Written by Consumer Protection BC’s enforcement department
You have decided that it’s time to get fit! You sign up at the local gym for a one year membership. The 12 month gym membership includes weight training, cardio machines, as well as unlimited yoga and spin classes. You sign a contract and pay the entire 12 month membership fee of $600. You’re eager to get into shape so you go to yoga and spin classes at least 5 times a week. After a few months, the owner of the gym tells you they will no longer offer those classes but they will still provide weight training and cardio equipment.
What would you do?
(a) Wish they still offered yoga and spin classes but you do nothing, thinking that you still have 9 months left on your contract, and you’ve already paid so there isn’t much you can do.
(b) Ask for a refund for the remaining 9 months of your contract because the gym made substantial changes in the services they provided.
(c) Demand the gym gives your $600 back so you can find another gym that offers yoga and spin classes.
(b) You can cancel your contract because the gym made a material change to the services they were providing when they stopped offering yoga and spin classes. To cancel, visit Consumer Protection BC’s website for a notice of cancellation form. You must provide the reason for the cancellation and send the notice in a manner that you can prove you sent the notice (email, fax, registered mail, in person). The law says a business must refund you within 15 days after receiving the notice of cancellation. Your refund would be $450.41. The formula for a refund is:
Portion of all cash payments = (unused services) 274 days / (total services) 365 days
When you purchase a gym membership, you are entering a type of contract called a continuing services contract. These contracts usually also apply to dance lessons, personal training, weight loss programs or self-defence classes. At Consumer Protection BC, we are responsible for regulating specific parts of these contracts – including consumer cancellation rights and what information must be in the contract.
For more information about your rights and responsibilities when it comes to gym membership contracts, please visit our blog posts related to continuing services contracts listed below.