Two of Britain's biggeset gym chains today agreed to make their contracts clearer and give customers more rights to cancel their membership, after an investigation by the consumer watchdog the Office of Fair Trading.
LA Fitness and Dave Whelan Sports, which between them have more than 500,000 customers, along with Harlands, a group which handles 900,000 gym contracts, has made undertakings to the OFT which allow customers to cancel if they lose their job or suffer an illness or injury.
Cavendish Elithorn, OFT director, said: “Millions of gym members now have better contract terms, including improved cancellation rights that prevent them being unfairly locked in if their circumstances change. This should be a warning to the rest of the industry that we will not hesitate to take action where we find consumers being treated unfairly.”
Similar undertakings were made by Bannatyne Health & Fitness, David Lloyd Leisure and Fitness First earlier this year following a two-year investigation by the OFT.
Elithorn said: “Anyone joining a gym or health club should carefully consider the contract terms before signing up. Consumers should shop around and ask questions. Alarm bells should ring if gyms are not clear and upfront about terms and conditions, including the length of the contract and cancellation rights. If consumers are told something that is not in the terms and conditions, they should ask for written confirmation.”