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How Can I Get Out of My Gym Membership Contract?

Ask Savvy: How Can I Get Out of My Gym Membership?

Dear Savvy,

I've been trying to cancel my gym contract and the gym guy is making it impossible to get a hold of him to even discuss it. He said we could talk about canceling or reducing the rate, but every time I call and get an answer, he simply says to email him. Then, I get no response and when I call back, I get voice mail. When I go in during staffed hours, no one is available to help me.

I'm canceling because there is a trainer there who is like a pushy sales person and makes me uncomfortable. She calls, emails, and is just generally overbearing — she even tried to sell me a wristband on the treadmill. I couldn't imagine the regular customer service would be this bad, too.

I changed my credit card information on the website, because if this takes more than a month to figure out I'm disputing the charges. I know it's a contract and I signed it, but is there anything I can do?

To see my answer, just read more.

Savvy says: Think twice about changing your credit card information on the sly — just because the salesman is dodging you doesn't mean you should dodge payment. It undermines your case and could put your credit at risk when they don't receive payment from a contracted customer; I wouldn't be surprised if down the road debt collectors come calling for the money you owe. Be responsible and handle this another way.

You're obviously not getting anywhere with the gym staff, so take the issue higher. Get in touch with a supervisor, and if that person doesn't help you continue up the ladder. Explain your situation calmly and mention that customer service has been all around unsatisfactory. Plenty of gyms are hurting for customers these days, and I'd be surprised if a supervisor didn't do her best to keep you as a client. Maybe that means reducing your membership rate or allowing you to negotiate a month-to-month membership.

If you'd rather be done with the place altogether, read through the contract you signed and locate the section that lays out the cancellation process. Typically, there is an exit fee involved with breaking the contract, but it may be worth it to you.

Source: Getty
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