Author Topic: Help getting out of my gym membership contract  (Read 7208 times)

JSanders

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Help getting out of my gym membership contract
« on: April 27, 2014, 09:51:41 AM »
I am a long-time reader/lurker, first-time poster.

I was fortunate to come across MMM right as I was starting my first job out of grad school so have a solid foundation already, but one bad decision I made pre-MMM lifestyle was signing up for a long-term gym membership that I am not using. I signed up for a 3-year term about 1.5 years ago. I got a pretty good monthly rate compared to other gyms in my area (20 per month) but of course had to sign up for 3 years to get that "deal." When I signed up, the contract has language that if I were to move I could cancel my contract with no penalty. I was about 90% sure I was going to be moving to another state after the winter months, but ultimately did not move. Now I am stuck with the gym charging me 20 per month until November 2015, and I am hardly using it because since adopting MMM lifestyle I don't want to drive my car to the gym and have tried to exercise outdoors as much as possible.

Here is the kicker: the contract I signed says "I understand that my membership is non-cancellable", except the provision about moving to a different area. So I've understood my only options to be

a) to pay $360 to get out of the contract today, which amount is the remaining balance owed (18 months x 20 dollars per month)
b) continue to pay $20 per month and attempt to get some use out of the gym membership in the time remaining

I did get married during the first year of this contract and attempted to get the gym to cancel my existing contract if I signed up for some other shorter-term option that would allow my wife to join, but the gym declined, showcasing their inflexibility.

Has anyone else had any luck getting out of a similar contract without the financial penalty? Or have suggestions for what I could do? Every month I see $20 pulled from my account for this I keep thinking that is $20 less for a retirement account. Any help would be appreciated!




Daleth

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Re: Help getting out of my gym membership contract
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2014, 10:09:35 AM »
Tell them you're moving. What are they going to do, ask for a note from your moving company? Just make up a convincing story about where and when you're moving.

DoubleDown

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Re: Help getting out of my gym membership contract
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2014, 10:52:44 AM »
Perhaps you could transfer your membership? That's often an effective strategy for getting out of similar arrangements like apartment or car leases, unless the contract specifically prohibits it. It's a win-win for you and the gym. It would probably be very easy to find someone who would gladly take over that low-cost contract (and you could even sweeten the deal if necessary, say, by paying a lump sum equivalent of $5/month to the buyer). Then you let the gym know you have someone who's ready to take over the membership and you can both sign whatever paperwork is necessary.

If they're still inflexible, you might talk to a manager and let them know that you're bringing them a paying customer who is keeping the gym 100% whole in regards to your contract, and if they're not satisfied with that, the alternative could be getting $0/month from you if/when you stop paying entirely. They probably don't want to go to collections for $20/month, but it is easy for them to just keep telling you "No" until they get an incentive to do otherwise.

ShortInSeattle

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Re: Help getting out of my gym membership contract
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2014, 11:16:49 AM »
Pay the $360 and view it as a valuable education in avoiding similar mistakes in the future.

A Lannister pays his debts....

Sorry. Just finished reading Game of Thrones. :)

Seriously - You made a gamble and you lost. You owe the money. Cut the cord and be free.

Rube

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Re: Help getting out of my gym membership contract
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2014, 12:27:49 PM »
I don't get the idea of a self-imposed buyout if you can spread it out. Just pay it, use it when you get a chance and if you don't go, don't sweat the $20. Ha! See what I did there?

chasesfish

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Re: Help getting out of my gym membership contract
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2014, 02:23:42 PM »
You signed the contract, pay it over the 18 months and go ahead and give them advance notice in writing that you're canceling as of the date the contract ends (lots of them require 30 days plus a month end as a way to squeeze two more months of dues out of you)

Use it some when you have time.

griffin

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Re: Help getting out of my gym membership contract
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2014, 03:15:56 PM »
Take 20 dollars worth of towels everytime you visit :)
On a more serious note, $20 a month is a pretty good price and now that its a bit nicer out you could probably bike/run to the gym. No idea what your fitness goals are, but strength training can be a lot of fun and is difficult to do outdoors. One thing I definitely wouldn't do is pay it out right away; why would you want to cancel the contract early, and why would you want to give them money early?
Also, depending on how you check in (i.e. if its just a swiping badge), perhaps you could sell your membership to someone else? Might be worth checking.
Good luck!

golfer44

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Re: Help getting out of my gym membership contract
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2014, 06:35:16 PM »
You signed it, didn't you? End of story IMO.


