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You made a commitment to yourself to get into shape and improve your overall health, and one of the ways that you planned to do that is to exercise on a regular basis. Among other new habits you’ve adopted, joining a gym seemed to be the best way to do that. Gyms have all the equipment you need to strengthen your body and get it into top form, and the fact that you’re paying for a gym membership from month to month seemed like a great way to keep you motivated to go regularly.

But circumstances may have changed for you. Maybe you’ve moved and are not close to the gym that you joined any longer. Or maybe your fitness routine has changed, or perhaps you’ve decided to set up a gym at home. Or maybe you’re just not happy with the type of service you’re getting at your gym.

Whatever the case may be, you’ve considered breaking your membership. The thing is, it can sometimes be hard to cancel your contract. If you’ve tried to get out of your membership but are having a tough go at it, we have the advice you need.

Why Are Gym Contracts Notoriously Hard To Cancel?

Like any other contract, your gym membership contract is a legally binding document. As long as all terms included in the contract are legitimate and are complied with by all parties, you are bound to it until it expires. 

Since you’ve agreed to the terms of the contract by signing it, it may be a bit of a challenge to get out of it. That said, you’re allowed to get out of it if you take the appropriate steps as outlined in the document.

Even still, there are so many hurdles that have to be jumped over in order to nullify the deal. Generally speaking, these contracts can’t just be conveniently cancelled via the internet. You typically would have to visit the centre in person and speak with the manager. Sometimes you may need to give a certain amount of notice and even schedule an in-person meeting. Then, you’ll probably have to complete a cancellation form and pay a cancellation fee for breaking your contract early.

Think about it from the perspective of the gym owners: if these contracts were so easy to break, they’d probably lose a lot of business. Plus, they would inadvertently be asking for far more administrative work than they’d care for. As such, gyms tend to enforce these contracts as much as possible and make it a bit of a burden to cancel them. 

Want to get fit on a budget? Check out this article.

The Best Ways To Get Out Of Your Gym Membership

If you are looking to cancel your gym membership, consider the following steps. 

Get a copy of your contract. If you don’t have a copy, request a copy of your contract from the gym. Once you get it, look over all the terms to see what your obligations are regarding cancelling your membership. These types of contracts should include terms to cancel the membership, whether it’s on the part of the gym-goer or the gym itself. 

Send a formal request to have your gym membership cancelled. Write a letter to the gym manager requesting your desire to cancel your membership. Having it in writing and ensuring that they’ve acknowledged receipt of your formal letter will help avoid any misunderstandings. In the letter, clearly state your desire to cancel, why you want to cancel, the terms of your cancellation, and the exact date when you want your membership cancelled. 

Send a notarized letter of cancellation request if required. Some gyms may require that a letter of cancellation be notarized by a legal representative. If so, make sure to visit a lawyer and have your letter notarized before you submit it to the gym. 

Put a hold on your membership. If you only want to temporarily cancel your gym membership – whether it’s to go on holidays or because you’re unable to work out for whatever reason – request that the gym put a freeze on your contract.

Notify your credit card issuer of any ongoing monthly membership payments. If your gym membership fees are being deducted from your credit card, contact your credit card issuer to dispute any ongoing charges if the gym continues to charge your card even after you’ve formally requested a cancellation. You may even want to be proactive and notify the credit card issuer of your intent to cancel your membership so that such charges may be blocked in case the gym decides to try to charge your card after the fact. 

What Happens If I Just Stop Paying My Gym Membership? 

Since you’ve entered into a legally binding contract with the gym, you are obligated to carry out your end of the bargain and adhere to the terms of the contract, and that includes making your payments on time every month. You cannot just arbitrarily stop making your payments even if you want to get out of the contract. You’ll need to take the above steps first before any payments to your gym stop.

Your Account May Be Send To Collections

If you fail to make your payments to the gym, you might be setting yourself up to be harassed by collection agencies. The gym has the option to send your past-due account to a collections agency to try and get you to pay. Not only is this a nuisance for you, but you could also see your credit score will take a hit as a result of missed payments. 

The odd thing is, your gym membership payments are not being reported to the credit bureaus, so you won’t be rewarded with a positive impact on your credit score for making timely payments. But at the same time, any missed payments will be reported to the credit bureaus, and your credit score could be negatively impacted as a result. 

Learn all about the debt collection process in Canada, click here.

So, what happens if you stop making payments and a collection agency is sent after you?

For starters, make sure that the debt collector is legitimate and has all the right information. You don’t want to be dealing with anyone who is not a legitimate source. 

If your gym membership account was sent to a collections agency as a result of ceased payments, consider contacting your gym and paying your bills in full. In the meantime, request that your payments be reported to the credit bureaus as well as when your account is paid in full. 

The Bottom Line 

Make sure you are well aware of all the terms of any contract that you sign, including a gym membership. If you wish to cancel your membership, make sure to follow the rules stipulated in your contract. Make good on any payments that are due, and formally request a cancellation with the gym in order to get out of it.

Lisa Rennie avatar on Loans Canada
Lisa Rennie

Lisa has been working as a personal finance writer for more than a decade, creating unique content that helps to educate Canadian consumers in the realms of real estate, mortgages, investing and financial health. For years, she held her real estate license in Toronto, Ontario before giving it up to pursue writing within this realm and related niches. Lisa is very serious about smart money management and helping others do the same.

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