Gym Membership Advice

For years, the OFT have been keeping a close eye on health and fitness clubs with specific reference to the fairness of their gym membership contracts. Typically, consumers have been required to sign agreements which commits them to a 12 month minimum term, which absolutely ties them in to making the monthly payments for that period. Many consumers have complained that gyms will not release you from this obligation under any circumstances, even in cases of serious illness, redundancy or relocation. Other complaints relate to long notice periods for cancellation and disproportionately high cancellation penalties.

The OFT have focused on the following aspects of contracts for gym membership:

  • Claims that gyms will not be liable for death or personal injury, or for loss or damage to property
  • Lack of clarity concerning minimum membership periods and notice required for cancellation
  • Lack of clarity concerning cancellation charges, or the consequences of cancellation
  • Clubs permitting themselves to make changes to their service agreements with you

In addition, the OFT felt that many of the obligations and requirements of the consumer were hidden within complex legal language when they should have been more plainly and clearly expressed. And while gyms could be allowed to impose an initial 12 month minimum term, consumers should be in no doubt on reading the contract that this would be the case. What about long notice periods for cancellation? A three month period is commonly the length of time required, which may seem unfair as it then ties you into a further 3 monthly payments. The OFT recognise that gyms also need to protect themselves from sudden cancellation and don’t consider 3 months to be excessive where you have a ‘rolling’ membership (i.e. not a minimum term contract). However, as with the imposition of a minimum term, this must be plainly and clearly expressed in the contract.

So what is an unfair term and what just bad customer service? We have seen that some of the points above, although dubious are not necessarily unlawful. However, the following are are unfair terms and have been recognised as such as a result of the OFT’s investigation:

  1. Limiting or excluding liability for death or injury, or for damage or theft of property (includes ‘at your own risk’ disclaimers)
  2. Excluding liability for any breach of contract on the club’s part, even though you are obliged to fulfil your contractual obligations
  3. Limiting your ability to take legal action against the club if they don’t comply with their contractual obligations
  4. Excluding certain statutory rights such as your right to get a refund if the club is unhygeinic or unsafe
  5. Financial penalties on cancellation, where this sum is disproportionately high. Loss of all monies paid in advance may also be unfair, where this cannot be justified by the gym
  6. Allowing the gym to terminate or cancel the agreement without reasonable notice, legitimate cause (as per contract), and giving you the same rights.
  7. An initial minimum term is permissible, but where this includes an automatic renewal to another fixed term, this is likely to be unfair. Similarly, automatic renewal without giving you reasonable opportunity to cancel is unfair.

In addition to the identification of unfair clauses, the OFT recognise that you may not have had the opportunity or the know how to read and fully understand the contract you are asked to sign. Consequently, contracts are required to be written in plain and intelligible language with a prominent warning that the member should read and understand the terms before signing them.

Take Care!

Despite the interest of the OFT, the situation still calls for buyer beware, and care should be taken before entering into such agreements. Bear in mind the following points, because there is no cooling off period!

  • Take the time to read through the Ts and Cs. Take it away if necessary – it is your right to have reasonable opportunity to familiarise yourself with the contractual terms before signing.
  • Take particular note of clauses in relation to tie-ins, notice periods and cancellation penalties. Do not mistake the notice period for cancellation with the length of the contract.
  • If the contract contains clauses which refer to automatic membership renewal, ask for this to be removed, or make a note of the date by which you should inform them.
  • By law, the contract must be presented in simple, jargon-free language. if you are unsure about anything ask for full clarification
  • A contract is a two-way process. Don’t be afraid to ask certain clauses to be struck out if they seem unreasonable or you are not happy.
  • Take extra care with introductory offers and special deals. Clubs may waive their joining fee but still charge you the equivalent as an ‘admin’ fee. Always read the small print.

Leave a Comment

170 comments… add one
  • Andrew 17 December, 2:03 pm


    My wife signed up to a 12 month gym membership. After the 12 month period had ended, we wrote to the company to cancel the membership and subsequently cancelled the direct debit.

    Upon receipt of a number of letters from the gym threatening the appearance of debt management companies, I noticed a clause in the contract stating that “It is deemed that notice has not been given unless you are in receipt of a confirmation letter from the club”.

    Is this legal?

    Surely, this is a means by which gyms can simply keep the money rolling in by not responding to letters that customers have sent requestsing an end to their membership???

  • Catriona 22 December, 11:40 pm

    Andrew, I would argue this is an unfair term. Are they saying your letter got lost in the post? How convenient. I agree entirely with what you say in your last paragraph. There is a real crackdown on unfair selling practices and threatening behaviour such as this. See:


    Consult Consumer Direct to get confirmation that this is an unfair term and then you can instruct the club not to communicate any further with you.

  • Alex 13 January, 2:33 pm

    I am in a similar situation as Andrew. My contract ended in Dec 2007 and I didn’t sign a new one, I sent a termination letter in August 2008 and come October I was still paying for a gym I didn’t go to so I cancelled my DD and called them. I was told I had a signed contract (which I didn’t) and they had received no letter and the only way I could prove it and leave is if I had record of posting it, which I don’t have as it was sent 1st class post.

    I have no received several threatening letters and even one from solicitors. This has now gone from £30 owed to £77 to £142 for’ legal fees’.

    Does anyone have any advise on this? I am 22 with a new house to pay for and cannot afford to have debt collectors after me

    • Anon 28 January, 11:35 pm


      I have done some research online which suggests that you have a legal right to ask for a copy of your contract. The club has 12 days in which to comply with this otherwise you are entitled to bring legal proceedings.

      Good luck

  • horun meah 19 January, 1:56 pm

    I need assistance, I joined Soho Gym & paid upfront for the whole year, its been 6 days & I’ve realised its not for me… I now want to cancel.. but the gym is saying I can’t get refund as its a special offer…

    Surely there is a law which states there is a cooling off period, can you help me please & give me some information. I wasn’t given a contract & when i looked at their terms & conditions, there is nothing there.

    Many thanks


  • Catriona 19 January, 3:52 pm

    Horun, the short answer to this is that if there is no contract or Ts and cs, then the agreement is legally unenforceable and they have no hold over you. However I would find it strange that there was nothing in writing of any kind. In order to get the money back, you may have to go via the small claims court, but this is easy enough and would be worth it to get back such a large sum of money. There is no cooling off period for gym membership. You should never part with large sums of cash without a contract of some kind, and also without being 100% comfortable with what the terms of that contract.

  • Anon 28 January, 11:46 pm


    Is it legal to terminate a 12 month contract owing to unsatisfactory service. My gym is staffed by rude and dismissive people, the studios are fifthy (big balls of dust gathering about the floor) and the ladies changing rooms are poorly maintained.

    My contract includes a clause limited or indeed excluding liability for theft of property. This is defined as an unfair term above. What are the implication of this, does it have a legal weighting and would it be just cause to invalidate the contract?

  • Catriona 3 February, 11:06 pm

    Anon, that inclusion of an unfair term wouldn’t validate the entire contract, just that particular term. Therefore if something of yours was stolen, they wouldn’t be able to rely on this to exclude themselves. In respect of terminating the contract due to poor quality, you are within your rights to do this, if it is indeed the case. As well as your obligations to the club, the contract should also state their obligations to you. If what you say is true then they are in breach of these contractual obligations. Even if no mention is made, there will always be an implicit assumption of a duty of care.

  • Keith D 3 February, 11:08 pm

    A couple of years ago the company that ran my gym was acquired by another company and at the time of the transition some posters went up around the clubs asking members if they wanted to review their membership options. My wife and I were happy with the type of membership we had as it was fully flexible so we didn’t want to change it.

    I have recently found out that the fee for new members for our level of membership is £16 less than what we’ve been paying.

    I called the head office and they informed me that we should have spoken to a member of staff at the club to “review our membership” and they would have put us on the more favourable rate. As a company they chose not to write to members at the time of the acquisition due to the large volume of mail they would had to have dealt with.

    I honestly don’t think a couple of lousy posters is sufficient communication to members about the new rates. Also, they can quite easily send out mail shot telling us all about their personal trainer services so they are not averse to spending some money on stamps.

  • MH 9 February, 1:37 am

    I have now contacted my gym 4 times by email and twice by phone to state termination of contract on the basis of poor service – inability to schedule teachers for timetabled classes, rude staff, dirty studios and dirty changing rooms. They have ignored all contact so far simply fobbing me off with ‘we’re passed your email to the Regional Manager but can’t guarantee a reply’. In the meantime, they have passed on the debt to a debt collection agency.
    Upon phoning Consumer Direct, the advice seemed to be that unless there was something explicit in the contract as to the gym’s obligations, it would be difficult to argue breach of contract. Is this correct as it seems to contradict advice provided above.

    The contract does states obligations on the member’s behalf. Can it be argued that recipricol obligations exist on the gyms part? Secondly, is it correct that upon asking for a copy of a contract they have 12 days in which to comply?

    Thank you.

  • Frazer 12 February, 11:22 am

    I have just been made redundant and do not intend to work anywhere near (as in 50 miles away) in the future. I paid the annual subscription in one payment on 1 September 2008 and the gym have told me that I can freeze my membership (which is no use as I will not be returning) or sell what is left to someone else (which I also can’t do as I don’t know anyone who would want to join).

    The contract does say that the annual membership fee is non-refundable but I thought that if you were made redundant it did not apply (it does not say this though).

    Does anyone know if I have any rights to my remaining money back?

  • Catriona 18 February, 8:34 pm

    Frazer, there is no statutory provision in law to protect you if you’re made redundant, so you don’t have an automatic right to get your money back. Gyms might have clauses relating to redundancy or ill health in their contracts, but it is not automatic. The best thing to do would be to rely on the goodwill of the gym and see what they can offer you.

    • Frazer 23 February, 10:53 pm

      Hi Catriona,

      Many thanks for your advice. I have spoken to the gym and they agreed that I could sell the remaining membership on gumtree. I was amazed that I got any responses but ended up with about a dozen enquiries and sold the remaining membership on a pro-rata basis for what I paid for it. So whilt the gym would not give me back my money they were helpful.

  • Catriona 18 February, 8:55 pm

    MH, Just because something isn’t stated explicitly in a contract doesn’t mean it isn’t an obligation. You would assume it to be the case, like quality, fitness for purpose or as described. There is an assumption that any service will be carried out with reasonable care and skill – this is your statutory right and if it doesn’t occur, you can still claim breach of contract even if the contract makes no reference. My advice would be to write to them stating the above and give them 14 days to respond. Consult their complaints procedure and don’t be bullied by a debt collection agency. The 12 days you refer to is the time a provider of credit has to produce a credit agreement. It wouldn’t apply unless you have signed a credit agreement.

  • lisa 22 February, 12:13 am

    hi, like many of you in December 2008 my contract expired with my gym (as far as I was aware). I wrote to them in November after receiving a letter saying my member ship was due to expire, stating that I didn’t want to continue after the commitment period. I then received a letter and a phone call stating that it was a rolling contract, and I should have given them 3 months notice. Despite numerous emails and letter to the gym and promises to call back, they never have. I have now been referred to a credit agency, whose response has been rude and abusive. I noticed in my contract that i hadn’t ticked that I received terms and conditions, therefore if it stated in them it was a rolling contract, then i would have been none the wiser as the only conditions I was shown were the ones actually printed on my contract. Where does this leave me legally? Any info gratefully received!!!!

  • Catriona 23 February, 10:55 pm

    Lisa, the legislation regarding Unfair Contract Terms requires that you have adequate notice in order for you to cancel a rolling membership, and for you to be informed in plenty of time. If you claim that your contract makes no mention of a rolling contract or the cancellation policy, and you have not been given anything where this is indicated (and there is no proof that you did read them), the contract may be legally unenforceable and they can do nothing against you. Ask them to tell you where this is stated and to provide proof that you signed (or ticked) against it. Also advise them that you will be consulting the OFT for Unfair Terms. In the meantime, don’t be intimidated by these debt recovery agencies, they make money out of being bullies, they are not bailiffs and have no legal powers. See also: http://WHATCONSUMER.CO.UK/unfair-contract-terms/

  • Jo P 11 March, 12:11 pm

    Hi, I wonder if anyone has any advice for me? I joined LA Fitness is July 2008 and wish to cancel as I have moved house. I am told that the cancellation fee is £239 given that my contract runs until July 2010, however this is only if I am now more than 20 miles away from an LA Fitness. This seems disproportionate (my monthly membership cost is £39) and unreasonable. I am not more than 20 miles from one of their gyms, although I would have no reason to go to the nearest gym which is more than 5 miles from me. So, my cancellation fee would be £624, i.e. paying for the remainder of my contract term. Again this seems disproportionate and unreasonable. I have asked for a copy of the contract I signed. Do I have any legal standing to refuse payment?

