Gyms – no contract, no problem?

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22/12/2017 Hitting the gym for your new year's resolution? There are a few things you need to know about your no-contract gym membership!

You might be considering signing up at a gym in the new year – and, like many people, you may be drawn to a no-contract membership. When signing up to a no-contract gym membership, you might think that you’re entitled to leave at any time! This may not, however, be the case.

When you sign up, you agree to follow the gym’s terms and conditions! These terms and conditions may include a minimum term of payment (often one month), or a notice period. If you cancel your direct debit without informing the gym, they may hand over your debt to a debt collection agency. These agencies will contact you with a letter detailing the amount owed – and may often add an administration fee.

When you sign up, you agree to follow the gym’s terms and conditions!

If you receive a demand for repayment alongside an expensive administration fee, you should check the terms and conditions of the gym! The terms and conditions should have made it clear to you that your debt could be handed over to a collection agency – and that you could incur additional costs if you miss a payment. In theory, the debt collection agency should not be able to arbitrarily add penalties for late payment – this could be considered unfair.

When you want to leave a no-contract membership, you should always do so by email. This way you’ll have a record of your written notice. If you have to speak to a debt collection agency over the telephone, we advise you to keep a record of exactly what was said (and to whom it was said).

Another thing to note is that many collection agencies will automatically set up a repeat payment to allow you to continue your gym membership after you’ve paid off your debt – and put the onus on you to tell them not to!

However, it’s worth knowing that your bank is obliged to stop the payment immediately if you tell them to. You should never be trapped in a repeating membership that you don’t want.

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