Did you know when you sign up for dance classes or a fitness membership in BC, you are entering a type of contract that entitles you to certain cancellation rights? Find out how this real BC consumer exercised her rights to secure a refund from a dance studio in BC after an unexpected injury. 

Consumer story: BC consumer stays a step ahead by knowing her rights

Shaunna’s* young daughter, Maxine*, had been enrolled in dance classes at a studio in British Columbia. Shaunna had prepaid for her daughter’s annual tuition. Sadly, five weeks into classes, Maxine injured her foot and couldn’t participate.

Shaunna took her daughter to a specialist and the doctor advised that Maxine should not attend dance classes to give the injury time to heal. Shaunna contacted the dance studio, provided the doctor’s note, explained that she needed to cancel the contract and asked for a refund for the remaining months.

“The business would not accept it,” said Shaunna. “They were very resistant to me. They said they didn’t have to pay me back a penny.” Feeling frustrated, she started looking for help. Shaunna’s brother, a lawyer, suggested she reached out to Consumer Protection BC to see if they could assist her.

“[The investigator] was great,” says Shaunna. “From there, everything was very smooth.” Consumer Protection BC contacted the business and stated that because Maxine was physically unable to participate and had a doctor’s note, Shaunna was within her rights to cancel.

After much back and forth, the dance studio eventually agreed to cancel the contract and provide Shaunna with a refund of more than $1,500 for the remaining months.

When asked what advice she would give to people who are in a similar situation, Shaunna stressed the importance of contacting Consumer Protection BC for help. “Don’t go in circles with the business. In situations like this, contact Consumer Protection BC and find out what options you have.”

*Names changed to protect the privacy of the individuals involved.

Where to go for more information

If you sign up for classes that are ongoing and physical in nature, you might be entering what’s called a continuing services contract. With these contracts, you may have cancellation or refund rights if you are physically or mentally unable to participate.

If you’re dealing with a cancellation or refund issue with your gym or fitness studio, we suggest you read up on your rights and try working with the business directly to reach a solution.

If you can’t resolve the issue with your gym and the issue is captured under our laws, use our self-help tools for fitness contract cancellations. Follow the steps outlined there to resolve your issue.

Questions? Feel free to ask them in the comment section below.

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About Consumer Protection BC

We are not-for-profit regulator responsible for overseeing certain industries and specific 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 try to offer a referral to a relevant organization, if one exists. Other times, court or legal assistance may be the best option. Explore our website at www.consumerprotectionbc.ca.