  • Rob D 24 March, 9:31 am

    Hi I’m looking for some advice on leaving my gym (David Lloyd). My wife and I joined late last year, and were at pains to say that we would not be able to commit to the full 12 months initial period as we were due to move abroad this April. We were told that this wouldn’t be a problem, as lots of people were doing this these days; however we asked the person who signed us up to write this into the contract. The following words were used: ‘Can cancel with one month’s notice if moved away abroad for work.’ We are both teachers and were signed up under the special ‘teachers rate’. when we tried to cancel however, we were told that this clause, as detailed in the members’ handbook, only applies to those ‘forcibly’ relocated with work (e.g. those in the armed forces), and as such we do not meet this criterion allowing for early cancellation. However, the handbook makes no mention of this clause- the only written record is that hand written into our contracts. Despite having written to them three times on this, they have not responded in writing, only being willing to discuss the matter on the phone, where they said ‘they do not advise cancelling the direct debit. Where do I stand with respect to cancelling payent?

  • Catriona 24 March, 10:58 pm

    Rob, It seems the Gym are interpreting the clause in their own way and not in the spirit with which it was intended. If you are on a teacher’s rate, then the understanding was clearly that you would not be moving abroad as a member of the armed forces! You should look to the new 2008 Consumer Protection Regulations which would cover you. See: http://WHATCONSUMER.CO.UK/misleading-commercial-practices-unfair-trading-regulations-2008/
    See also:
    Refer to Regulation 5 & Schedule 1. You will have to threaten them with the involvement of Trading Standards

  • Yanella Tibbertsma 19 February, 8:22 am

    When signing up a gym I clearly advised that there was a chance I would be moving interstate. I was reassured before I signed the contract that if this happened the gym would find someone who wanted to take over my membership. When I did relocate I was then told that if I wanted this to happen I would have to find someone myself who would like to take over my membership, otherwise I would have to pay the full course of my membership. Nothing was written on the contract. As I was completely misinformed, do I have a leg to stand to cancel my membership?

  • Chris Nash 19 February, 6:47 pm

    Hi on 24th march 09 my wife joined curves gym on a regular membership fee of £29 for a minimum of 4 months and could be terminated by 30 days notice in writing.
    shortly into the new year my wife gave her notice to quit for a time as money was becoming an issue however on the 10th of this month, they took the full amount out by direct debit. We have tried to contact them many times and are told “thats just the way it is” “the manager isn’t here” what can i do?

  • Martin 3 March, 1:16 pm

    I called Virgin Active to enquire about joining. I gave them my card details to pay for the firs month and bank details so they could get the direct debit form ready for me to sign. I later decided that I did not want to join, so i told them and didn’t sign the contract. That was in November 2009, they had already taken the first DD payment but I cancelled the direct debit after I told the club I wouldn’t be signing the contract. Since then I have been receiving monthly letters asking for payment. Can they claim any money?? Can I just ignore the letters? They are a hassle!


    • Tony 8 March, 12:14 am

      Martin, It is never a good ideal to ignore such letters. I would write to their Head Office explaining the situation and asking them to stop sending the letters.

  • pia 3 March, 10:32 pm

    I signed a 6 months contract with a Gym. Paid first couple of months in advance and locker. I left my gymwear locked up but it was removed and “disposed of” eventhough it was paid until the end of the month. I complaint and did not get nowhere so send a letter cancelling my membership and stopped DD. Now I have these people sending me letters asking me to pay the remain of the contract (about £150). I have explained I will not pay as the value of my lostb goods cover in excess that cost. Any light on legal rights that protect me here?


  • pia 4 March, 9:31 am

    Also, they never answer to my first complaint. I undersand they have 21 days to do so otherwise they are accepting my statement, can someone clarify if this is correct?

  • Allison Richardson 7 March, 6:14 pm

    In October 2008, I enrolled myself and my then 16 son in the local branch of Bannatynes. I was given the form to fill in there and then over a complimentary cup of coffee – all very cosy and pleasant. It all seemed fine and just before signing, I asked the manager what the notice period was. He clearly said three months and I signed the form. If he had (truthfully) told me that there was a 12 month minimum period of membership, I would defintely not have signed, as I had doubts about our commitment.
    After a couple of months, my son just was not using the centre at all and I was struggling to find time to go.
    I duly wrote and gave three months notice. At the end of the third month, I cancelled the direct debit.
    Bannatynes then informed me that I owed them £600 as the minimum term of the contract was 12 months.
    I have tried to argue that I was mislead by one of their managers but to no avail. Furthermore, I have told them that if I had wished to regege on a contract, I would not even have bothered with three months notice. I am an honest person and have never had any debt at all. I genuinely believed that the required notice was three months.
    They are not taking any notice of my letters of explanation and are now threatening court action.
    I am fully aware that I should have read the small print and bitterly regret not doing so now. On the other hand, I would expect their staff to give me an honest verbal answer.
    Apart from not finding time to go there, I was not always impressed with the facilities,as on three occasions, there was no hot water.
    Furthermore, there was no consistency in the so called personal training offered to my son. The trainers did not always turn up on time or sometimes not at all.
    I would welcome any advice on this matter. I am prepared to argue it out in court, but if I don’t have a chance of success, I might as well pay them.
    Thanks in advance

  • S Merali 8 March, 7:12 pm

    I signed up to a gym at their premesis and was promised a 10 day cooling off period. I called up the head office a couple of days later asking to cancel my membership and was assured that my membership was cancelled. I notice that they still took money from my account via direct debit, after calling them up a second time they told me that i had never called and I had no rights to cancel my membership. I have telphone records for calling them and they say that they record all telephone conversations. Do i have any rights?

  • John Doe 10 April, 9:51 pm

    I was a member of a gym for about a year and a half paying $36 a month. I then went away to college, and put it on hold, meaning they only take $7 a month while I am gone. After 3 months passed, and I was still in away at college, they started taking $36 from me again. They said that it says in the contract that the “put on hold option” is only available for 3 months. I signed the contract papers without reading them too well(about 3 pages), but I still feel like this is illegal and they should have told me this. They took 3 payments from me ($110). As a college student, my money is very low and I am hoping to get this money back. Do I have a case?

  • Liam 25 April, 1:44 pm

    I have been a member of Esporta for about 6 years, When I was made redundant 2 months ago, I canceled all non essential direct debits inc. esporta and called them to cancel my membership and tell the that I would pay the final month payment as soon as I was able. Since then I have had letters and emails from a debt collection agency demanding the 1 month membership fee Plus charges totaling £110 and threatening legal action.
    Do they have the right to add these charges after I had informed them that I was canceling my membership?

  • Annabel 26 April, 11:35 am

    In February, both myself and my husband signed online with a gym that was due to open in two weeks time. We paid the signing fee and the first months payment.
    That was in February. It is now nearly May and the gym isn’t open yet!! We went to an “open day” on Saturday and the site is a building site!!!! Nothing is done. It is bare concrete, no electrics, no toilets fitted. Nothing. The salesman who took us round the site explained that it would all be completed in the two weeks remaining to the NEW opening date. (It has been delayed 3 times now!)
    I have had to rejoin my old gym, pay another admin fee for the change and a higher monthly rate to train. I have a bodybuilding competition in September and my training programme has been turned upside down.
    I am now seeking to cancel the new membership as I really don’t think it will be ready in two weeks after what we saw. The guy prepared us all for a further delays intimating and stating “the only thing that will hold us up is staff sickness”.
    I would like to know what my rights are in cancelling my contract due to there being no services to offer or gym to use!!!
    They have stated via email that although they took month the second month they will not be taking a DD until June. Great considering I have paid for two months I have not been able to use a gym that doesnt’ exist yet! I am considering taking this to the papers I am that cross! Strangely enough nobody returns your call when you ring the Salesmans phone and the number advertised on Fit24UK website is dead!

  • Andrew 28 April, 9:43 pm

    Hi, I joined a Nuffield gym in January of last year and asked about corporate membership, which I now know I would have been entitled to, and was told that it wasn’t available to me. Due to football injuries I have been limited to 15-20 (maximum) visits in 12 months and decided to cancel my membership in February of this year.

    I emailed their head office and asked that the 30 day notification period be waived as I had originally been mis-sold the membership (£36 p/mth instead of £32 p/mth for corporate) and in effect paid more than a full month’s subscription unnecessarily. I didn’t receive a response and have now been asked to pay the ‘outstanding’ month.

    After discussing with the general manager I have been told that the staff member would not have given me the incorrect information even though I had specifically asked about the corporate membership at the time. I am not prepared to make the payment as I believe it is unjust – where do I stand legally?


  • Linda Howard 14 May, 2:21 am

    I had my phone stolen from a locked gym locker at Esporta in Islington. As most gyms, they have a dislaimer for thefts from locker rooms. However, if a private club provides lockers with their own form of security – their own keys which you use by putting a £1 coin into – then they have created a false impression of security for your possession and are therefore liable. If I had used my own lock and this had happened then I would feel that it was my negligence for buying a substandard lock. Can i not argue that the were negligent in their duty of care for protecting their clients possession, while creating a false sense of security?

  • Carl 10 June, 12:30 am

    Hi, I cycle to work and like many employers nowadays we share a building which does not have showering facilities. Nuffield Health sold me access to their shower and locker facilities as part of their services to the buidling in which we cohabitate. There are various disclaimers about using the environment, but I pay the same amount for just using the shower and lockers and everyone else who also uses the (poorly maintained and stocked) gym. About 2 months I went to retrieve my belongings from my locked locker to find it had been emptied with all of my belongings (including wallet, personal mobile, front door keys and more) moved to another area of the buidling and locked away. No notification provided, no member of staff on site. There is a disclaimer which says that lockers will be emptied in the evenings and they are for sessional use only, but Nuffield sold me access to the locker and guaranteed me that as long as it was emptied daily there would be no problems. I have maintained this requirement from the outset and have not quibbled or complained about any of their facilities.

    It is clear that their member of staff emptied the locker despite being fully briefed about whose it was and the sale terms, and now Nuffield are refusing my request for an apology for the inconvenience and are blaming the actions of other people for this scenario. I have requested full repayment of money on the basis that the T & Cs which I signed have not been maintained and it was their member of staff who broke into the locker. That same member of staff also stole the £1 coin used to secure the locker!! Unsurprisingly they are rebuffing this request, but they agreed to provide me a service as long as I maintained my acceptance of their conditions which I have diligently done so. Is there any hope of me getting my money back if I take them to court? In hindsight I should have immediately logged a call to the police and got a crime number. As the entire is access controlled with CCTV on the entrance they could not deny their actions. Any ideas / support / endorsement of the fact Nuffield are crap?

  • Sarah 21 June, 6:19 pm

    I signed a three year contract with a gym after a government get fit promotion. I gave the gym three months notice to quit after realising it wasn’t for me – I only went for a few weeks. I paid the three months and then cancelled my direct debit. They say I cannot cancel unless I am physically unable to go and they need a doctors letter or I move. This doesn’t seem fair – I haven’t stepped foot in the place since January. I told them I gave up my job for health reasons and now have no income but the call centre lady dismissed that out of hand – any advice?

  • Devan 30 July, 4:13 pm

    I signed up with Virgin Active for a 12 month contract 4 days ago and then found out my colleagues at my new work go to a cheaper, more convenient gym.
    Is there any way I can cancel the contract. Also bear in mind the sales rep who signed me said it would be pro-rata from the 1st. So in that case, officially the contract hasn’t even started!
    I’m paying a lot of money here and think there must be a way to cancel the contract.
    Any thoughts?

  • Iain 12 August, 12:49 pm

    I joined a Nuffield gym for a 3 month period, and specficially requested the membership be cancelled at the end of that period. This was confirmed by the staff memeber at the time.

