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QLD Gym Membership - Can I Cancel?

Discussion in 'Australian Consumer Law Forum' started by shae, 10 December 2014.

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  1. shae

    shae Member

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    Need help!
    So I have a 15 month membership with Go Gym. I recently called them to put my membership on hold because my partner lost his job and we couldn't afford it. The lady said that was fine and they put it on hold.
    Anyway, I decided I would see if I could cancel the membership because I don't go anymore, so I rang and spoke to a guy and he told me if I wanted to cancel, I would have to pay the remainder fee of my membership which is around $1500 (I pay $50 a fortnight for membership). But then he told me that I was locked into a contract and that I couldn't cancel.

    When I signed up to the gym, the lady who signed me up said nothing about being locked into a contract and she even told me if I wanted to change it I could, I never received a copy of a contract, or anything like that. All I got was a piece of paper that says membership agreement and direct debit request service agreement which has terms and conditions on the back, my details, the fees and payments, bank account details and a part at the bottom where all the signatures should be. Her name is there but I haven't signed any of it.

    Does that mean they have a copy that does have signatures or would it be the same?
    Is there a way to cancel the contract without paying so much?
    And if I wasn't informed I was being locked into a contract, is it still legal under contract law?

    It's putting a lot of stress on me because I don't know what to do, we literally cant afford it anymore
     
  2. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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  3. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

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    Hi Shae,

    I would request that the gym provide you with a copy of your contract. That way you can see whether you actually signed an agreement or not and read all the terms yourself. You may be able to find an out for yourself. If you did not sign a copy of the agreement at the time you signed up, it won't simply mean there is no agreement between you, however it will mean that any terms that were not brought to your attention and you didn't know about may not be enforceable. Once you sign something you are taken to agree to it no matter whether or not you read it. That's the risk you take if you don't read a contract before signing it.

    Gym memberships are much like phone contracts now - there will be a minimum membership period, after which you are able to stop. And you are unable to cancel without paying out the contract. I don't know whether this would be considered "unfair" at law - or whether you would succeed in having a court overturning it. However, you can always write them a letter stating that you believe the term is unfair and that you are going to fight it further and explaining your inability to pay and why you consider it to be unfair - based on the information cited on the page Rod referenced above. Otherwise you may wish to try to negotiate a settlement with them - i.e. offer to pay them 6 months worth of membership fees, otherwise you will fight it all the way to court. They may wish to cut their losses and accept it, or they may simply turn it over to a debt collector to pursue you. In my experience gym's are pretty cut throat with this type of thing cause it happens all the time.

    Let us know what you find out, once you have a copy of the contract.
     
  4. DennisD

    DennisD Well-Known Member

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    Yes first read carefully your contract, as Sophea suggests

    Second, please review this thread, which was in response to a LawAnswers user who wished to cancel her gym contract in NSW (noted that you are in Qld, however you can still use this argument). The thread is partly extracted below:

    *****

    "If the terms overleaf are especially onerous, these might amount to unfair contract terms. The Australian Consumer Law (the ACL, which is set out in Schedule 2 to the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth)) includes provisions which deal with unfair contract terms in consumer contracts

    Your query indicates that you are in NSW [or in your case shae, Qld], however since the ACL applies nationally it's still worth looking at the Consumer Affairs Victoria detailed information on 'Examples of unfair terms in health and fitness contracts' (goo.gl/GF4nCK). You can scroll down to 'Terms that penalise consumers for terminating memberships' and see if the relevant clause in your contract mirrors any of these examples"

    *****

    Note that the website describes unfair contract terms as those which are
    • not reasonably necessary to protect the business
    • would cause detriment (financial or otherwise) to a consumer

    How many months remain on your 15th month contract (let's say, X)? You might ask the gym, 'how can X months payment be reasonably considered as appropriate to protect the legitimate business interests of the gym?'

    That's a lot of information to take in. Let us know if you'd like us to go over it again. And keep us updated on your progress please!

    Get on the phone to the gym and let us know how it goes
     

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