Many gym goers have endured higher fees, difficulty cancelling a contract and favourite facilities being unavailable. But while some might just shrug and accept this, Linda was determined to act…
Which? member Linda Bromley joined her local gym on a monthly contract. Her main reason was to use the pool, but it was soon out of action and became unusable for long periods.
To make matters worse, she noticed that the gym membership fee had increased by £3 a month without her knowledge.
Linda said that when she complained to the gym, it said she was on a roll-on contract, and the terms and conditions of it allowed the company to increase prices when it wanted to.
This is wrong. It can’t do this in what are called ‘standard form consumer contracts’, such as the one that Mrs Bromley had – contracts where the terms are not individually negotiated at the point of forming the contract.
Advice on gym contracts
Mrs Bromley came to Which? Legal for advice. She told us that she had never seen the terms of the contract. We advised that as she had never seen these, and hadn’t given positive consent to a rolling contract or increases without fair warning, she could challenge those terms as unfair under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contract Regulations 1999.
The gym also said it had told members about the price increases by email. Mrs Bromley said that the changes were only mentioned in one of the many marketing emails that the company had sent her. She felt that these weren’t clear and had the important information well hidden.
We advised that the only course of action was to issue proceedings in the small claims court.
The judgement went in favour of Mrs Bromley and she was awarded £283.54 to cover the money she had paid since the increase, plus expenses and court fees.
Just because a company says something is right doesn’t make it right. Have you had a similar experience to Linda, or have you not felt confident enough to fight it?