    I now find they have been taking money from me for a further 4 months, and now deny any such conversation took place, or that there are any notes on the account.

    Their records show I did not visit after the agreed end point, yet they refuse to refund the amount.

    Absolute charlatans

  • Lion 19 August, 8:06 pm

    Me and my partner had a rolling contract with a well known chain of health clubs. I cancelled my contract on July (inclusive) and my partner did the same a day later. In August ( Friday 20:30) we received a phone call saying that my partners contract has not been cancelled since they have no documentation. Unfortunately, we do not have receipt of it either. Although we have not used their facilities for August they still claim that we have to pay. Is this legal? any advice? Thanks

  • Chris Hake 12 September, 7:10 am

    I’ve just been made redundant 5 months into a gym membership with Fitness First. I’ve written to the head office and explained my situation but they are insisting I cannot cancel due to the contract terms. Can anyone help please?

  • Chris 30 September, 3:58 pm

    Hi, I hope somebody can help.

    Staff at my brother’s gym advised his girlfriend that it was safe to use the sunbed without goggles and that she should just close her eyes. Fortunately she didn’t do that (since it can cause all kinds of problems) and consequently she and my brother don’t want to use the gym again.

    They refuse to let him terminate his membership. Have they failed their duty of care?


  • Elvira 12 October, 1:59 pm

    I joined LA Fitness September 2009. Due to work relocation (outside the UK), I handed in cancellation of my membership end of June 2010(in writing and spoke to the club rep that signed me up initially in front of a witness). Under the contract I have 1 months notice period after the end of the initial term but my understanding was that I could terminate early in special circumstances.

    Despite this money continued to be taken and I didn’t receive a confirmation of cancellation. so I eventually cancelled the direct debit 2 months after ending the membership.

    Long to and fro, but I have now been told by a debt collection agency that the only way to cancel my LA Fitness contract was to call a certain membership phone number and cancel via telephone. When I pointed out that this should have been mentioned to me not only upon signing the contract but also as a response to my written and verbal cancellation, I was told that I should read my contracts better!

    I still cannot get a confirmation that my membership has ended and that even if I paid what they claim I owe them, I would not continue to accrue further charges.

    Any idea what I can do?

  • KaTe 22 October, 11:01 am

    I joined Virgin Active Gym which asks for £66.95 per month for their membership, which is unbelievable in itself. I was sucked in by the sales guy and by the fact I was due to go on holiday and wanted to look good! A month or two after joining I was suddenly made redundant and susequently could’t afford to keep up the payments (it is actually preventing me from affording basic life essentials!) The gym are now insisting that I have to pay over £600 in fees for the remainder of the contract.

    This means that I am ultimately paying for the upkeep of a gym that I haven’t been to as they told me I wasn’t allowed to use the facilities. This hardly seems logical. I haven’t paid them anything and now I’m getting debt collection letters and calls, despite explaining to them my situation and that I don’t have the required income to pay off this amount.

    In an ideal world I would just pay them but I simply do not have the funds to do so and considering that I haven’t actually received a service, I feel like I am being bullied into handing over a load of cash which will line the pockets of an already filthy rich man for absolutely nothing!

  • Michael 29 November, 6:12 pm

    Does a name change or a change in the ownership of a health club make a materil difference in the contract you might have signed with the original club. The change was from Cannons to Nuffield.

  • Tom handley 8 December, 6:43 pm

    I joined fitness first on an offer and was taken through a long list of terms and conditions by one of there staff. I specifically asked how I could withdraw from the contract and was told I had to give one months notice. Six months later I rang up to do this and was told it had to be in writing, but otherwise had no problems. I asked if I had to give my membership card in at the end of the membership period but was told that was neccessary. H

  • Gina 3 January, 3:08 pm

    I am a member of a private squash club which asks for fees annually in advance (although 50% can be paid for by a post dated cheque). I resigned my membership one month in to the year due to the club withdrawing its ladies team from competitive competition due to lack of players. I was a member of the ladies team and it was the main reason for me being a member of the club. I resigned asking for a refund of 11/12ths of my annual fee. The club’s constitution gives no information on notice periods or fee refunds. The club responded recognising this and said they needed to discuss it at a committee meeting which they did two months after my giving notice. They have concluded that they will not refund fees and will apply their decision retrospectively to my case but still treating me as a resigned member and now therefore unable to use the facilities but retaining all my money.
    Do I have legal recourse?

  • Rian Holmes 9 January, 4:47 pm

    I joined my gym in September and have since had problems with my health making me unable to use the facilities, following the contract I gave 30 days notice providing a doctors note to cancel my subscription, but now the gym are requiring an additional month as they say I have to give 1 months notice (I cancelled on 7th Dec) so they want me to make payment on 7th Jan. As I’m not and have not been using the facilities is this legal?

  • Mike 6 February, 2:47 pm

    I’m currently in a dispute with LA Fitness. I’m trying to cancel my corporate membership.
    I signed the standard contract that states 12 months and lists the cancelation fees etc however i only did so because prior to signing the gym confirmed in writing that because i was a contractor employed through a significant client, i was eligible for the corporate membership but on receipt of proof of leaving that employment, i would be able to cancel my membership without any charges/fees at any time.

    I have since left that employment, provided LA Fitness with both my proof of leaving AND their communication of the above and they are now refusing to honour their statement.

    Advice is greatly appreciated.

  • Clare 9 February, 8:21 pm


    I took out a 3 year gym membership at a female only gym. The gym has closed down with no notice to me after 10 months. I have now received a letter from another company informing me that a debt of £559 has been registered with a credit reference agency against me. After making some enquiries with these people I have been told that my contract is now with a new company, at a new gym within a hotel 3 miles from the original one which is a mixed only gym – can they do this and claim I am still under the same contract? I think this is a breach of contract on their part – am I correct and what can I do?

  • Jo 17 February, 9:43 pm

    I gave 5 weeks notice via an email to NUFFIELD HEALTH IN DONCASTER. I cancelled the D.D. soon after. The membership finished 31.12.10 in January of this year i got a letter saying htey couldn’t collect £55 from my bank. I rang them and told them I’d sent an email ending my membership on 22nd November 2010. I found a copy of the email and sent it to them. They say it went to the wrong email address and they want their £55 quid. Previuosly the manage said if I coul show proof of the email she would accept my written notice, now she has backtracked. They have now passed it to C.A.R.S debt recovery. IM FUMING! Who is right here? Someone please help!

  • Helen 10 March, 12:09 am

    I have received really bad service from fitness first after I moved in Jan. I spent a week calling their member cancellation line at all different times but was on hold for over half an hour; i left all of my details on voicemails for call backs. Nothing. After two weeks I got so frustrated of wanting to talk to them and find out what I could do I cancelled my direct debit.
    Now they have contacted me and are demanding two months payment to take me up to twelve months from when I joined. I told them I felt this was unfair as I have received really bad service from them, I wanted to speak to a manager. I was told they will re-instate my direct debit without my permission (?) and I was to email in a complaint to their member services.
    I have and guess what? I’m still waiting for a response. Any ideas?

  • evren 11 April, 7:44 pm

    I have a quite disgusting case with Esporta. I stay in UK only for 6 months for educational purpose. Me and my colleauge went to Esporta at the beginning of February (our 2nd month of stay in UK) and contacted with a salesperson. We detailed our situation and asked for one month membership. And with his assurance we became members. In fact I could only use the place for three times since I was very busy. And while we assumed that the membership was terminated at the end of February, we found out that they made us signed 12 months membership. They dont accept the salesperson’s fault. And they give the old school excuse: You should read the document well. We had 6 months visa in UK and we had made it clear!
    What should we do now? Just don’t pay more, wait and leave the country according to our schedule? Or do we have anything to do for punishing the company?

    Thanks in advance…

  • Sue Staunton 8 July, 11:51 am

    I am a member of David Lloyd – back in 2009 my daughter joined my membership as this allowed us to have a slightly cheaper rate being joined as a couple. In June 2009 my daughter added my grandaughter to the members for a 3 month special offer that was operating. My daugher said she spoke to a member of staff to ask what happens after the 3 months – they said she does not have to do anything but if wanted my grandaughter to have full membership she would have to sign her up fomally. I recently checked my bankstatement and realised I have been paying for her membership ever since. I contacted the club who said it is clear in the t&c that my daughter signed.

    On the T&C there is a section for the bank card holder to sign for the money to be deducted from the account – I never signed this – what action can I take against them if any – so far they have refunded some of the money – however I believe they must be in breach of some financial procedures to have taken money from my account without my consent – my daughter and grandaughter do not even have the same surname as myself.


  • Gill 27 September, 10:12 am

    I recently joined David Lloyds gym in southend with my 2 young children (i am a single mother) for a 3 month membership – i was originally told it would be £115 per month but when i went in and spoke to Sarah at the gym she told me that because i am only interested in the 3 month membership it would be more expensive and will cost £150per month! I paid £300 cash up front. Sarah also told me that my children would have clubs running 3 hours every day so that i could then go to my classes knowing they were safe and entertained – when i got home i realised that the clubs for my children only ran for 1 hour on thursday, fridays, saturday and sundays (so not every day and certainly not 3 hours) which meant i could only use the gym on these days but for less than an hour each time. Anyway i joined a week ago and since then my friend sadly was rushed into hospital and passed away leaving me to look after her 10 year old son – i informed the gym of this and they offered me a couple of passes for my friends son to come along with us but as i explained to them my friends son is still too devasted about his mum and also has health problems preventing him from doing any exercise anyway – i asked if that if they definately couldnt cancel my membership (even though none of us have used any of the gyms facilities at all) maybe they could freeze it until January (as i was hoping to keep my friends son until after christmas rather than him spending christmas with a foster family he doesnt know) and they have not replied. As i have said I am a single mother just trying to improve my childrens health and lives, we havent used the gym at all and now on top of that i have a 10 year old boy to look after and the cost is crippling me – is there any way i can get any of my money back?

  • Lucy 28 September, 5:36 pm

    I cancelled my gym membership in August 2011
    The gym has lost the paperwork which I signed saying that I cancelled my membership and are saying that I have to pay for September and august as well.
    I moved house and no longer have a copy of the document.
    What can I do?

    the voicemail left by the manager suggests that they know I ended my membership in August because he states that I will have to pay for september because I ended my membership after the 17th of August, but that I will now also have to pay for next month because it is now very late into september!

    I left london in August and have not used the gym. The gym cards are electronic so this can be proved.

  • Lisa Connolly 24 October, 6:22 pm

    Hi, i signed up to the local gym that i pay £29 per month for. I signed in July 2011 and it is a 12 month contract. However we have since moved so it is no longer local to me and therefore i would like to cancel it. Where do i stand with this, although it is a contract, surely there is nothing stopping me from just cancelling the direct debit? What would be the consequences of this?

  • Angelica 6 November, 9:02 pm

    Hi I and my husband sign a contract with the Esporta Club Repton Park with old management, I really was interested to join the Virgin Active Oxford Str close to my work, but the sell person told us, the Virgin bought Esporta so you only need to fill up new papers to use the virgin.Now that the fusion is completed they told me I need to pay 6.00 pounds more to use virgin active oxford street, but nobody told us about it, the new manager doesn’t help at the Repton Park, if I now about it I had joint the oxford str branch, they mis-sold us.Please help, we wrote to virgin active but they never replied.

  • teddy 5 December, 10:05 am

    Joined a certain planet fitness gym on a R60 promotion, didn’t knw its was for 36months. 3 months prior to me joining i told them i want to cancel my contract, but they refuse citing i can only sell it to someone(which so far have not been succesful in selling it)
    I subsequently stopped going to the gym almost 6 months now and they constantly withdraw money from my aCcount, even tho i don’t attend. Help please. I really need to cancel

  • James 7 December, 7:00 pm


    It appears to be the trend now that everyone is putting prices up mid way through contracts e.g Orange! My gym have just informed me of their intention to put my monthly subscription fee up whilst I am still locked into the contract for another four months before I can leave! I’m guessing somewhere in the contract it says they reserve the right to shaft me when they want and I can’t do anything about it?? How can they get away with this!!!!!!!???!!!!!!!

