What is the difference between a contractand an agreement?

I joined a gym nearly a year ago. I got a “membership agreement”. I specifically requested for a couple of stipulations in order for me to join the gym. The salesman wrote them on the special instructions – “month to month, no contract”. Within the small print of the agreement it states, “To terminate the membership at the end of the contractual period, member must send a written request, certified mail return receipt requested to the club 60 days prior to frequency date” and “the buyer is obligated to pay any collection and/or legal costs incurred by management pursuant to enforcing the financial obligation of the member”. Am I bound to pay anything or give any advanced notice upon cancellation based on this scenario?

Asked on December 1, 2011 under General Practice, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

A contract is an agreement, and vice versa--the words may be used interchangeably.

The language you quote from the contract or agreement is confusing and ambiguous--for example, it is unclear what  is meant by "frequency date." To answer your question definitively, you need to bring the agreement to an attorney, so (s)he can review the entire document in detail--often, one section will shed light on or affect another.

That said, a reasonable interpretion of what you quote is that:

1) "Month to month, no contract" means that there is no fixed term; rather, like a month to month lease, you are only obligated for one month at a time and could theoretically cancel on one month's notice.

2) However, the above is contradicted at least in part by the landugage about 60 days notice, which would seem to indicate that the contract is one which renews--so renews for successive months--automatically unless 60 days prior notice of nonrewal is given.

As stated, for a definitive answer, you need an attorny to actually review this document for you.


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