Do You Know How to Properly Cancel a Gym Membership?

by Miranda Marquit · 1 comment

Even though you don’t need a gym membership to get fit, many people find themselves signing up near the beginning of the year. With New Year resolutions fresh in your mind, and with great deals being offered by various gyms, it’s fairly common to see a rush to join.

At first, it seems ideal: You pay a small fee to join a gym, and you get access to equipment, and maybe a little motivation (you are paying, after all). On top of that, you might receive free personal training sessions and other perks at the gym. Unfortunately, once you sign up, it can be hard to get out of that gym contract.

Terms of Your Gym Membership

First of all, you need to know the terms of your gym membership. How long does the contract last? Many gym contracts last between six months and a year. Next, though, you need to be aware of how long the special rate lasts, and the terms of your perks. Your special rate might only last for three months — and then you have to pay full price until the rest of your contract is up. Additionally, you might sign up for your two free personal training sessions, but does taking advantage of them automatically put you on the hook for full-price training sessions?

Read the fine print. In many cases, you have to authorize automatic debit in order to get the discounts. Once you do that, the fine print indicates that when your perks are over, and when the promo rate ends, your automatic debit amount automatically changes to reflect the regular rate. You usually have to jump through a few hoops to have the automatic debit ended.

Canceling Your Gym Membership

Next, you need to know how to cancel your gym membership. Just because the contract is up doesn’t mean that your gym membership is done. In most cases, you actually have to fill out formal paperwork to cancel your membership. Some gyms require you to come in and do it in person (gives them a chance to pressure you into keeping your membership, and maybe dangling a discount or more perks). Others require you to send a special form to the company headquarters.

If you don’t cancel your gym membership properly (and just calling in is rarely enough), your account might continue to be debited. And you might have a hard time getting your money back. When you sign your gym contract, read it carefully, especially the cancellation policies. Make sure that you understand them, and that you follow them to the letter. If you have to mail something in somewhere, pay the money to send the form Certified mail so that you know it arrived. This is important if you want proof that you have sent the form. Keep a copy of the form for yourself as well.

Bottom Line

If you want to save money this year, a gym membership might not be the best way — even with great discounts. There are plenty of ways to get fit on your own, and gym membership contracts can be hard to get out of. If you do sign up for a gym membership special, make sure to read the fine print.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jared82ca February 24, 2013 at 5:56 am

I belonged to one gym or another for a good number of years. (I had to change membership when I moved, not because of dissatisfaction.) I found that some gyms will give an additional discount on top of their current promotion when I paid cash in full up front. Some might pay the sales tax on your membership for you (still a significant amount) while others may give a flat 10% or so off the total. Either way, I didn’t have to worry about money being in the account on the EFT date, and I didn’t have to worry about canceling the membership when the term was over. I could renew, if I wanted to, but the gym couldn’t hold me to anything because I had already paid in full. Of course, this is not a good idea for someone that is hesitant about the gym he or she is joining, but for others, it can be an opportunity to save even more money. By the way, this option is not usually advertised or promoted–you have to ask for it. Even if you don’t get a better deal, you’ve lost nothing by asking.

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