Sun, Jan 14, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Group fights ‘illegal’ gym membership, trainer transfer bans

TRICKY BUSINESS:Gyms use a variety of tactics to stop membership transfers, including requiring proof of a job or address change or a medical certificate

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Fitness gyms are not allowed to prohibit members from transferring unused portions of their memberships, including personal trainer courses, to other consumers, the Consumer Protection Committee said.

A total of 75 consumer dispute cases associated with transferring gym memberships and personal trainer courses were filed last year, the association said, adding that gyms have used different excuses to forbid transfers or require additional payment.

Claimants in 35 of the cases were asked to submit additional documentation, such as a medical certificate, or documents proving a job or address change, while others imposed a limitation of one transfer per membership or other requirements.

Some transfer requests were denied outright, while others imposed penalties and made the process deliberately difficult, which is a unilateral change of contract terms after signing, some consumers said.

According to the Mandatory and Prohibitory Provisions to be Included in Standard-Form Contracts for Fitness Centers (健身中心定型化契約應記載及不得記載事項), consumers have the right to transfer their memberships to other people, the committee said.

Gyms are not allowed to request a transaction fee exceeding NT$300 for a membership transfer and cannot forbid or charge any fee for the transfer of personal trainer courses, it said.

The majority of cases were caused by unreasonable rules imposed by the gyms, the committee said, urging consumers to assert their rights and for gym companies to heed the law.

It also urged consumers not to sign contracts hurriedly and said that consumers can report cases to local consumer welfare groups, local governmental consumer service centers or the committee’s Web site (www.cpc.ey.gov.tw).

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