A 10-day cooling-off period.
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of a club when touring the facility, but interest sometimes cools once you’ve had time to think about it. Under the Consumer Protection Act, 2002, you have the right to cancel within 10 days of receiving a written copy of the agreement or the day all the services in the agreement are available, whichever is later. You don’t need a reason to cancel. All you need is to provide notice to the supplier.
Club owners may pre-sell memberships before the club is open, but the money must be held by a registered trust corporation that acts as a trustee.
The Consumer Protection Act, 2002, offers special protection for consumers who join a club that has not yet opened if the consumer is not using another club in the interim. If you agree in writing to use another club, you have only 10 days from the start of those services at that club to cancel your contract.
A notice to cancel may be given in several ways.
You could hand deliver it (get a signature on a delivery receipt and keep it) or send it by registered mail. Registered mail may be the best option, as it confirms delivery. Make sure you keep a copy for your records.
You may use the facility during the 10-day cancellation period.
If you’re joining a new club, take advantage of the 10-day cancellation period to make sure you’re happy with your choice.
Initiation fees may not total more than twice the annual membership fee.
The club must offer you the option of paying membership dues and any initiation fees in monthly instalments.
It can charge up to 25 per cent more than the total would be if payment were made upfront – but there’s no danger of a big loss if the club goes bankrupt.
All contracts must end after one year.
Contracts may be renewed only if the supplier complies with certain rules, including:
If you received a renewal notice and did not respond to it, the club has the right to renew and bill you under the renewed contract.
If your membership is renewed without notice, send the company a letter asking that the contract be terminated.
You can also demand back any money paid after the original contract ended.
Under law, there’s a minimum warranty on the quality of services.
In short, the services must be of reasonable acceptable quality. If they aren’t, you should consider filing a complaint.
Personal development service agreements must disclose certain required information.
If a company isn’t delivering on the contract or if you encounter an aspect that wasn’t disclosed but was required to be by law as part of the deal (e.g. an annual renewal fee), you have the right to cancel within one year.
A contract may not add clauses that dispense with your basic rights under law (e.g. they can’t attempt to negate the 10-day cooling-off period).
You have the right to cancel within one year if you can show you have been the victim of unfair business practices.
The best way to do this is by sending a registered or hand-delivered letter. To find out more, see filing a complaint.