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If you operate a gym, you must cover several key things in your terms and conditions. The terms and conditions will form a legally binding agreement between you and your clients. Clients should receive a copy of and accept your gym’s terms and conditions before they use it or sign up for a membership. This article explains what you should include in your gym’s terms and conditions.
Walk-in clients are easy to deal with. They come in, pay an entry fee, and you provide them with equipment, classes or other services available at your facility. However, you should obtain their active consent to the terms and conditions before they sign up. When members sign-up, you need to have a client agreement in two parts, which include a:
- membership form for the client to fill in and sign; and
- set of general terms and conditions.
A well-drafted client agreement should address the issues outlined below.
Many gyms offer different types of memberships. To avoid disputes, you must establish what each membership includes and does not include within the client agreement. Additionally, you should detail whether you require the client to adhere to a minimum commitment period. For long-term contracts, you will likely need a ‘cooling off’ period wherein clients can cancel the membership without penalty. You can include such details in the membership form. This allows the client to view and choose which membership level best suits their needs.Continue reading this article below the form
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Fees and Invoicing
As with any business, you must clarify your fees and how you will charge your clients. For example, if you charge a sign-up fee, in addition to any membership fees, you must indicate this sign-up fee in the client agreement.
With gym memberships, the standard practice requires payment in advance, either fortnightly or monthly. Therefore, it is typical for gyms to require 14 to 28 days’ notice for clients to terminate their membership.
You can also state in your terms and conditions that you reserve the right to terminate a client’s membership immediately under certain circumstances. For example, suppose the client fails to adhere to the gym code of conduct, breaching the terms and conditions. In that case, you may give yourself the right to terminate their membership immediately without allowing for a refund.
Some of your clients may wish to suspend their membership. Allowing your clients to suspend their membership for a set period might be an excellent alternative to clients terminating their membership. If you allow this, you should set out the procedure the client must take to notify you of their intention to suspend their membership. Furthermore, you may wish to set a time limit for suspension.
This is an important issue for gyms. You must include a section in your terms and conditions detailing that your clients know they are using the equipment and attending classes at their own risk. It is vital you clearly indicate that your business and employees will not be liable for any loss, injury or damage that a client suffers from using the equipment incorrectly or not adhering to health safety instructions. Ideally, you should also require your clients to ensure that their health, age and medical circumstances are appropriate for any exercises they undertake.
Additionally, you may also wish to include a provision regarding COVID-19 health obligations. For example, this may state that all members must observe applicable laws and health and safety measures you implement to limit the spread of COVID-19. You can also seek to limit your liability by stating that the client assumes all risks associated with their potential exposure to COVID-19 at your gym.
Whilst you can seek to limit your liability, you should note that the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) requires you to provide mandatory consumer guarantees. In addition to the consumer guarantees, the ACL may require you to comply with additional legislative requirements. For example, suppose a client signs up following a door-to-door or telephone sales pitch. In that case, the client may have additional consumer rights, including a 10-day ‘cooling off’ period wherein they may cancel their membership without penalty. You should take special care when advertising your gym and offering referral vouchers, as they must comply with ACL’s referral requirements. Furthermore, the ACL also protects consumers from unfair terms. Overall, you must ensure that your business has a refund policy that complies with the ACL and allows for refunds in certain circumstances.
- claim your copyright and intellectual property rights;
- exclude liability for reliance on the website; and
- set out permissible and prohibited uses of your website, including that competitors cannot use your website information.
- what personal information your business collects;
- how you use this information; and
- under what circumstances you will disclose the information to third parties (for example, using the information for direct marketing).
If you need help with drafting your gym terms and conditions, our experienced contract lawyers can assist as part of our LegalVision membership. For a low monthly fee, you will have unlimited access to lawyers to answer your questions and draft and review your documents. Call us today on 1300 544 755 or visit our membership page.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, your business is compelled to provide the consumer guarantees required under the Australian Consumer Law.
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