HowTo Get Out Of Your Gym Membership Contract: Legal Reasons #11

We are now in the middle of 2016, and there are some (many of us) who signed up for gym memberships with weight loss or getting fit as our New Year’s resolution. There are really only two paths. You either use the gym or you don’t. Now if you were ambitious, you perhaps signed up for a lifetime plan or perhaps you went to a gym that even has a bar (never mind that beer is always cheaper at home), but now that monthly cost stings each time you see it on your financial statement. You have heard the horror stories of how some had to pay for years.  Although California has laws in place, it is ALWAYS a good idea to speak to the manager at your gym. More often than they can either freeze your account or based on your situation, even cancel. In general, it is a good idea to be aware of California laws.

The Contract. All gym membership contracts must be in writing, and the gym must give you a copy when you sign up. The term cannot exceed 3 years, which means lifetime contracts are not allowed. Be sure to read every part of your contract carefully before signing. If a gym representative makes you any special offers when you’re signing up, be sure they are included in your contract.

Your Right to Cancel. Even after you sign your contract, you have 5 days to cancel. You must give your notice to cancel in writing by mailing a letter to the business. The gym then has 10 days to give you a refund. If you pay more than $1500 you may have additional time to cancel. Learn more about additional cancellation times at the California Department of Consumer Affairs website:

Prior to cancelling a contract, you must be up to date on all membership fees and fees for any services you have used during that time.

Membership Fees. All fees, not including interest or finance charges, may not be more than $4,400 over the course of the contract, and a gym cannot require that you make payments for longer than the term of the contract.

If You Move. You have the right to cancel your contract at any time if you move farther than 25 miles away from the gym you signed up with, and if there is no gym available for transfer within 25 miles of your new residence.

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