Know Your Rights Before Joining a Gym
Ontario Government Offers Tips to Consumers
The start of a New Year is a great time to put healthy lifestyle goals into action.
It’s also a time when Ontarians get inundated by time-sensitive promotions for fitness classes and gym memberships.
Before you sign a contract, make sure that the gym or facility you choose fits your expectations by checking that the:
- Hours and class times are convenient for you
- Trainers and instructors are knowledgeable
- Facilities are clean and not too crowded
If you’re ready to commit to a contract with a gym or fitness club, remember you have consumer rights that protect you under Ontario’s Consumer Protection Act.
You have a 10-day cooling-off period
You have the right to cancel a membership within 10 days of receiving a written copy of your contract. You don’t need a reason to cancel. All you need to do is give notice to the business, preferably in writing. Use this 10-day cooling-off period to test out the facility to see if it’s right for you.
You have the option to pay monthly
You can choose to pay month-to-month instead of paying up-front for the whole year. The business can charge up to 25 per cent more for monthly payments than the total cost of the annual, up-front fee. However, monthly payments provide flexibility and convenience.
All contracts must end after a year
Ask about the club’s renewal policy and how you will be contacted to renew. The gym or fitness club must send you a renewal notice between 30 and 90 days before your contract expires, listing any changes to your new contract. If you received a renewal notice and do not respond to it, the club has the right to renew and bill you under the renewed contract.
Protecting Ontario consumers is part of the government’s plan to build Ontario up. The four-part plan includes investing in people’s talents and skills, making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario’s history, creating a dynamic, innovative environment where business thrives, and building a secure retirement savings plan.
- Contracts for a gym or sports club membership or for classes such as martial arts or dance are called personal development services under the Consumer Protection Act. The rules apply where pre-payment for more than $50 is required.
- The Ministry of Government and Consumer Services dealt with over 710 gym and fitness club related complaints and inquiries in 2015, most commonly contract cancellations, billing disputes and the 10-day cooling-off period.
“Making the decision to join a gym or fitness club can be challenging when you feel pressured to sign up before a promotion ends. Consumer Protection Ontario offers resources to help you ensure you’re asking the right questions and keep you informed about your consumer rights.”