  • Yasemin 4 January, 5:27 am

    I wish i read all these before I become a member to any gym. I had an agreement with la fitness for a year I am a foreign student so after a year I went back to my country and had a surgery there. When I came back november 2011 they called me saying I had outstanding balance and I did pay for the 12th month thinking that would be the end of it. This was not the case. Today I realized they kept getting my money from my account and when I called them they told me that if I do not call them to cancel they can renew my contract for 6 months. This really does not seem fair. I did cancel my membership and paid for this month too. What can I do about this? Can I get my money back in someway? Is a foreign doctors note acceptable if it is written in english? I was also charged by the bank 6 pounds because there was no money on the account and they tried to get the money.

  • Nadene Uys 9 February, 4:26 am

    We recently joined a gym and realised that we can not work out on our own. We needed a little help. We asked a good friend to help us out (as in be out trainer) and we have managed to lose some weight.
    We have just been told that he can not do his training with us in the gym anymore as the gyms personal trainers are not happy. He pays his fees just like we do every month.
    Can the Owner of the gym tell us that we are not allowed to have our own trainer?
    This is so upsetting. Just when we were getting into a rythem and starting to shed the pounds, this happens. It feels like the owner has taken our rights away?

  • David 8 March, 2:13 pm

    I have an issue with Bannatynes at present. I joined the gym in May 2009 and signed up for 12 months. In July 2011 a whole year after my contract had expired, I decided I wanted to leave and gave my 3 months written notice which I hand delivered to the club, I then cancelled my direct debit in September.

    Bannatyne’s are denying ever have received my letters and are now currently threatening me with legal action for non payment for 6 months membership fee’s, and for a service I haven’t used in quite some time.

    It surprises me that rolling contracts like these with long get out clauses are still deemed as fair by the OFT. Especially as in other area’s of contractual law such as telecommunications, OFCOM have ruled that rolling contracts with lengthy cancelation periods outside the initial agreement are unfair. Why is the OFT still upholding these?

  • aurelie 12 April, 9:21 pm

    I signed up with Nuffield for a 3month gym access (28th december to 28th of march). Coming to my third month, i went to the front desk (march 12th)and told the receptionist that i wanted to cancel my membership at the end of my contract…she said that i will have to pay for the next month because i was supposed to let them know at the beginning of my 3rd month contract…i was a little upset. Today, april 12th..i decided to stop by Nuffield and make sure they did cancel my membership…well, the man at the front desk told me that they didn’t and unfortunately, they will have to debit my account for May…so, i got fustrated..he gave me a paper to sign as a cancellation proof…Do u think there is a possibility to change their mind and not pay for May? Thanks in advance for your honest answer

  • Anthony Smith 14 April, 10:58 am

    I joined LA Fitness on March 24 on the understanding that I would need to suspend my membership every 6-8 weeks as I had to travel internationally for work and I would be away for approx 4 weeks a time.
    Both the staff member I originally saw at LA Fitness AND the “then” manager, confirmed that this was quite ok, but that I would be charged 5 GBP per month that I was away as an administration charge.
    I thought this was fine and agreed.
    Well, on MArch 30, I found out that I had to leave the UK on April 11 and spoke with the staff at the gym. They wrote down a number and said to contact the Membership Service area at Head Office.
    I did this and they said that they had to check this out with the gym concerned.
    I didn’t hear anything but rang again on the following Wednesday and was told that they still needed to speak with the manager.
    Anyway, I finally spoke with the person there who said “no” I couldn’t suspend the membership.
    I said that I wanted to cancel the membership but was told that it was past 10 days “cooling off”. I said that my request had been prior to this.
    What can I do to cancel this membership?

  • Sam U 19 April, 2:20 am

    I have been a member of my gym for many years. That entire time frame the daycare has been free and advertised as free. It is still on website as a free service. My gym as of yesterday put a sign up stating it is going to start charging on May 1st a daily visit fee for daycare of $2 per child or a monthly fee of $12. I have three children 6 and under (additionaly $36/month fee). My contract goes to september 1st. This was and has always been verbally implied that with my membership I get free daycare. There is nothing in contract about daycare, but yet this was a huge selling point for many of the members. I know verbal committment can be legally binding. They are saying if I have a family membership then it will be free. That means all three of my children under 6 will have to get a gym membership… makes no sense. I know they have a membership cancelation fee, but I feel they are in breach of contract with me and are now false advertising. What advise does anyone have for me.

  • Annie 21 April, 4:50 pm

    I accept the “Win Back Offer” of my former gym. Jo (the staff)asked me to make a confirmation letter & sign it. I did and handed to her my letter & she left it on top of the table. She worked out how much am I going to pay & show it to me on screen, I agreed. But it’s not finalize until John (Membership manager) authorize it & get my payment & confirmation letter. Jo, asked me if I can wait for John (who’s in the meeting) while she’s going out to have her tea/meal (which me, myself I havent had any yet too). I sat in the room alone waiting and waiting for more than half an hour until I get fed up for another of their bad customer service & finally walk out with my confirmation letter left on top of the table. I didnt bother with them at all and certainly didnt use the facility at all. Now, they send me a letter that I owe them 3 months membership (£ 325) & have to pay them since I accept the “Win Back Offer”. But I didnt sign on any contraft nor leave any confirmation letter & no authorization happened at all. So, how can I owe them ? Please advise. Thank you.

  • Alex 28 April, 11:44 am


    i joined bannatynes gymon 14/3/2012 and me and my partnerwill be moving out of the area as he has a new job. We will be moving 40 miles away! How do i get out of the contract. Its a 12 month contract with a 3 month cancellation after 9 months! what doi do! i feel like ihave made a massivemistake joining their gym and if i cancel my direct debit i hear they have already sold my details to someone else!!! who will collect the money!
    please help!

  • lucy 24 May, 4:58 pm

    Hi Alex, I am in the same position. My contract is due up in september i am just unsure what to do?

  • Tommy 29 May, 6:33 pm


    My wife and I joined a local gym in May 2010 and signed up for a direct debit payment coming out of our bank account each month. We have never checked to ensure the money is indeed coming out. We have just had a letter from the gym saying that due to a collection order problem no fees have been ever taken from us. The result is we now owe £780. Do we have to pay them as its their mistake the direct debit was set up. We have signed a contract but that is to remain with gym for one year which we have.

  • anna 6 July, 11:42 pm

    does anyone know if there is a cooling off period gymophobics

  • Khushboo 26 July, 9:33 pm

    I went today to finesse leisure partnership and they went through a deal with me with is for 3 years and charged me an enrollment fee of £46 just within 3 hrs i went back to cancel the contract and they send me back saying the member of staff went home and they cannot help me. I am going tomorrow to see the member of staff who served me, i am legally eligible for refund where i changed my mind within 3 hrs.Please advice me what step i can take if they refuse to cancel my contract. Your advice would be very helpful.

  • Frank 30 July, 11:22 am

    Hello everybody,

    I would like to leave the gym but they told me that I have to notice one month in avance. Today is 30 and I dont wanna go next month. Can I do that? Can I stop my direct debit?

    Many thanks

  • Andy 3 August, 8:46 am

    Hi there,

    I have been going to my local budget gym for the last few years, I recently paid up front for the while year. However it has come to light after visiting other budget gyms in the area, that what they are providing is substandard, it is dirty and smelly and regularly has equipment out of order, not to mention various damages around the gym which is most definitely a health hazard. I do have photographs of these areas if I can forward them to you via e-mail. I wish to receive a refund for the remainder of the year in order to join another gym of better standard.

    Kind Regards


  • Dean 4 November, 5:17 pm


    I requested 10 personal training sessions from the David Lloyd gym I go to. I was advised it was better value to take the 3 month pack (paid monthly), so I did. At the time I wasn’t advised I had to cancel this myself after the 3 months had expired but it was stipulated in the small print.

    So as soon as I found out I had made a fourth payment it was cancelled. However David Lloyd have charged me for a fifth payment as it is one calendar month from when you cancel, so if I cancelled on the 2nd day of a month I would be charged on the first day of the next month also. So effectively it is two months notice.

    I am in dispute over this as I made it clear I didn’t want this from the outset but am stuck in a kafkaesque nightmare over admin, written cancellations and t&cs on a contract. Non of this is certainly in the spirit I entered in to.

    Do I have a leg to stand on? I really want a refund, especially over the fifth payment.


  • Mr D Edwards 20 November, 7:55 pm

    Thanks to the invaluable advice on this site I successfully managed to close a gym membership by writing to the management company of the gym I had joined ( wished I hadnt as could hardly be called a gym at my local Best Western Hotel ) and explaining that I had only visited the “gym” for the induction and despite having paid 7 months of £20 I had not been to the gym since and that tieing me into a 3 yr minimum contract was deemed unfair by the high court 2011 ruling that anything over a minimum of a year was “unfair”. Lyle Hill Management kept on ringing me and I kept on ignoring there calls, thinking to myself, please reply in writing as I had so requested in my recorded delivered letter to them the week before. Another week passed and in the end I rang them, gave my reference number and the girl said, oh yes Mr Edwards we have been trying to contact you to let you know we have terminated your contract. Total relief as 3 years at £20 was £720 , what was I thinking when I joined???? The gym was the “health club” part of the local Best Western Hotel about 1.5 miles from my house and on the day it seemed ok. On my induction day my eyes were more open and I realised what a mistake I had made, no proper cold water to drink, shabby equipment and not much of it and anymore than 10 people and the gym would have been full !! There was a small pool with spa but nothing to write home about and I actually parted with £60 to join this effort. Anyway, it pays to take your time, do your homework, ask questions and if you are not sure, ask around, ask people that know and read the smallprint, it will save you a ton load of grief in the long run and your hard earned. Thanks for the advice here, it worked for me.

  • joseph 25 November, 7:28 pm


    i signed a gym membership contract for 12 months which started on September this year, i signed the contract with Nuffield health and now i want to cancel the contract, i went to the gym and told them i am ‘moving homes’ so can i have my contract cancelled, they said you would need to bring a proof of the new address and there must be a Nuffield within 5 miles. my plan is to make a fake letter with a fake address were there is no Nuffield within 5 miles? any feedback please.

  • Rosalind Lambert 17 January, 10:32 am

    been a member of bannatynes for almost two years so out of the minimum period, tried to cancel as moving abroad but they are insisting on 3 months notice, I’m moving within the month and my bank acct etc willchange, explained this to them but no still have topay or they will issue a county court judgement on me.

    any advise???

  • Marcos 15 March, 1:01 pm

    Dear Team,

    I am a member of Soho gyms.
    When I joined them in 2012 I advised I didn’t wish to have any contract. I was advised that I had to pay £50, but the amount would be return to me.

    I now need to move to a different location due to work where they have no soho gym and I am being told that I need to give a month notice 14/03/13, and use full month April with last payment in April 3013. I have also been advised that £50 would not be returned as min is 12 months.
    Is it legal?

    I am disappointed.

    Please help me.

  • mrsk 20 April, 4:46 pm

    I joined a gym in feburary 2013 and was told that it was for a 3 month period. I never signed a contract, i only signed a piece of paper which i had written my bank details on declaring that i authorised for my membership to be taken from my bank. When i started the gym, you had to book into classes, it wasn’t your typical gym, it was all just class based. If there was no classes during the week free at a time which suited you then you couldnt go to th gym all week, which I thought was unfair, as i was paying £55 a month, which seemed to be for nothing. When i eventually did get to classes it seemed like the fitness instructors were just winging it and changing what class was on, even if you had booked into a certain one to suit them. I cancelled my membership with them and I now have them constantly facebooking me, phoning me and emailing me. The last one said they would take legal action, do i have any rights here?

  • Gemma 18 May, 1:36 pm

    I have signed a contract for a 12 month contract with a local gym, which has now expired. I have been in and out of hospital due to illness and thought they had cancelled the so-called 12 months direct debit. They had not and I came to realise they had taken two extra months worth of money totall £110. I have called them about this and they state that it says on the contract that I have to cancel the direct debit not them or the third party the debit was made by and they say there is nothing they can do about the money that was taken. I had explained my medical reasons but they don’t seem to care. I have checked over my copy of the contract and no where on there does it state I have to cancel the direct debit or its my job to – I have told them this but still they say it was down to me and they don’t have any intentions of returning my money.

    Is this legal? What can I do to get this money back?

