New Code gets fitness industry into shape

Gone are the days where a gym is the only destination available for fitness lovers looking for a structured work-out.

Nowadays, you can find boot-camps in local parks, employ a personal trainer or even stream ‘virtual’ work-out sessions online from the comfort of home.

Whichever exercise method best suits your lifestyle, there’s little doubt Western Australia’s fitness industry has undergone a major revolution in recent years and the legislation is now catching up to provide better consumer protection for all involved.

Due to take effect on July 1 2021, the updated mandatory Fitness Code was developed after extensive consultation with the public and industry and will introduce a number of changes to how fitness providers conduct their business.

The cooling-off period for contracts will be extended from 48 hours to seven days, meaning consumers will be able to cancel a contract within a week of signing up, while transparent pricing will make it easier to compare the value of different fitness services.

Membership agreements are to include a summary statement to help consumers understand their responsibilities and state whether it involves an ongoing month-to-month renewal or is a fixed term contract of no longer than 12 months.

Given the cancellation of gym memberships continues to raise issues for consumers, a number of changes have been made to simplify this process.

No longer will consumers need to arrive in-person to cancel their memberships – they can now cancel online in the knowledge this will result in the immediate termination of direct debit arrangements.

Fitness providers will also need to notify members before the automatic renewal of their memberships so they can cancel without penalty.

When it comes to cancellation fees, these must be fully disclosed in the contract and are required to reflect the reasonable administration costs associated with the termination of the agreement.

Given Consumer Protection has received 1,000 enquiries and complaints about the fitness industry in the last two years, we hope the new Fitness Code will go a long way towards preventing many of the common grievances.

The Fitness Industry Code of Practice can be viewed on the Consumer Protection website.

Commissioner for Consumer Protection, Lanie Chopping
Commissioner for Consumer Protection, Lanie Chopping, by fpennington
Commissioner for Consumer Protection, Lanie Chopping.

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