Legal Question in Consumer Law in Georgia

Cancel a Gym Membership

My 18 yr old received a call that she had won a free membership to a local gym. When she went in to see about it, she was talked into signing a 2 year contract at $29.99 per month with a $145.00 down payment. She signed the contract yesterday (Tues) and today, went back to cancel it.

She was told she could not cancel. I thought there is a law that allows you to cancel a contract within 3 business days? Is there any way to cancel this contract?

Thank you.

Asked on 11/16/05, 11:24 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

Glen Ashman Ashman Law Office
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Re: Cancel a Gym Membership

Most contracts in Georgia cannot be cancelled. However, health spa contracts can. Report this unethical business to the Governors Office of Consumer Affairs tommorow, as they come down hard on shady health spa operators.

The Georgia Fair Business Practices Act (FBPA) allows a cancellation or cooling-off period for health clubs. Health spa or fitness center memberships can be canceled up to 12:00 midnight of the seventh day after a contract is signed.

Each contract must contain a paragraph explaining your cancellation rights in detail. If you have used the contracted services during this seven-day period, you are still entitled to a partial refund, which you should receive within 30 days.

Do a written cancellation in a way that you can prove delivery. Save a copy. I suggest, to avoid delay, that you use express mail and require a signature and get a return recipt card on it.

Make sure you do a complaint to the state as well. Be sure to give the name of the employee that lied about cancellation rights. Send your complaint to: Governor's Office of Consumer Affairs

2 Martin Luther King Jr., Drive SE, Suite 356

Atlanta, Georgia 30334

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11/16/05, 11:47 pm
Scott Riddle Law Office of Scott B. Riddle, LLC
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Re: Cancel a Gym Membership

There is a law (see note below!) that allows one to cancel a health club contract within 3 days, and that notice must be provided in the contract. Please review the contract, and if the notice is in there, cancel according to the terms, or by BOTH certified and first class mail with copies maintained by you. If is is a chain, the notice is likely in there, but if not, send the letters and refer to the law. You can do a google search for health club, cancel, law, Georgia (or similar relevant terms). Since you are at the last day, you may FedEx the letter, but still send it first class as well.

If they refuse to honor the cancellation, or it shows on a credit report later, check back to see what you can do. Hopefully, it will not be an issue.

IMPORTANT -- For those reading this that may believe they have a right to cancel any contract within 3 days, that is incorrect. It seems many people believe this. When you sign a contract, read it and understand it, and assume when you sign you are bound from that moment on. This includes buying a car. There are RARE exceptions to this -- one is health clubs, the issue in this question, and another is when a salesman visits your home and you sign a contract there. Never sign a contract unless you read it and understand it, and choose to be bound by the contract. High pressure sales tactics (short of fraud) is not a defense to a contract action.

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11/17/05, 6:59 am
Scott Riddle Law Office of Scott B. Riddle, LLC
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Important Note....

I saw that I incorrectly said 3 days to cancel instead of 7, as Mr. Ashman noted in his reply.

The law is too long to post here, but you can access it at the following URL --

http://www.legis.state.ga.us/cgi-bin/gl_codes_detail.pl?code=10-1-393.2

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11/17/05, 7:14 am

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