  • Tushal Patel 22 May, 2:50 pm

    I had been a member of Virgin Borehamwood in December 2011 which I transferred to Oxford Street in October, Only to find that in February 2013 the club was closing and I could sign up to the more expensive Mayfair branch which was not appropriate for me as the distance from Mayfair to my office is quite considerable also at considerable cost. Since then I sign up to the Regent Park gym on the 29 April. When becoming a member I stressed to Rep that one of the main benefits for me to join Virgin was I could access the Mill hill Branch at weekend to take my son swimming. I now understand Virgin has sold Regent Park Branch and my benefits will be striped once the new owners take over. If I no longer have access to other Virgin gyms the main benefit of joining Virgin active has disappeared and the product that was sold to me is no longer being honoured.

    What can I do and do I have any rights?

  • S Kumaran 24 September, 3:10 pm

    I was looking to join a gym and I saw The Physical Fitness Club in Woodford Green. I made a web enquiry. The Club immediately called me twice on the following day and asked me to come in for a chat as they had an offer. I went there and had a chat with one of the Club Staff and finally asked two questions. What was the shortest contract and what was the minimum charge per month. The Staff told me it was one year and it was 16 pounds. However the staff never told me that the answers came on two different products. I signed a contract in ‘Good Faith’ giving my bank details and paid 50 pounds as admission charges. Few days later I had a letter from Harlands (Debt Collectors) setting out my terms and conditions. As soon as I realised the length and charge for the contract were not as I believed them to be I telephoned the Physicals Fitness Club in Woodford Green and told them that I wanted to cancel the contract as it was within the cool off period. They assured me that the Manager would call me back as papers had been sent to their Processing Office. I never had any return communication from the Club. Subsequently I cancelled my direct debit from the bank. I have never been to that Physical Fitness Club for fitness exercises as my contract was ill-formed and I did not have a contract with them.

    Since then, I have had many threatening letters from Harlands (Debt Collectors) for which I have explained the situation and pointed out that the dispute was between myself and The Physical Fitness Club on an ill-formed contract. But Harlands adds up additional penalties and other administrative charges and now threatening me with legal action. In the meantime the Physical Fitness Club never answered any of my letters or returned my phone calls. Could someone please advice me on this matter.

  • Matt 10 October, 3:41 pm

    I joined Dw gym 3 years ago. After my first year I wanted to cancel because I didn’t have time to go, so they suggested I suspend instead at a cost of £5 a Month. I’ve been paying the suspension fee for 2 years with the hope of going back again but now we have a new baby I know that’s not happening anytime soon. I resent that I’ve been paying for 2 years now, so last month I cancelled my DD (without any notice) Obviously I’ve started getting the usual hassle but I was just going to ignore them until they go away… Thoughts please?



  • Matt 10 October, 3:43 pm

    I suppose what I want to know is; do you think they will actually take me to court, considering I’ve not set foot in any DW gym for 2 years?

    Thanks again


  • Oliver 16 October, 7:50 pm

    I was recently looking to join a gym and they sold the membership to me over the phone and took the initial ‘joining fee’ from my credit card. When I then went in to the gym for the first time, my paperwork which needed signing had been left behind the front desk with the receptionist. None of the contract was filled out so I would have essentially been signing a blank contract which I wasn’t prepared to do for obvious reasons. As there was no member available from the sales team to run through this, I instead only signed the direct debit section and then used the gym on that occasion and about 4-5 times after in the same month.

    I decided that the gym wasn’t for me and at the end of the month notified them of my intention to leave and cancelled my direct debit before the first payment left. They are now asking for three months worth of payments and threatening to pass this on to a third party. I still have not been given a copy of my contract, despite asking for it on more than one occasion but they state that my usage of the club constitutes as an intent to membership.

    My questions are:
    1) Do they have a legal right to pursue this as I have not signed any contract, only the direct debit?
    2) Would this sale of membership fall under the ‘distance selling act’, as the deal was verbally agreed over the phone before any face to face meeting took place? If so, do I have an automatic right to cancel within a prolonged period, especially as I have not received a copy of the T’s & C’s in a durable medium?

    Any responses or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance, Oliver.

  • Ivy 2 December, 11:19 pm

    Hello, I signed up for curves gym under a special offer and decided t continue membership. When I signed up I gave them my medical history which included having cancer and radical hysterectomy this year. Medical advice was to take things easy and it can take upwards of a year to fully heal from surgery. after a number of weeks into the membership I started noticing the more I went the more back and stomach pains I was getting until I had to face it that the workout was affecting me due to the surgery. I had spoken to a number of staff prior to this to explain about the pains and if there were any alternatives such as skipping a machine that works on muscles in that area etc and they were not particularly helpful. So eventually I phoned them to say that I would not be able to continue and explained why. The lay I spoke to was lovely and very understanding. She told me that even though I was in the 4 months contract that due to the issues I would just need to give 30 days notice, that as the membership fee was going to be deducted that day that I should cancel with the bank the following day and follow up in writing to the gym. I did this and cancelled the payments with the bank and thought no more of it as was going through blood and other tests etc due to exhaustion and other symptoms. I then received a letter from a different branch of the gym stating that I had cancelled my membership and they would be charging me if I did not pay, so I sent them an email detailing what had occurred etc to which I received no reply from despite chasing up by phone to be told ‘they would get back to me’. On looking at my bank statement they have taken another payment out of my account and changed the previous date of deduction, so it is two and a half weeks since the previous deduction. I did not realise until I contacted the bank as it was a different name. What had occurred is when you first joined they take the first payment via card payment (total women uk ltd) and then set up direct debit(different name to above). They must have kept my previous details and used them to take the money from my account. I did not give authorisation, did not have any correspondence to say any monies would be deducted, and nothing to say about the new date either. Needless to say I am not happy and in the process of going through complaints procedure with them. I have told them I expect a refund otherwise will be doing down the disability discrimination act that protects those who have had cancer etc, and also the data protection act for misusing my personal information. Really not a happy bunny with them, while the staff at the gym were lovely, the management of the franchise is awful.

  • Claire 6 December, 1:41 pm

    I joined my gym in September this year (1 year contract) and I have just received a letter to tell me that my membership is going up already ‘due to inflation.’ They say that it is in my terms and conditions in my contract that they are within their rights to change the cost of membership at any point. I feel very trapped and feel it’s unfair after such a short period of time being a member. Am I right? Or should I have expected that it would go up at the beginning of a new year?

  • sandile 13 December, 9:33 am

    Hi, I need advice on what to do..I’m 20 years old & i joined Escape health & wellness umlazi on a 36months contract on the 10th of December 2012 & I went to gym up until March 2013 & decided not to attend because I could not use the machines because of an injury on my left arm..I carried on paying the monthly fee (R160) until May & now it’s December they sent debt collectors to contact me & they say I owe them R10000 & don’t know how I’m going to pay them back because I don’t work & I’m just a college I want to cancel my gym membership..please advice me on what to do about the money they I owe n my cancellation. Your advice would be much appreciated..Thank You

    • Vern 20 February, 2:16 am

      Question? how do I get out of a gym contract ? Answer.. I am a gym owner of 25 yrs experience and I hate the contract gym culture. I will drop the answer in and if it makes sense to you copy and paste it globally ..a contract is a 2 way obligation so the “gym” you joined focuses on “your” obligation to pay? But! The gym can terminate your membership IF you do not obide by “it’s” rules …so..walk in your gym with a can of beer and ask for the smoking area? Scream or sing out loud, when you workout out. If you want help from the staff shout out “oi you” and let the staff know you are racist and have a phobia of being around fat people..and if the staff come over to warn you about your behaviour (?) tell them you think you have the onset of Tourette’s and tell them to f*** off. If your a male make sure you workout with no shirt on .. And walk in with muddy boots etc etc GUESS who will terminate YOUR contract..kind regards 24hrgym x

  • Robert Mc Connell 21 February, 4:48 pm

    I joined Total Fitness and signed a contract which I was told could be discontinued if I become Ill. As it happened I did become ill with only 20% function in my kidneys. Being a hounerablwe person I con tinued to pay the £35.00 a month and never used tyhe facility. I sent Total Fitness an email terminating the contract. I at the same time cancelled my Direct Debit. Now they are telephoning me claiming that I stiil own them another months payment. How can these people be allowed to get away with this behaviour. Is there anything I can to stop these people bulling me into making a futher payment.

  • claire 20 March, 12:15 am

    I have been a member of The Powerhouse gym in South Hackensack NJ for 3 years now…I have a pinched nerve & recently undergone foot surgery…I brought in 2 doctors notes as proof that I can no longer exercise. I have until October 2014 for my contract to expire & the owner said I have to pay a cancellation fee of $200. He didnt even honor my 2 doctors notes…I am insulted by the way I am being treated.

  • Julie 28 March, 7:17 am

    I “joined” a gym last September and yes apparently I did sign a 12 month dd mandate however I never received or signed a contract and the gym set me up on a third party payment site to collect my payments. Tried to cancel and the gym sent me a terms and condition as per my contract ….. Erm not had a contract ever !!! Also the site they set me up on states that they must ensure it is the customer that sets themselves up. Do I have a right to cancel here or do they hold the cards due to the paper mandate ? Thanks

  • Sarah 16 June, 10:45 am

    I’m going through the same problem as Andrew. I signed up for 12 months which ended end of May 2014.

    I wrote in April and gave 1 months notice and then cancelled my direct debit after the 1st May payment. I received an email on the 12th June saying I owed 2 months membership as they havent received my notification.

    I called them, both the club and the head office. They say I can pay 1 months membership as I have no proof of postage. Is this correct? Is there anything I can do?

    My membership application agreement just states: I may only terminate my membership by giving one full calendar months notice in writing at the fitness club.

    They are threatening to refer this to debt collection.

    Many thanks

  • maureen 6 July, 6:22 pm

    I recently joined a gym with verbal agreement,”promise”, a personal trainer would call me & arrange an appointment to show me how to use the equipment.It’s been two weeks still no phone call. I called the mgr.after one week.She seemed surprised & said she would credit me one week on my contract & call again a personal trainer to contact me.Had originally explained I was joining to get full mobility from my arm as I had recently recovered from breaking it.My physical therapist stressed the importance of using equipment properly or I could do more harm than good. I now want to cancel the written contract as I see I’m getting no response from the club.Isn’t a verbal agreement as binding as a written in this case?? How can I prove she made taht verbal promise to me??

  • Busola 13 July, 6:58 am

    I joined my gym in Jan and specifically stressed to the lady that signed me up that I was only staying for 3 months as only wanted to get fit before I go and get IVF treatment to have a baby in April. She assured me that that was not a problem and I could leave when I was ready to start my treatment. I became pregnant in April. I still paid my membership in April and cancelled my direct debit starting from May. I immediately started getting letters from the gym asking for the money. I explained to them but they said I signed a 1 yr contract. I was shocked because the lady that signed me up told me it wasn’t and that once I start my treatment, I could stop. Anyway I called their office a few times and they said they can only cancel my membership if I show proof that I was pregnant. So I sent them a letter from my clinic. They wasted time and managed to cancel the membership in June. They then wrote me saying a owe 2months fees for the month of May and June which add up to £45. I insisted I wasn’t paying. Yesterday I got a letter from a third party claims company saying I owe them £875 from the debt that was passed to them from the gym.
    I know this is extortion but can Anyone advise me please.

  • Busisiwe Makolota 17 July, 1:15 pm

    I have a membership already with virgin active which i couldn’t pay at that i can paycause im working. what must i do if i want to join again? im in East London

  • sarah 18 July, 12:31 am

    I signed for a 1 month only contract with my local gym as I am a student and cannot commit to longer than this. However, I have recently studied my account due to looking for a receipt and have noticed that the company has been taking money out of my account for months after this despite my 1 month contract being over with. I can’t believe that all this time I thought I couldn’t afford the gym but have actually been paying it. Any idea what I should do next and if I have rights with this? I did;nt set up a direct debit or anything I just literally payed with my card and they did it without any confirmation or consent

  • Ruth 23 July, 7:02 pm

    I joined a gym for a fixed 12 month contract, I contacted them about 5 months before the end of my contract to state that I wanted to cancel as I had moved out of the area. They told me I was unable to do this until the end of the contract so I waited and cancelled my direct debits and told them I was cancelling however they then said I needed to pay a final month even though I haven’t used the gym and I’m out of my 12 month contract it’s automatically turned into a tolling contract, they said I needed to give a months notice so I asked them to use my original cancellation email as notice and they said they couldn’t do that, do I have any rights? I don’t see why they can’t accept that email


  • Pete 27 July, 11:27 am

    Just ignore them. They won’t do anything. I didn’t go to the gym for a year and for a while I paid a suspension fee. I got fed up paying it and simply cancelled my direct debit. I were phoned every day for about 3 months and were left automated voice mails but eventually it stopped and I’ve not heard anything for 6 months now.

