Many fitness studios are closing temporarily or moving classes online to adapt to the changes brought on by COVID-19. Find out what your rights are in these uncertain times.
These are difficult days for both businesses and consumers. Many fitness studios (gyms, yoga, martial arts, etc.) have either closed their doors for now or have tried to move classes online to video streaming platforms. If you have a membership with a fitness studio and this situation sounds familiar, here are your rights.
Your rights if your fitness studio has closed or moved to online classes:
By law, if a fitness studio has closed its doors or changed the services offered during the COVID-19 pandemic (i.e. moving classes online), consumers are within their rights to cancel their contract. This is considered a “material change” by the supplier.
So, if your gym or fitness studio has closed its doors or you’re not satisfied with online classes (if that’s an option), you are within your rights to cancel your membership.
Your first step
The first thing you should do is contact the business and find out what your options are. Many businesses are trying to be flexible and work with their customers to reach a solution. Some fitness studios may be willing to pause memberships, extend memberships to account for time lost, or extend expiry dates on things like 10 class passes. Explain your situation to them, what the laws says, and try to come to a solution together.
Before you cancel
Take some time to consider if you will eventually rejoin the studio before you cancel your contract. Keep in mind, if you decide to rejoin, you will be subject to any initiation fees or price changes set by the business at that time.
Simply put, if you cancel, expect to be treated like a brand-new customer because your previous contract would be null and void.
How to cancel your contract
To cancel your contract because the fitness studio has either closed or changed how they offer their services, print off and fill out our cancellation form and send it directly to the business in a way that allows you to get proof of delivery, like registered mail, fax or email.
Keep copies for your records and be sure to follow up with the business. It is always a good idea to confirm a contract cancellation. The law gives the business 15 days to respond.
It’s possible that the business isn’t aware of your cancellation rights. If that’s the case, you can refer them to section 1 of the Consumer Contracts Regulation (that speaks to the definition of a continuing service contract) and section 25 of the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act (that talks about cancelling a continuing services contract).
Still having trouble cancelling or getting a refund? Please contact us directly and we will do our best to help.
Let’s all be kind to each other
Remember that your fitness studio is likely trying to stay afloat and attempting to continue to provide a service to their valued customers. With this in mind, while you have the right to cancel, please remember to be kind with the business owner if you decide that cancelling is the best thing for you.
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Where do we fit in?
Yes, we are a provincial regulator. We are responsible for some very specific transactions in BC. We aren’t experts on COVID-19. We won’t – and shouldn’t – ever give medical or legal advice. But we are in a unique circumstance right now and we want to help people navigate the current reality. We don’t have all the answers, but we will do our best to share information from reliable sources, put it in ways that are easy to digest and understand, provide referrals and help you navigate this situation.
About Consumer Protection BC:
We are responsible for regulating specific industries and certain consumer transactions in British Columbia. If your concern is captured under the laws we enforce, we will use the tools at our disposal to assist you. If we can’t help you directly, we will be happy to provide you with as much information as possible. Depending on your concern, another organization may be the ones to speak to; other times, court or legal assistance may be the best option. Explore our website at www.consumerprotectionbc.ca.