Know your rights on fitness memberships

Press Release

It’s a new year—and many people resolve to get fit and healthy by joining a fitness club.
But before signing up for a fitness membership, the province is reminding people of their rights under the Consumer Protection Act.
Consumers have the following rights, and can use these tips, when signing up for a gym membership.
They can use a 10-day “cooling off” period to check the club, make sure the location, equipment, and programs are right for them, and ultimately change their mind after signing a contract.
They also have the option to pay monthly, which ensures consumers won’t lose more than a month’s payment if the club goes bankrupt.
If you cancel a fitness club membership, do so in writing.
By delivering the letter in person or via registered mail, you will have confirmation the club received the notice of cancellation.
Consumers also should keep a copy of their letter and registered mail receipt.
Also be sure to read the fine print! Consumers should read their fitness agreement carefully and ask questions before they sign.
Fitness clubs consistently are listed as one of the top consumer complaints of the Ministry of Consumer Services.
“A lot of people want to get in shape or stay healthy with a regular exercise program,” noted Consumer Services minister Ted McMeekin.
“Joining a fitness club is a great way to do that—but make sure you know your rights before you join one,” he warned.
Canada’s fitness industry is worth about $1.6 billion a year.
In 2005, about 4.3 million Canadians had a fitness club membership.
Complaints to the Ministry of Consumer Services about fitness clubs dropped by 16 percent in 2009.