  • Paul 28 October, 9:59 am

    I started a contract with total fitness in Crewe on September the 29th 2014.
    The reason was because I worked just around the corner from it so it made sense for me to go straight from work.

    However, I only ever used the gym once and had to give up my job in Crewe due to me and my girlfriend losing our baby.
    She lives in Leeds and due to this unfortunate event and other complications that came with it, I had no choice but to move to Leeds to be with her.

    I rang total fitness in Crewe which were absolutely useless and all they could say was that if I cancelled the DD they would enforce it with debt collectors etc.

    I asked for there head office number and rang them to explain my situation, but all she could advise was the same as the staff in Crewe, she also added that if I sent proof of change of address they would look into cancelling my membership for £100!!!

    If there was a total fitness in Leeds I would be more than happy to go there instead, but looking on there website there isn’t.

    My other issue is that I currently don’t have anything with proof of address here in Leeds as I have JUST moved here so I find that ridiculous!
    And how do I know that they won’t just bill me from here instead?!

    Also when I signed up with them in September, the membership advisor told me payment would not come out till the first of November, yet I have been billed on the 15th of October??

    This is really frustrating and I cannot believe this type of behaviour is allowed to go on from companies like this!!

    As if it isn’t bad enough losing my baby than to have to put up with the stress of this unprofessional company!!!!!!!

  • Kevin Savage 4 November, 12:01 pm

    Must gyms, private or run by the local authority, provide working showers by law ?

  • Jane 19 November, 12:39 pm

    I’m looking for some advice.
    I signed up to an independent personal trainer and pre-paid for a 24 session package. The Ts&Cs state that if I cancel within 24hours of the session then I lose a session, whereas if he cancels then the session is rebooked. It also says no refunds under any circumstances.
    I have done 11 sessions to date – over the period so far he had cancelled 7 sessions (3 of them in a row) within 2 hours of the session start time.
    In addition, he has started to make me feel uncomfortable as he has asked me out and is suggesting we do training moves which have a lot of personal contact.
    I want to cancel and get my money back so I can start with a new personal trainer.
    What are my rights in this area? Is there a body I can speak to escalate?
    I’m concerned about approaching my personal trainer about cancelling the contract without knowing my rights – he has so far been fairly moody and it could make for a very uncomfortable training session if he declines.
    Can anyone help?

  • Jane 3 December, 6:55 pm

    When I found out I was pregnant I froze my gym membership, this cost me £5 a month. I was informed that it would not start up again until January 2015. However, I found I had been charged £43 this month (December). now the gym claim that I should have been informed that December would be when it would restart, and I have no physical proof that I was told January (I didn’t receive any paperwork). What are my rights here? As a very new single mum that surprise payment has really derailed me. if I had been told that originally I would have simply cancelled my membership to begin with.

  • Paige 7 December, 10:14 am

    I joined my local gym 7days ago and have been called away for a couple of months due to family issues. I’ve rung up my gym to try to cancel my membership as I won’t be using it and I don’t see why I should pay 80pound for something I won’t be using, anyway I rang up and they said there’s nothing they can do as I have to be with them 3moths before I can cancel but this was not mentioned to me when I asked about the contract and neither was the price off the monthly fees.

    I looked in my terms and conditions and it states that I have a 10day cooling off period which I am intitled to cancel for any reason. So surely I can cancel as they gave misleading information and aren’t sticking to there terms and conditions.

  • Gav 14 December, 12:56 pm

    My son signed a twelve month contract with a gym when he was 17 without any kind of guardians signature. He had now stopped the direct debit and is no longer using the gym with 2 months left on his contact. We have recieved letters from debt agencies demanding the money. Can a minor really take out a gym membership and be liable for it?

  • Ryan 17 December, 1:47 pm

    My girlfriend joined LA Fitness gym and after several months stopped going, I rang the customer service team and agreed to take over her payments and membership for her, I was not advised of any T&C’s nor did i sign any contract.
    When my girlfriend signed up the staff told her that if she moved out of town she can cancel her membership and got her to simply press a button on screen to confirm she had read T&C’s when she clearly hadn’t had an opportunity to read them.
    We moved out of town (10 miles away) and cancelled the DD’s.
    I have now received a letter stating that I owe £200 from a debt collection company to which I have advised them that I personally have never agreed to nor signed any contract with them and therefore feel that the outstanding balance is unfair.

    Where do i stand on this?

  • Mrs Smith 30 December, 4:40 pm

    How do I get help dealing with an unfair contract terms please?

    We paid for a year upfront, on the basis that I was pregnant and would be on maternity leave when the year term expires. We made this clear to the sales person.
    Upon the year’s close we received continuous sales and marketing calls and emails to renew our subscription.
    The sales person led us to believe that a years subscription up front would be the only time period that we had signed up for. Therefore the additional 3 months written notice requirement was unclear as we were told different by the sale person.

    In addition to this, we are now receiving debt collection letter and calls (to the price of over £650) without any notice from the gym that they would pass us to an agency. It appears that the gym had our address wrong and we’re sending any correspondence to number “0” on our street! We only received one letter from the debt collectors as the postman recognised our surname!

    I have seen that the OFT have put this type of rolling contract (when included as part of an initial year term) on their unfair contract terms but situation is still continuing.

    I am on maternity leave and as stated to the gym’s salesperson, I am not working and simply cannot pay the extra period ‘s fee.

    Can you recommend anyone who I can contact who will take this up on our behalf (without fee) please? Or where can I go for help?


  • Jonathan eakind 30 December, 10:16 pm

    I’m With Nuffield and I was in financial difficulty could make payments I have had to relocate but they are pressing me for payment

  • Robert mc Connell 31 December, 6:57 am

    I had a twelve month contract and continued to pay it even though I was so ill will 16 percent function in my kidneys. When the twelve months were up I stopped payment the gym continued to Hassel me for further payments.
    Eventually I had to contact my local MP who contacted them and asked them to explain. I got a letter thanking for my membership.
    I suggest that you contact your MP and let them know that you consider this gym practice unfair and they need to pass law to protect the public from this type of unfair contracts

  • Verna 8 January, 2:55 pm


    Is it common practice for gym contracts to have in their t&c, penalty of £10 for unsuccessful debit?

    I signed up for a 12month membership. in december i rang them and in writing (via email) that I wish to cancel. i got a reply that my last DD was to be in december. i then proceeded to cancel the DD.

    I then received an email from the gym that DD was unsuccessful for December and therefore I need to pay them penalty of £10, and that this was in the T&C. I checked my bank account, and noted that indeed no money was taken in December. I said i will pay them the monthly subscription, but not the £10 which I was still contesting. but they refused because they said they need to take the monthly subscription plus the £10 penalty.

    i have yet to check my contract/t&C again. my fault that i signed without reading everything, but this is likely to be those in fine print.


  • Hilary 13 January, 4:41 pm


    Can anyone tell me if a verbal agreement for a 12 month membership is binding. I haven’t signed anything and want out but they’re saying I have to pay untill Dec 2015!!!


  • Julie 5 February, 2:10 pm

    Hi there,

    I joined a small gym on the last day of the month back in September last year as there was an offer that you get October free if you join in September. I did want to go away and think about it but i thought with gym memberships there was always a cooling off period and it would be good to take advantage of this offer.

    I previously worked for a large gym chain for several years before this and always made it clear to new members when they first joined that if they didn’t like it they had 14 days to cancel.

    The gym i joined is an independent gym and In the first week of October I started using it on my lunchbreaks (as its close to work – this was the plan) however, with there only being 3 showers I was finding that I was waiting for one to become available and it made me late for work. So after 6 days of the membership I realised this wasnt going to work. I contacted the Manager and he said unfortunately he has no control over the contract now as its with a Direct Debit collection company and that there is no cooling off period if you sign on the premises.

    I wondered though, if i was encouraged to sign up on the last day of the month because of this offer, is there still no entitlement to cancel within a certain period?

  • Coral 5 February, 4:09 pm


    I signed up to a 12 month gym membership (July 2014). After a couple of months, I found out that I was pregnant and that I am due in early May 2015. I notified my gym around November 2014 that after the eight month stage, I would be cancelling my membership, due to maternity leave and was told that this is fine and I should let them know 2 months prior to me leaving.

    Early February I email them notifying them and was asked for proof of the pregnancy, so I email them again along with my MAT B1 form.

    I them receive the following email:

    hank you for the medical evidence supplied via email forwarded to our Head Office from our Tower 42 club received on the 3rd February 2015.

    Unfortunately the medical evidence provided is not applicable for cancellation, please refer to Clause 6(f) of your terms and conditions which outlines the specific requirements.

    If you should wish to forward further medical evidence which clearly states that you are unable to use the gym facilities for a minimum of two calendar months, we will be more than happy to review your request further.

    If you should require any further assistance please do not hesitate to contact us.

    Yours sincerely

    Terms and conditions:

    My question is…. Is just about to give birth and giving birth and proof of this good enough to end gym contract? The fact they have no clause about pregnancy too, means that my terms were never considered?

    Please help!

  • Meg 10 February, 11:40 am

    I emailed my gym around a year ago with a letter from my physio to cancel my rolling contract gym membership (can cancel at any time with a months notice) since then I completely forgot about this and they have been taking money from me ever since.

    Can I claim this money back from my gym if i still have the email proof that they requested asking to cancel my membership?

  • JS 25 February, 8:25 am


    My gym closed down on Christmas Eve and didn’t bother informing their members (or their staff for that matter!), but still charged everybody for January. Who would be the proper authority to talk to about this?


  • Regina 28 February, 7:22 pm

    I signed up at a gym back in September of 2014. I signed a 12 month contract. I can no longer afford the gym because I moved and my rent is higher. I don’t work as I am a single stay at home mom on government benefits.
    My question is how can I pay if I don’t have the money to give. Its either I get evicted by not paying my rent or pay the 3months off.
    Can the gym take me to court for me cancelling suddenly? Can they take me to court?

  • Sally Giles 7 March, 1:08 pm

    Hi, my step-daughter signed up to a twelve month gym membership when she was working. She has since had to leave work through illness and does not have the financial means to pay the monthly direct debit. The gym are charging her admin costs due to the direct debit not being covered which is sending her over her overdraft limit. Is there anything we can do to cancel this contract?

    Thank you in anticipation.

    Sally Giles

  • Steph 20 March, 9:04 pm

    I had a 12 month contract which expired and it then went on to a rolling 30 day membership. I called to cancel 30 days prior to the next DD and then cancelled my DD. I had n further communication from them until I started getting calls from a debt agency. They say they have no record of my call and so i owe £177 in unpaid monthly costs. What rights do I have here? It is my word against there’s that I rang, what can I do, should I pay or will they keep pursuing me?

  • Anthony Smith 22 March, 10:17 am

    I was in the same situation as many here back in April 2012 (see my comment below).

    Remain calm and see a lawyer.

    One letter tends to resolve the problem.

    That said, it is disgusting how these gyms treat their clients.

  • Robert Mc Connell 23 March, 6:12 am

    Rather than consider this situation as indeviduals we must bager our local MP to change the law amount unfair contracts. These people will continue to take money they do boy earn as long as the law allows them to. Legal theaft. They opperate on the small print of the contarcts which no one reads. Unfortunately they have the law on their side but this can change. Your local MP should be made aware that his constituents are been treated in such an unfair manner.

  • Rasa 24 March, 6:31 pm

    i sing a gym membership in 3 septemberr last year but for 36 month what pay less money per month…and yes today I did cancel my direct debit fitness payment last 4 month I just can’t find time to go there..and know I has to go back to My country for a while I even don’t know then I going back..I still able to sort it out this with out big problems ?or they still gona chard me and send me letters every month with request to pay?

