/ Health

Joined a gym this January? What if you want to cancel?

Treadmills in gym

January is traditionally the key time for signing up to a gym membership – but do you know what you are signing up to and how you could cancel if your circumstances change?

When January arrives I can hardly get near the treadmills at my gym. No, not because I have eaten too many mince pies over Christmas, but because they are taken over by new members that have signed their contracts in January. But before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you know your gym contract rights – as they may surprise you.

For example, did you know that if you went into your gym and signed up, but changed your mind when you got home, you don’t have an automatic right to cancel your membership?

Gym contracts in need of a workout

Our survey revealed that an increase in membership fees was one of the top reasons people wanted to cancel – but you also can’t necessarily cancel if your gym puts up its prices.

Although, don’t worry, this doesn’t mean your gym can charge whatever they like. Any clause that allowed a major price increase, but didn’t allow you to end the membership, could be construed as unfair.

Our new research has revealed some of the problems people are having with cancelling their contract – have you experienced any of them?

Before you start to think of this debate as a great excuse to stay on the sofa rather than sign a gym contract – it’s not all doom and gloom.

Exercising your rights

A High Court ruling in 2011 opened the door to the argument that contracts over one year could potentially be challenged as unfair.

Fallen ill or lost your job? You’ll also be pleased to hear that an Office of Fair Trading (OFT) investigation in 2013 secured commitments for extended member rights. This included the chance to cancel your contract early should your circumstances change in a way that makes attendance at the gym difficult or unaffordable.

The gym groups themselves also committed to greater transparency about key membership features, including initial membership periods and cancellation rights, and for those to be provided upfront as part of the sales process.

Have you ever tried to cancel your gym contract or has the commitment of a contract put you off signing up?

Richard Brown says:
24 January 2014

There is more than one way to skin a cat. If your gym won’t let you cancel, then max out on the member benefits to make sure you still get good value, even if you never go. http://www.imemberapp.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/getting-your-gym-membership-fee-back.html

Steve Gardner says:
14 February 2014

I attempted to cancel family David Lloyd membership on 9 January and was told that need to pay up to 30 April. This is approx £600.

They show no interest in negotiation. Just want money and threaten debt collection agencies.

Alex Milne says:
28 May 2019

Hello – I am wondering about my rights to terminate a contract with a gym where the level of service has not met what was promised. There have been continual problems with the equipment and it took 3 months for my membership to be set up properly. Am I right that under EU, and UK, law if a retailer is unable to provide the quality and performance normal in products of the same type, the consumer is within their rights to cancel the contract?

Gillian says:
18 May 2021

We are members of David Lloyd and at the end of the first lockdown the time where the gym was closed was refunded to us via guest passes / meal vouchers. This time our money from the direct debit for December has not been refunded and there has been no communication about how the gym plans on refunding the week from Christmas Eve to the new year where the direct debit covered payment. I have messaged membership. Requested a call back and asked at the front desk but no response. Am I the only one who wants the 1 week membership for our family of 4 Platinum members refunded?