Gyms across the country are opening back up and resuming membership fees that have been frozen for the last few months. However, given the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, only 16% of U.S. adults feel comfortable going back to the gym in the next month, according to September data from Morning Consult. Instead, some consumers are stocking up on winter activewear to be able to brave the weather and exercise outdoors, while others are trying to enhance their at-home workouts.
Despite the pandemic, you'll probably have to honor the terms of your gym contract, says Kristin McGrath, shopping expert at Offers.com: "It's very unlikely your gym will allow you to ditch your contract due to concerns about Covid-19 alone."
Still, there are steps you can take to try to cancel your membership if your gym has started charging you again. Here are do's and don'ts that might help you get out of your gym contract.
Gym membership contracts are usually canceled face-to-face, says Andrea Woroch, consumer savings expert. If you're comfortable visiting your gym, that might be the best way to state your case.
"If the gyms are open, go in person and request to speak with a sales person, explaining that you haven't been able to get a hold of anyone," Woroch says.
If you don't want to visit the gym, try calling the "new membership" line to be connected with an employee, McGrath suggests. Still, she says, "there is no guarantee that someone focused on sales will be able to help you get out of your contract."
Or consider sending an email. "You may face similar delays [as you would by calling] in getting a response, but at least you have the documentation and aren't waiting on hold," McGrath says.
Covid-19 is most likely not listed as a reason you can cancel your membership, but if you read over your agreement you might find another reason that applies to your situation.
"Some gyms might allow you to exit your contract if you've lost your job or moved a certain distance away from the nearest location," McGrath says. "So think beyond Covid-19 concerns and see if there are any other contract terms that might help you get out of your contract."
Because gyms have been closed, your membership has probably been frozen. If your gym opened back up, you might start seeing the monthly charge reappear on your credit card statement. But remember: To cancel the charges, you need to talk to your gym, not your credit card company.
"You agreed to those charges originally, so a credit card dispute will likely just land you back where you started once the bank confirms with the gym," McGrath says.
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