Charlotte* loves exercising and was excited to enroll in a specialized yoga practice at a local studio. She eventually agreed to purchase a $1000 year-long membership upfront and received a credit card receipt after the transaction but no contract.
When Charlotte found out that the studio was under new ownership, was offering a different type of yoga, and her membership could be transferred but that no refund would be given, she was frustrated. “The new owners weren’t offering the specialized practice of yoga I signed up for. The previous owner had other locations she offered to transfer my membership to, but they were far from my home.” Charlotte didn’t want to sue the yoga studio but she knew she wasn’t being treated fairly. On the advice of a close friend, Charlotte contacted Consumer Protection BC, which regulates elements of gym contracts.
Consumer Protection BC’s investigation into the matter revealed that Charlotte had never received a copy of the contract and hadn’t received a refund even after she provided an official notice of cancellation. Thanks to Consumer Protection BC’s involvement, the studio owner provided Charlotte with a refund of $400. Charlotte was ecstatic and very appreciative of the work provided by Consumer Protection BC. “I was just thankful that somebody helped me. I thought my money was gone.”
*Name changed to protect the privacy of the individuals involved
Interested in more information?
This is a real story of a consumer who came to us for help. The type of contract the yoga studio should have had in place is called continuing services contract. These contracts generally also apply to gym memberships, dance lessons, personal training, weight loss programs or self-defense 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 these contracts, please visit “cancelling a gym membership?” section of our website. If you are interested in reading more consumer stories, please read our 2015 Annual Report.