Can we stop the time right now?

Trouble about termination - this is how you enforce your rights at the gym

A contract is a contract - this old principle also applies in times of corona. But recreational athletes keep reporting to the consumer advice centers because they have contract problems with their gym. In several cases during the corona pandemic, the members had terminated their current contracts in due time at the end of the respective contract. The studios then confirmed the termination at a much later point in time.

From our point of view this is not okay. In our opinion, the term specified in the contract also applies if the fitness studio had to close temporarily due to the corona pandemic.

What is important for an ordinary termination

It is important that your termination is received by the studio on time. This means that you must adhere to the notice period agreed in the contract. The receipt of the notice of termination should also be verifiable. This can be achieved, for example, by being sent by post as registered mail with acknowledgment of receipt or by fax with a qualified delivery report. If there is later a dispute as to whether the termination was given in due time, these documents will help with the proof.

From the point in time at which the timely termination applies, you should in any case stop the payments or revoke the direct debit. If you pay by direct debit, you can not only declare the termination to the gym, but should also write to them that they are revoking the direct debit authorization. If the fitness studio continues to book unlawful amounts, these can then be fetched back via your own bank.

Unilateral extension of the contract period is controversial

If the fitness studio unilaterally extends the contract period by the time the studio was closed, this is not permissible in our view. We believe that such an extension is only possible with the consent of consumers.

What those affected should also know, however: Recently, some first instance judgments have been issued in which it was decided that the companies can also unilaterally - without the consent of the customers - extend the contracts by the time of the closure. It is argued that a contract adjustment must be made and the studio can therefore extend the contract term by the time of the closure. A supreme court decision on this issue has not yet been made. So if you let it come down to a court case on this question, is currently taking some risk.

In general, if your studio offers a free extension of the contract in return for the Corona months, you can definitely accept such solutions if this is possible for you. The corona crisis hits many companies and their employees hard, especially in times of lockdowns, like now again in winter and spring 2021.

This content was created by the consumer centers Schleswig-Holstein and North Rhine-Westphalia for the network of consumer centers in Germany.