I Am Thinking About Joining a Gym, What Are My Rights?

Gyms and health clubs are regulated in Washington in order to protect members from unfair or deceptive acts. Every gym or health club is required to maintain a written list of all membership plans available through the club, including each plan’s price.

The club is not allowed to offer membership plans that are not on the list. Clubs also cannot offer special plans or discounts unless the offer is in writing and available to all prospective members. All membership agreements must be in writing.

The club must inform the prospective member in writing of his or her cancellation rights. By law a member can cancel a membership contract for the following reasons:

• For any reason within 30 days if the contract is for 1 year or longer
• If the member dies or becomes totally disabled
• If the member moves his or her permanent residence more than 25 miles from the club or affiliated club and the contract is for more than 1 year
• Up to 5 days after the club opens if the membership was purchased prior to the club commencing business.

This list is not exhaustive and there may be other reasons to cancel a membership contract. Upon cancellation, the club must provide a refund of any prepaid (unearned) membership fees within 30 days.

Douglas N. Kiger, Attorney at Law
Blado Kiger Bolan, Tacoma, Wash.

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