As the New Year begins, Ontario is reminding consumers about their rights when they join a gym or fitness club.
January is the perfect time to put healthy lifestyle goals into action. It’s also a time when gyms and fitness clubs offer tempting financial incentives like free passes and time-sensitive promotions for classes and memberships.
Before you sign a contract, make sure that the gym or facility you choose is the right fit for you:
- Hours and class times are convenient for you
- Trainers and instructors are knowledgeable
- Facilities are clean and not overcrowded.
If you’re ready to make a commitment to a gym or fitness club, remember you have consumer rights that protect you under Ontario’s Consumer Protection Act.
You have a 10-day cooling-off period
You have the right to cancel a gym membership within 10 days of receiving a written copy of your contract, without providing a reason. All you need to do is give notice to the business, preferably in writing. Use this 10-day cooling-off period to test out the facility to see if it’s right for you.
You have the option to pay monthly
You can choose to pay month-to-month instead of paying up-front for the whole year. The business can charge up to 25 per cent more for monthly payments than the total cost of the annual, up-front fee. However, monthly payments provide flexibility and convenience.
All contracts must end after a year
The gym or fitness club must send you a renewal notice between 30 and 90 days before your contract expires, listing any changes to your new contract. If you receive a renewal notice and do not respond to it, the business has the right to renew your contract. Ask about the club’s renewal policy and how you will be contacted to renew.
Protecting consumers is part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.
- The Ministry of Government and Consumer Services dealt with more than 1,110 gym and fitness club-related complaints and inquiries between 2015 and 2016. Most common topics included contract cancellations, billing disputes and the 10-day cooling-off period.
- Contracts for a gym or sports club membership or for classes such as martial arts or dance are called personal development services under the Consumer Protection Act. The rules apply where pre-payment of more than $50 is required.
- Consumer Protection Ontario is an awareness program from Ontario’s Ministry of Government and Consumer Services and other public organizations, known as administrative authorities, that promote consumer rights and public safety.