What you need to know before signing up for fitness classes
WHETHER you’re doing yoga classes or karate, the State Government is warning people to do their homework before they sign up for fitness classes.
Consumers have a number of rights to be aware of in this field and Acting Attorney-General Mick de Brenni said Queenslanders can seek useful help before signing up to a gym or sports club so they don’t get caught out with costly fees and contracts.
“With new year’s resolutions underway, more and more Queenslanders sign up to their local gyms and sporting clubs at this time of year,” he said.
“Doing your research and knowing your consumer rights will make sure that you get the best deal for your workout.”
In 2020, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) received 190 complaints from people about gym and fitness memberships with 65 per cent of those involving members who were charged after their memberships were cancelled.
Mr de Brenni said one particular consumer who was on a rollover agreement, cancelled their membership in writing due to their gym being closed because of COVID-19.
The consumer was shocked when three months later, direct debits started coming out of their bank account without their knowledge when the gym reopened.
“The consumer was told by the gym it had extended the end date of their agreement by three months,” Mr de Brenni said.
“It is illegal for a gym or fitness provider to continue taking payments without authority once a contract has ended.”
Consumers need to be aware of their obligations as well as those of the fitness provider, the State Government says.
This includes how they can end the agreement, and any associated cancellation fees.
The agreement must detail applicable fees, like ongoing membership costs, one-off administrative charges, and a fitness provider cannot offer you a prepaid agreement that has an expiry date of greater than 12 months from the date of purchase.
All membership agreements must come with a 48-hour cooling off period to provide you with peace of mind if you have second thoughts about weighing in.
The fitness provider must also give you a copy of t
he National Fitness Industry Code of Practice (the Code), for you to read if you want to. The Code sets out mandatory standards across the fitness industry that businesses supplying fitness services must adhere to.
For more information on joining a fitness centre, or to make a complaint visit www.qld.gov.au/fairtrading.