A code of conduct may have been put in place in 2016, conflicts between members and fitness clubs are still frequent and the balance of power too often in favor of the latter. We record hundreds of complaints about this every year. So, before signing your contract, follow our advice.
Unfair terms in contracts
The practice most often noted by investigators is the presence of unfair terms in subscription contracts given to the consumer: release of the professional’s responsibility in the event of accident or theft, unilateral modification by the professional of timetables, prices or services offered, impossibility for the consumer to terminate the subscription contract for health or professional reasons
Deceptive marketing practices
The main misleading commercial practices commonly noted concern the non-compliance with the conditions put forward in advertisements: services presented in advertisements but not dispensed, highlighting a promotional price when it is actually a question of offers valid all year round (the promotional offer can also be more expensive than the usual offer), attractive prices in advertisements but rarely practiced because subject to numerous restrictions, omission of registration / dossier fees on many advertisements of price, indication of a price corresponding only to the first month of subscription with for the following months an increase.
Recourse in the event of litigation
You request the termination of your subscription temporarily (health problem, pregnancy, etc.) or permanently (move, ban on practicing a sporting activity). Refer to your contract and check the clauses which authorize you to temporarily or permanently suspend your subscription. Do not take the initiative to object to the payment. The grounds for opposition are in fact strictly defined: you must pay the professional and then contest.
Look for an amicable solution
The first step to take is to find an amicable solution with the manager of the sports hall and often this is enough to settle the dispute. If no solution is found, a registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt must be sent.
If you find that the answer is not satisfactory you can have recourse to another mode of amicable settlement (mediator of consumption, conciliator of justice, etc.) indicated in the CGV (article L.211-3 of the code of consumption).
Go to Court
If you have not been able to reach an amicable solution, you can take action before the courts: In the event of refusal, by the person in charge of the fitness room, to fulfill his obligations (reimbursement, etc.) you must contact the local court (district court registry) if the amount is less or equal at € 4,000;
To the district court, if the amount ranges from € 4,001 to € 10,000.
With the introduction of containment, sports halls have closed their doors, like most “non-essential” establishments in France. Bad news for urban sportspeople, but it is still possible to ask to suspend your subscription, or take advantage of the many solutions offered by the vast majority of channels in order to compensate their members.
In a period of confinement, what can you do with your gym membership? True headache for the urban sportsmen, there are fortunately many possibilities not to stupidly lose your money. Compensation solutions, subscription suspension requests, we take stock of what is offered by the main sports hall chains in France.
And the preferred option for brands like Newness is firstly to postpone the duration of the subscription. For Basic Fit, the low-cost Dutch fitness brand, members have the choice: switch to a Premium subscription which allows you to receive gifts as well as a bag, or an outright refund and suspension of subscription. Moreover, it is precisely this latter formula that was chosen by the management of the Med Gym Clubs.
The Circles of Form, very widespread in the north of the capital, also leave the choice to their members. If you have a subscription, you can either suspend direct debits, or offer a 3-month subscription to another person, or even obtain a reduction to be spread over the months following confinement . Same formula for Fitness Park, another well-established fitness chain in Paris. The process remains the same: you access your subscribed space, or open the form sent by email to specify your choice.
Regarding independent rooms, the ideal is to contact customer service by phone, email or mail. In general, we very often find the same arrangements as those taken by large brands. Do not panic, the money will not be lost! And if your channel remains reluctant, there is always a legal way to claim it’s due. It will simply send a registered letter, highlighting paragraph 2 of article 1218 of the civil code. The law provides for the possibility of suspending a subscription, when a service is no longer honored. Or to reimburse the period during which this service was not provided. Now you know everything, it’s up to you!
Barry Lachey is a Professional Editor at Zobuz. Previously He has also worked for Moxly Sports and Network Resources “Joe Joe.” he is a graduate of the Kings College at the University of Thames Valley London. You can reach Barry via email or by phone.