The whole thing makes you wonder if gym contracts are as hard to get out of as other contacts, but our lawyer says contracts all across the board are a pain in the ass.
“There are specific state regulations that force gyms to allow cancellations in certain circumstances (your gym may offer something more generous, which is why you want to obtain a copy if you don’t have one already). Generally, there is a very short period after you sign the membership contract that you can cancel, no questions asked. In New York, it’s three days; in California, it's five.”
So, how do you get out of it?
Assuming you haven’t broken your leg off or taken that job in Boise, how does one get out of a contract without a total shit storm?
“The path of least resistance is to speak with your manager before 'flexing' your rights (I can pun). Often, you’ll find that if you have a legitimate reason for canceling, such as disability, you’re moving, or you are seriously upset with the services offered, a manager will be willing to work with you and find a solution. Personally, I’ve found that many gyms are willing to ‘freeze’ your contract in certain circumstances.
I moved into a building with a gym for a year, froze my membership, and when I moved out, renewed it. There may be more flexibility with corporate plans as well. So, reading it at the outset can really help you if you have buyer’s remorse down the road.”
What would happen if you just stopped paying?
You heard me. What if you just...stopped paying?
“Your gym may play nice for a while and not deny you access right away. During that time, they will likely ask you to pay your overdue balance by calling or e-mailing you at the number you provided in your membership contract.”
"Debt collectors can be relentless, even if the amount due is quite small."
“If you refuse to pay (or never answer a request for payment), the gym will probably cancel your membership. It is unlikely that the gym itself will go through the trouble of suing you for the balance.”
Hey that sounds easy, but unfortunately: “They will sell your balance to a debt collector. Debt collectors can be relentless, even if the amount due is quite small.” Damn it.
Jeremy Glass is a staff writer at Supercompressor and relies on the short walk from his desk to the bathroom for exercise.
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