 2020