Guidelines for Gyms and Fitness Clubs
9. Notice periods and automatic extension of contracts
The next group of terms covered by the Regulations are identified at Schedule 3 paragraphs (g) and (h).
Both of these terms relate to the potential unfairness in the context of notice periods.
Paragraph (g) is concerned with the potential unfairness of terms that enable gyms to terminate a contract of indefinite length without reasonable notice, unless there are serious grounds for doing so.
Paragraph (h) is concerned with consumers being obliged to give unreasonably early notice of the fact that they do not wish to extend a contract of fixed duration.
Termination without reasonable notice by the gym
Terms in contracts of an indefinite duration that give unlimited discretion to a gym to cancel without notice are likely to be considered unfair.
However, terms that restrict the right to terminate to circumstances that amount to "serious grounds" for immediate cancellation are unlikely to have the potential for unfairness.
On the other hand, "serious grounds" for termination are not required where the gym gives reasonable notice of termination.
Automatic renewals/extensions and early notice to cancel fixed term or minimum term contracts
A term in a fixed period contract is likely to be considered unfair if it has the effect of extending the contract in the absence of an unreasonably early cancellation notification or notice period to be performed by the member.
If members are required to make a cancellation decision too far in advance, they are liable either to forget to do so at the required time, or not be in a position to make an informed judgement on their future needs.
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