Resolutions may not last but you don’t need to be lumbered with that gym contract


Well-meaning gym goers whose enthusiasm for the treadmill has waned by this point in January, are being advised that it may not be too late to terminate a contract made in haste, albeit with the best of intentions.

With estimates suggesting that at least 56% of New Year’s resolutions are never completed, January is a time when many gym memberships quickly start to gather dust. However, as Lauren Bryan from FBC Manby Bowdler’s Commercial Litigation team explains, ill-placed resolutions don’t need to be costly – so long as you act quickly.

“Gym memberships that never really get off the ground in the New Year can be cancelled so long as the consumer can meet certain criteria.

“For example, if you entered an agreement online, by phone or via mail order, you are automatically entitled to a 14-day cooling off period and this starts the day after you entered into the contract. Similarly, if a business approaches you outside of its premises and the item or service you are paying for costs over £42, you are again entitled to a 14-day cooling off period – this is particularly useful for anyone enticed to sign up to a gym membership whilst out on their lunch break!

“During this 14-day cooling off period you are entitled to your money back. However, you should be aware that if a service has been provided during that time (for example, if you’ve actually used the gym), then this refund may be discounted.”

Lauren also explains that contracts entered in to on site at the business’ premises are, however, exempt from the 14-day cooling off period and cancelling in these circumstances is very much more complicated.

But where the 14-day period does apply, notice can be served by way of a letter or over the phone, however, it is advised that this should be followed up with an email of confirmation to the person with whom you spoke.

Lauren concludes: “Of course, good intentions can sometimes last past an initial 14-day cooling off period and if you find yourself in this situation and can prove that the business failed to provide you with information regarding your right to cancel, the cancellation period may be extended up to 12 months.

“So, if you find yourself amongst the 56% of resolution setters who fail to make it to February, it’s worth checking the circumstances under which you entered in to the contract – and resolve to think before you sign on the dotted line next January!”

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