Legal Question in Consumer Law in Maryland

Fraudulent Oral Misrepresentation of Gym Membership Contract.

In May 2010 I was given a promotion coupon to try local fitness club for a week.

In the club I was told that I have to sign a contract for trial period of six weeks and pay monthly membership that is fully refundable if I decide to cancel within six weeks. If I decide to continue it would be on month-by-month basis.

I specifically asked the sales manager if I could cancel it after few months, as I knew that my visa was ending in September 2010 and I would have to leave the country. He reassured me that all I have to do is to notify the club by the end of the month, and they will cancel my membership.

When I asked him to show me the contract itself he promised to give it to me later, and started handing me bunch of pages on schedules, classes and other materials.

Distract by all these materials, I finally signed the contract without reading fine print on the following pages.

When I contacted the club three months after asking them to cancel my membership, they responded that I have signed an annual contract and would have to pay for all 12 month before I could terminate this contract. They sent me a scanned copy of the contract that indeed says that during initial period (12 month) the only way terminate the contract is if “…the member dies”.

Is there any way to hold this sales person responsible for such business practice?

Another interesting fact is that the contract has the name of sales person but it is not signed by him or any other party representing the club. Does it make any difference?

Asked on 8/31/10, 3:57 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Phillip M. Cook Cook Legal Services, LLC

It depends. Would need to see the contract terms. Also, as to whether the other party signed the contract -- if they didn't sign, you may have an oral contract, but likely no written contract. Hire a Maryland attorney to send a letter on your behalf telling the company to back off.

Best of luck.********The above is for informational purposes and does not create an attorney-client privilege.********

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Answered on 9/05/10, 4:47 pm

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