  • Simon 13 April, 7:54 pm

    I was approx 3 months into a gym contract when unfortunately I broke a bone in my arm, I tried contacting the company on several occasions over the phone over a period of a fortnight but to no avail. I then decided to go to the gym and tell them directly of my health issue, the guy there said he would speak to Head office and sort. I decided at that point to cancel my direct debit, then came the letters. After trying to contact the company that owned the gyms on the phone several times with no avail I started sending e-mails. After approx 4 months from me telling them that I needed to cancel, they then asked me for proof which I duely provided In the form of a letter off a doctor, the company accepted the letter and I thought that was that.

    I now have a debt collecting company chasing me for payment for £67 approx two months membership because I’ve cancelled my direct debit without telling the gym, I refused to pay this as I have the doctors letter and god knows how many e-mails to prove my attempt of trying to contact. This debt collecting company is now asking for £207 or they will take me to court!

    Where do I stand?

  • Chris 9 May, 10:08 am

    Hi, me and my wife set up a 12 month contract with xercise for less gym. We kept it the length of the contract and both decided to cancel as money was tight, we went into the gym together and filled out a cancellation form and left it with assistant at the counter. (this was Dec 2014) I then received a letter from harlands who I believe take care of the direct debits for exercise for less. The letter advised that my wife had missed her final payment of £10 (as I cancelled both D/D when we cancelled) I called harlands and explained I had been into branch and was advised I could cancel my direct debit and I don’t understand how I owed £10. The advisor then said sorry for the confusion if any further action is needed I will be in touch via email. I never herd anything until I received a letter from a debt collection agency stating I now owe £180!! (May 2015)I called them who have put the account on hold for 30 days until I seek further advice. They are aware of the phone call I made to harlands but it says on there system I was told to email them. This is untrue and I’d be more than happy to listen back to the call as calls are recorded? Why would I need to email them? The phone call clearly ended he would email me should I need to do anything further, then I receive this letter nearly 3 month later. I’m so angry and upset and loosing sleep with it as I don’t want no debt collectors arriving at my door.
    Any help/advise would be greatly received.

  • Ben Matthews 12 May, 5:58 pm

    Hi, I cancelled my gym member ship around a year ago. I have only just noticed that they have been still taking payments from my account of nearly £40 a week. I have been in twice with written notice on the second time to state I wanted to cancel. This was September time last year of which I have not since used the facilities. I’ve noticed that payments were still coming out as of April 1st this year.
    This was a monthly based contract of which they have now taken so much more from me after I have asked them to cancel it twice.

  • Lindsay 19 May, 12:03 pm

    My gym has cancelled 17 classes in the last 6 weeks and has offered me £10 compensation as they say because I have attended other classes I have had my money’s worth. I am not happy with this and feel they are not fulfilling their contractual obligation to provide me the service I joined for. The classes that are being cancelled are the classes I joined for and now I have had to find alternative classes that I am not so happy doing but feel I have no choice. Can you tell me if there is anything I can do?

  • Chloe 1 June, 4:59 pm

    I am at a gym which has recently been taken over by a different company and I dont believe with the new companies morales, can I cancel my membership based on this ?

  • Debbie 9 July, 11:49 am

    So I joined my local gym last October (2014) and I don’t really pay attention to contracts but I believe it’s a 1 year contract, anyways 6 months later I decided I didn’t want to go anymore and now I’m Moving to South London in with my in laws for a bit.
    I emailed the gym to cancel who passed my on and up the ladder to the company who owns the gym, who then told me I couldn’t cancel my gym membership unless I was seriously ill or I was moving 20+ miles away.
    So I told them I was moving to South London (25 miles away) and they then said they need proof, I told them I didn’t have proof as I was moving temporarily into my finances parents until we got our own place.
    I cancelled my DD payment and since then have been receiving threatening letters with charges saying they are now going to pass me onto a debt collector….any advice would be taken cos I am not paying for a gym I cannot and will not attend!

  • iwona 28 July, 11:37 pm

    Hi. My 16 years old son sighn the contract with the gym. I didn’t know anything about until I have found the letter from the gym requesting overdue payments. My son was employed for 10 hours a week when he signed the contract but he lost his job and can not pay anymore. Is it legal to sign the contract with 16 years old without informing parents and with someone who hasn’t got full employment
    Thank you

  • Claire 4 August, 12:16 pm

    I’ve been sent a letter upping the amount of my gym membership: I’ve not relieved a letter from the gym advising of changes only a letter from the DD company telling me I’m paying more as of this month; I looked over my contract, there is a start date BUT the gym didn’t fill out the box stating the length of the contract; It states in the T n C’s I can cancel giving a months notice after the end of my contact yet there is non! AGHHHH…!!!

  • Chelsea Moffat 26 August, 10:25 am


    I joined body line gym in 2012, i paid for my 12 months contract then it went into a rolling month, i cancelled my direct debit. I have recently received a letter dated 18.08.2015! From Leeds.Gov advising that i had an outstanding balance. I called and they have advised me that it is for my Body line gym membership! Surely they shouldn’t be allowed to take money from me 3 years down the line?

  • John 26 August, 6:56 pm

    I”ve just cancelled with Nuffield Health and they’ve told me I have to give them a month’s notice. I don’t see why because they”ve already had 12 months out of me.

    I”ve cancelled my direct debit and it may well be in my contract so I’m expecting threatening letters… Can they really enforce this?

    Employees usually have to give a month’s notice when leaving a job for obvious reasons, I don’t see why I as a member should have to do the same…!


  • Helen Wimpenny 29 August, 4:22 pm

    Joined a local gym a while ago went onice was aware of the obligations.
    Noticed recently that the gym had been taken over by another business.
    Question finance company has been taking monies for a defunct business.
    The agreement has been paid off.

    Do I have recourse to claim money back for a membership which exists in the old name. Have requested cancellation of direct debit anyway

  • Dee tyndale 9 September, 4:22 pm

    I pay my fees 1 year up front .now I understand from the gym that they put fees up in April. But this year was told there would not be an ingress for members as we had month of a referp. Now I come to pay for my membership for another year to be told my fees are going up just to bring me up to date with everyone else .but wasn’t given any letters to tell me that my fees would go up .as I spoke to the manger who said at the time that my membership wouldn’t go up .I like going to the gym .I’ve never had notice or anything about fees .can they just put up fees without notice?

  • Sue 8 October, 7:47 pm

    My son who doesn’t have a job and $6.00 in his account signed a contract with a training group. I called and they said there’s nothing they can do about it that he will have to pay 1/2 of the $149 p/mo charge.

    Is there anything I can do to report this organization for not doing a background check on him to see that he had no funds to pay his monthly bill?

    My son has been making these irresponsible decisions and it’s costing me a lot of money to bail him out. Although he’s 21 and supposed to be considered an adult he dropped out of school and is trying to figure out his life. I feel that these type of business are taking advantage of these types of individuals.

    I spoke with the manager and he said he’s an adult and should be responsible for his actions and it’s my responsibility to teach him that.


  • Mrs U Spencer 29 October, 12:16 pm

    My son is 17yrs old and was talked into signing up for a gym membership when started going to Mp Fit with his friends. He wasn’t told about the minimum 12 months contract and cannot afford to pay this, where does he stand on this. He has cancelled his direct debit but has now received a letter saying hes going to be charged extra ! Please advise.

  • David Arnold 3 November, 11:30 pm

    I have been a member of a local gym for some time that uses Harlands to process direct debits. Earlier this year I cancelled my DD and sent a email to Harlands to explain that I wanted to set up another direct debit on a different bank account. Harlands did not respond to this but some days later I received a letter from them that to say that if I did not contact them to reinstate my DD by a certain date I would have to pay £25.00 administration fee plus the outstanding monthly payment. I found Harlands very difficult to contact on their 0845 number and after several attempts managed to reinstate my DD but after this experience I sent Harlands a letter to confirm that I was providing the 3 months notice they require because of the problems of dealing with them. It was 4 months later that I cancelled my DD and joined another gym. I then received a letter from Harlands requesting payment with the £25.00 admin fee again added and responded with a letter to confirm that I had sent a letter to notify Harlands of the 3 months notice to terminate my gym membership and attached a copy of the letter. I received a letter back to say that they had no record of this letter and I had reinstated my DD in May of this year and unless I pay the out standing amount by the date required a further admin fee will be applied. I responded by confirming that I would not be making any further payments, I again confirmed that I had given them 3 months notice and highlighted the date on the letter. I did say that is therefore no case claim for outstanding membership payment and the excessive administration cost that far exceeds any cost they have in contacting me. I received another Harlands letter yesterday to say that because I had not contacted them a further admin had been applied and that if I did not pay the total amount of £179.95 by the end of this week it would be passed over to a debt recovery company that would incur significant and result in court action. May I also point out that the Gym moved to new premises in January and failed to provide showers that worked, a big reason for my move to another gym.

  • Maria 13 November, 7:49 am

    I joined a gym and got notified that the opening would be delayed so I cancelled the membership, I never received t&c’s….so I thought! I have never been to the gym nor received an induction so have no access to the guy yet they have billed me for the past three years unfortunately due to ill health I have only now recognised they have been taking my cash for no contract/service – what can I legally do?

  • Olivia 17 November, 11:54 pm

    I’m having an issue cancelling my rolling contract with Xercise 4 Less.

    I handed in my cancellation directly to the branch over 2 weeks ago and still haven’t received any confirmation of my cancellation request despite asking for this 7 times now. Thus far I’ve been given no explanations and been told twice they’d ring me back to no avail.

    I’ve noticed on their website it says I’m not allowed to cancel my direct debit or I’ll incur penalty charges. If the gym is refusing to communicate with me about my cancellation, am I within my legal rights to cancel the direct debit after the 30 day notice prior has passed?

    I’d also be interested to know if they have a legal obligation to respond to me as a current customer.

    Any advise would be greatly appreciated.

  • Anthony smith 23 November, 10:28 pm

    My gym are cancelling our contracts but are only giving us five weeks notice due to them closing down they have known for a lot longer we have to give three months notice can we get all our money back because they have broken the terms

  • David Guerra 1 December, 2:51 pm

    A membership was set up for me without my consent even without signing documentation. When I called up to query they said I couldn’t cancel it , I also did advise them that I would take this further what can I do?

  • Thomas Johnson 6 December, 12:58 pm

    I recently joined a gym on-line for a 12 month contract. Very shortly after joining my working hours were changed which would have significantly limited the time I would get to use the gym and making the monthly fee not value for money.
    I attempted to use the 14 day cooling off period to cancel my membership but was told that as id used the gym once within this period then this renegade my ability to cancel.
    Does anyone know if this is correct? Or just a blatant attempt at fobbing me off?

  • Rammy 29 December, 4:46 pm

    My virginactive club has flooded with the recent weather problems here in Yorkshire. They say they are closed until further notice but that I can use their sister club in the city centre of Leeds.

    1. Can I cancel my membership because they are no longer providing me with a service at the place which I originally signed up to? I don’t want to go into leeds centre because it’s a nightmare to get into and I have to pay parking charges. The old place was v close to my home and ample free car parking.
    2. If I decide to accept leeds centre as the alternative provider, can ask virginactive to reimburse car parking charges that I did not encounter before ?
    Thanks for any advice.

  • sultana saeed 2 January, 9:57 pm

    Would like to cancel membership don’t no how can’t find the link need help plz

  • hayley 12 January, 7:32 am

    Hello. The gym has been taking a dd for my husband on a rolling contract with mine but he has never signed a contract or even picked up a pass. They wont cancel it until he signs but im reluctant to sign now when thet have taken hundreds of pounds from us. Is this allowed?

