Five Questions About: Gym membership


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The Independent Online

Don't tell me, prices are going up?

No, this is good news. The Office of Fair Trading has forced some gyms to make their membership schemes less restrictive.

Does this mean I'll be able to cancel? I haven't been since January.

The new agreement does mean you'll be able to cancel. But that doesn't mean you can just walk away from an annual subscription if you've just stopped going.

Drat. So who can cancel an annual agreement?

You can cancel a contract if your circumstances have changed so that you can no longer physically get to the gym or if you can no longer afford to pay.

So if you move out of the area, lose your job or suffer an injury, you won't have to keep paying a monthly subscription for something you can't use.

Are the new rights available at all gyms?

Not yet. For now only three major chains have signed up, Bannatyne Fitness, David Lloyd and Fitness First. But they collectively have more than a million members, so it's a great start in ensuring fairness for gym users.

What will happen next?

The OFT is continuing its investigation into other gyms and will provide an update in a few weeks. It looks almost certain that other gyms will have to fall in to line and be fit for purpose.

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