DoubleDown

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Re: Help getting out of my gym membership contract
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2014, 08:25:30 PM »
I don't understand folks giving the OP a hard time here, particularly a first-time poster. Why the dismissive  attitude about $20/month that's going unused, or a situation just about anyone could find themselves in? I bought my whole weight bench, barbells, plates, and dumbbells for about $300 that have lasted for 10+ years and should have decades more to go. Or you could buy a nice bike on Craigslist which might resonate more for a lot of folks on this site. I, for one,can appreciate wanting to get out of that contract and do something more meaningful with the money.

Good luck JSanders, I hope you can transfer that membership to get out of your contract. I think you have the right frame of mind trying to ditch unwanted expenses on your quest to FI.

golfer44

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Re: Help getting out of my gym membership contract
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2014, 08:51:52 PM »
I don't understand folks giving the OP a hard time here, particularly a first-time poster. Why the dismissive  attitude about $20/month that's going unused, or a situation just about anyone could find themselves in?

If this was directed even in part at me, I'm giving him a hard time because he's looking for an easy way out of an obligation he 100% agreed to. It has nothing to do with an unused $20/month.

chasesfish

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Re: Help getting out of my gym membership contract
« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2014, 04:38:02 AM »
I don't understand folks giving the OP a hard time here, particularly a first-time poster. Why the dismissive  attitude about $20/month that's going unused, or a situation just about anyone could find themselves in? I bought my whole weight bench, barbells, plates, and dumbbells for about $300 that have lasted for 10+ years and should have decades more to go. Or you could buy a nice bike on Craigslist which might resonate more for a lot of folks on this site. I, for one,can appreciate wanting to get out of that contract and do something more meaningful with the money.

Good luck JSanders, I hope you can transfer that membership to get out of your contract. I think you have the right frame of mind trying to ditch unwanted expenses on your quest to FI.

I appreciate his attempt, but there really isn't a way out of this contract without lying.  If he stops paying or blocks the charge, then he gets the joys of a large, professional collection agency.

GuitarStv

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Re: Help getting out of my gym membership contract
« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2014, 06:11:08 AM »
If you go into the gym and start throwing plates/exercise equipment around the room would they ban you from the gym thus ending the contract?

Rube

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Re: Help getting out of my gym membership contract
« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2014, 09:36:13 AM »
I don't understand folks giving the OP a hard time here, particularly a first-time poster. Why the dismissive  attitude about $20/month that's going unused, or a situation just about anyone could find themselves in? I bought my whole weight bench, barbells, plates, and dumbbells for about $300 that have lasted for 10+ years and should have decades more to go. Or you could buy a nice bike on Craigslist which might resonate more for a lot of folks on this site. I, for one,can appreciate wanting to get out of that contract and do something more meaningful with the money.

Good luck JSanders, I hope you can transfer that membership to get out of your contract. I think you have the right frame of mind trying to ditch unwanted expenses on your quest to FI.

No hard time intended. But there's a contract at play here.  He already tried negotiating a cancellation and a change. Options are limited and as I see this situation include:

1. Pay every month as promised and complete the contract.

2. Move to whatever geographic area will qualify for a cancellation.

3. Quit paying the dues and move on. I think there will be a collection agency and a credit score ding involved.

4. Take some sort of legal action on grounds I'm not aware of. That will likely result in arbitration (agreed to in the contract) at a site many states away and probably some professional fees.

There's no dismissive attitude about $20 a month on my part. But do numbers 2, 3 or 4 seem like he'll be ahead of where he is now? The $360 just needs to be applied toward tuition at School Of Life.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Help getting out of my gym membership contract
« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2014, 11:25:46 AM »
I'd ask a manager if they can make an exception. Be nice about it.

If they say no, then keep paying the $20/mo. Maybe in a few months you'll be wanting to use it again. You never know.

Greg

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Re: Help getting out of my gym membership contract
« Reply #14 on: April 28, 2014, 11:48:56 AM »
I would also consider getting some legal help.  In some states, the law may allow you to cancel the membership regardless of what language you signed to in the contract.  Worth finding a free consultation with a lawyer.

JPinDC

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Re: Help getting out of my gym membership contract
« Reply #15 on: April 28, 2014, 11:56:54 AM »
Is there an option to cancel for a flat fee? If they're unwilling to forgive it, you could consider offering half as a flat fee right now to cancel...worth a shot.

JSanders

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Re: Help getting out of my gym membership contract
« Reply #16 on: April 28, 2014, 04:24:07 PM »
Thanks for the responses and thoughts. I definitely learned a lesson from signing this contract, I just feel fortunate this was the only regrettable purchase I made before finding MMM. There is not a flat fee buyout for less than the remaining balance, but I may try that anyway. It's worth a shot.

Rube

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Re: Help getting out of my gym membership contract
« Reply #17 on: April 28, 2014, 07:12:40 PM »
BTW, I have made plenty of decisions I didn't think through first!