  • Laura 13 January, 9:23 pm

    I cancelled my gym membership
    9 months into the 12 month contract as the gym had no qualified staff that worked there and they kept changing the timetable that I originally joined up to. They was unprofessional and would brake confidentiality. I injured my back through a unqualified member teaching a class. I did not return back and cancelled my dd. I’m now having letters from the gym threatening me with a ccj if I do not pay the rest of the contract

  • Trudy Neal 19 January, 12:27 am

    Last February I joined my local authority gym. It was a monthly membership and not a 12 month contract as this suited me better. I got a discount as I worked for the NHS. After about 6 weeks I cancelled it as I realised I wasn’t going to use it by going into the gym and explaining and they cancelled it for me whilst I was there. About a month later the gym was contracted out to another company. I have just realised that every month I have still been paying but this time £33 per month which I didn’t agree too. I called my bank and under the direct debit mandate I have had my costs reimbursed but my fear is that I will now have all the usual threatening letters and bailiffs, court appearances etc. I cannot find the piece of paper cancelling the agreement and I cancelled it with my bank too. What can I do to avoid all this stress. I signed to a rolling monthly scheme to avoid all this ?

  • Sophie 4 February, 1:48 pm

    I called my gym to cancel my membership and they advised I needed to give 30 days notice, I also cancelled my direct debit. I have now received a letter saying I must pay my monthly fee plus a £10 late payment fee, which will increase if I do not pay now. Is this enforceable? Thankyou

  • Peggy 5 February, 7:55 pm

    I had ben taking a boot camp style class for about 2 months. One of the instructors was more militant so I usually did not take his classes. One week when the instructor I usually see was on vacation I went to the other instructor’s class. After warming up he broke us up into groups of 4/5 at different stations. The station I was at we were instructed to squat then jump into the center of a large tractor tire, then squat and jump over the other side. I can’t remember if anyone said anything or he just saw the looks on our faces and said if you can’t do that then jump over with one foot. On my second jump my right foot caught the inside of the tire on the right. I fell to the right putting out my arm to break my fall. My elbow bent in the wrong direction. It was dislocated, the ligaments were torn off and I broke the tip off the radius (elbow trifecta!) Of course I signed a waver releasing them of liability and the waiver introduces “assumption of risk”. Is there anything I can do? I live in NY. Thanks

  • Emma 8 February, 1:31 pm

    My husband has been unable to use David Lloyd for quite a while due to ill health and 2 major operations. They have allowed him to suspend his membership but in order for him to cancel they’ve said he has to reinstate his membership and give the usual 3 month cancellation period.
    Surely that’s unfair he physically can’t use it but they forcing him to pay to cancel. Can anyone offer any advice?

  • Renata 2 March, 9:27 pm


    I’ve had a contract with my gym for 12 months, I’ve ended paying for 13, as I wasn’t aware that my contract will roll over next month if I don’t cancel it. I went to the gym, said, I wasn’t notified and they said it will be another month before I can cancel my membership. They did nothing to help me, so I went to my bank and cancelled my direct debit. Now they sent me to debt collection firm and asking to pay for one month. It’s not big amount, but I feel it’s unfair on me, since I paid for over 13 months (hardly used it) and wasn’t notified at the beginning of my contract about the cancellation procedure and time. Can you please advise, as I am worried it could affect my credit score

  • Charlotte 29 April, 8:54 pm

    I enquired about taking up membership at an Energie gym, I was then called by a member of their team about joining and set up a direct debit over the phone. I advised the person I was speaking to over the phone that I was due to move abroad with my parents and he advised that I could cancel my membership in the case of relocation but would have to give a month’s notice. After setting up my direct debit I did not once attend the gym and was not sent a contract via post or email and therefore have NEVER SIGNED A CONTRACT. Nor was a contract read aloud to me on the phone for me to agree to when I gave my bank details to set up the direct debit. When the time came to relocate to France with my parents, I went into the gym (for the first time) to hand in my written notice of cancellation of my membership (of which I did not have a contract and so was technically not obliged to do). I gave the gym 1 months notice and ensured that this final month was paid for before cancelling my direct debit – I did this as a matter of courtesy as again, I HAVE NEVER SIGNED A CONTRACT. I have subsequently received letters from a 3rd party debt collection company trying to collect “arrears” for the months following the cancellation of my direct debit. The gym claims the cancellation of my membership was never agreed by them as they needed proof of my new address abroad before allowing cancellation. This was not asked if me when I originally handed in my written notice but I have since provided them with a utility bill to prove my new address. Surely they cannot reasonably claim arrears from me using this 3rd party when I was never contractually bound to their service and have given them notice as proof of new address? They are trying to claim for more than £240 worth of arrears and additional fees added by the 3rd party ‘Harlands’. I am not willing to pay any of this as it is not rightly owed but ‘Harlands’ are now threatening to sell my debt to yet another company and I am extremely concerned about this – please can you advise me of my rights in this situation? Many thanks!

  • Ross 5 May, 4:55 pm

    I am also tied in to a 12 month contract but wish to leave. However there is no reference to cancellations in the contract or the subsequent consequences. The only mention of cancellation is the 14 day “cool off” at the start if you decide to back out then.

    So can they really pursue anything if they have not outlined in the contract that you are actually in breach if you cancel your DD and stop going?

  • Chris 27 May, 6:20 am

    we joined our local swimming pool last week with a family membership package and set up a dd, went this week and we’re told that we were supposed to pay the first month upfront and a joining fee.
    We were not told about the joining fee and there is no mention of out in any literature do I have to pay it?

  • Helen 26 July, 4:23 pm

    My husband has spoken to my local gym about me and the gym has started a gym membership by not even speaking to me first. Shally this is wrong!!
    How can a random go in a gym give them a debit card with a woman’s details on… and the gym open a account without speaking to the person on the card!
    What do I do??

  • kirsty 4 August, 4:23 pm

    Hi my direct debit was due to go out on the 1st when will it go back out again? Thanks.

  • Nikki 6 September, 10:09 am

    I have just left my gym after four months payments,I thought I paid each month for a month unlimited use,I was never given a contract to sign or told I needed one,now I have told them I’m no longer going they have told me I have to pay the full year up to date as I signed the agreement for a year,I was never told this until I cancelled going there,they have said they will take me to court,I was never told any terms or conditions to unlimited monthly payments which I paid in cash,I was never told that this was a year contract,but as I was never shown or given one can they insist I pay or take me to court for the rest of the years money

  • Julia 6 September, 4:46 pm

    I joined dw fitness in 2013 and was told that at 60 the monthly rate would be reduced. Just spoke to them to alter direct debit but was informed that the offer was withdrawn four days ago and altered to age 65 . I wasn’t informed and the age 69 was on net this morning but now altered. Can they change without notice.

  • Robert Mc Connell 7 September, 1:27 pm

    I think you will find that you signed a contract if you have not then they have no rights what so ever. So just forget it. Ask them to produce the contract.. Remember keep records. Go by the principal if it’s not written down it never happened. Send copies to your MP.,so he or she can get information to change the law to protect people like you against big companies. They are doing this every day so I suspect they have got you.

  • Hugh Harrison 14 September, 2:05 pm

    Can a 17 enter into a rolling gym contact legally.

  • Peter moye 12 October, 9:14 am

    Gyms are constantly being taken over. My old gym cost 41.75 pounds pcm. The takeover gym did not inform me they were charging19.99 PCM… do they not have a duty to inform me to change or at least know new rates others pay… my partner and I have been overpaying 43 pounds PCM…. ???

  • Lee Mangan 23 October, 9:20 am

    I signed up on line for JD Gym prior to it opening, I suffered an injury and made contact with them to cancel.

    I thought was end of matter. I have never physically entered the gym, had a induction, been given a welcome to Gym, joining instructors etc. There is no record of me at the gym or using its facilities, I cancelled DD and my bank made indemnity cliam.

    I’ve been told I have to pay back. Conveniently there is no record of my phone call.

    Where does the land lie?

    Many thanks

  • Jordan 5 November, 7:24 am


    I’m stuck In a 24 month contract. When I visited the gym , The manager of the gym wanted me to sign a contract there and then, I felt pressured and did not allow me any time to look at the small print and terms on the contract or to also take away the contract to be looked at by somone with law and legislation knowledge. He also said at the time of signing I would be allowed to cancel anytime. A few weeks later I wanted to cancel, partly as I did not want to go to that gym anymore and also because I came to my end of service from my last job in the military, making me unemployed at that time and unable to pay the direct debits . I called there Finance company and they said I was locked into this contract for 24 months. The manager basically lied to my face. I’ve tried writing letters to the finance company about my rights and using the correct legislation to cancel. But they do not answer my questions and only ask for bills that I owe ?

    Kind regards.

    Jordan Smith.

  • Jeff dobbs 8 November, 9:55 am

    Hi, if my home gym closes and I cannot make it to another gym in that franchise that I have been offered can I gat my joining fee back?
    Thanks inadvance

  • Leah 21 November, 7:26 pm


    I joined a gym last year in November time if I can remember correctly, and I then left the job I was at due to certain reasons, and I was working part time at a pub so I couldn’t afford to pay for the gym so I cancelled my membership but I got a letter stating if I didn’t pay £135 it was going to go up to £410 I think it was that, and that was because I cancelled my membership but they was still charging me which I didn’t know, so I wasn’t paying the membership as I cancelled it and didn’t think I had to as I wasn’t using the gym anymore anyway I obviously couldn’t afford to pay that as I was only working part time and I have a phone bill to pay for, so I didn’t pay it but I didn’t ring them either because by the time I got the letter it was too late, so now they have charged me £410 and it is now being dealt with a debt company and I have to pay back £25 a month until the £410 is cleared. I don’t think this is fair at all.

  • frankie 1 December, 10:56 am

    I joined fitness first in middle of September I don’t have direct debit facility,so they agreed to take my monthly payment as a subscription.two weeks later I had to cancel due to health reasons ,I have osteoarthritis in both hips,which I have explained to them yet they still saying I owe them 377 pounds can you advise me pls

  • James 1 December, 8:50 pm

    Hi all, needing assistance – I had written to my gym to cancel my membership, I hadn’t heard anything back from them so totally forgot about it until I had reminder emails telling me not to forget to pay again. Upon emailing the gym they now say as I didn’t send the letter recorded delivery and chase this up I am now liable to pay for a further three months. The gym in question is David Lloyd – it’s facilities are absolutely disgusting with a mop bucket under urinals, blocked toilets and the stench of urine in the changing rooms.

    I do not wish to pay more money for this terrible gym

  • Ana 4 December, 6:43 pm


    I have been with David LLoyds for almost 2 years and last week I received an e-mail saying that the prices are incrising.
    I have just changed my job and my salary is not great and it has been difficult for me to keep paying the gym so I have decided to cancel my membership.

    I have sent an e-mail cancelling my membership and they have said in accordance with my T&C your membership will be due to end on 1st March 2017.

    My question is Do I still have to pay even if they have increased the price and I can not afford it?
    I have just paid for December.

  • Emily 25 December, 8:07 pm

    I signed A 12 month contract for a gym membership 4 years ago, I cancelled the membership as soon as the 12 month period was up, I’ve just noticed that I have still been paying $15.95 a week for 3 years ever since I cancelled the membership..
    Am I able to be reinbursted?

  • Karlie 23 January, 11:54 am

    I range 2 months before my year ended at the gym to say I didn’t want to renew after the year due to trying for a baby. They woman said it was all ok over the phone and sorted it. I recently discovered they had still been taking money from my account for 14months! I have not used the gym once which they will see on their system. I rang to see what’s happened and about getting my money back amd they are saying I should have put it in writing. I argued if that was the case why did the woman on the phone not say that when I rang? They said it’s in my contract so I have asked to see a copy of this that I have signed. I don’t ever remember this being explained or seeing it and only signed up to the year.
    It’s been a week and they are still yet to find a copy of my contract. What are my rights? If they don’t have a contract then am I entitled to my money back? Also of I have rang to cancel and they continued to take money where do I stand if this isn’t outlined in a contract?

  • Hollie 4 February, 2:58 am

    I am a little less than halfway through my gym contract but on the contract it says I have to be a minimum 1 year member in order to cancel membership. I was wondering if there is any way I could get out of it before then.

  • Maxine Robb 9 February, 3:38 pm

    I was wondering could I claim back my monthly fees on gym membership which I have not been able to use due to illness. I had to send a letter from my doctor which had to be stamped before I could cancel my direct debit.

  • Andy 9 June, 8:26 am

    Hi , I signed up to jd gyms before they had even built the gym at a monthly cost of £15.99 . They have now been opened a year and have emailed to say they are putting the payment up to £19.99 to bring it in line with other members.

    When I joined and after looking back through all correspondence at no point does it say they’ll be changing my membership

    Is this legal ?