How can I legally terminate my gym membership?

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How can I legally terminate my gym membership?

I signed a 2 year contract last summer. I have not used their facilities due to my schedule. I am on disability, and work part-time, but my part time job is ending soon. They say my only options are either continue to pay the $70 a month for the remainder of the contract, or “buy out” 2/3 of my remaining time. That would be over $2000. The $70 a month membership fee is steep enough, no way can I afford $2000. Do I have any legal way out of this contract?

Asked on February 20, 2012 under Business Law, Arkansas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Based on what you write, you most likely do not have any way out of the contract. A contract does not take any cognizance of whether, after you enter into it, it benefits you, or you have the opportunity to take advantage of it; a contract also does not take cognizance of whether you can afford it or not. Once you sign a contract, you are obligated to it, even if it turns out to have no value to you, or that it was a mistake to enter into it. Only if the gym breaches the contract in some material, or  important, way, you would have grounds to terminate it without penalty--so, for example, if the gym is not actually providing or making available the services or facilities, it is supposed to, that might allow you  to terminate the contract. But if the gym is holding up its end of the bargain--it is making available to you the services and facilities which it is supposed to--then you most likely are bound to the contract, and may only terminate it either

1) under any terms or conditions in the contract itself which allow termination (e.g. if the contract says you can terminate early by paying 2/3 of  the remaining time);  or

2) if the gym otherwise agrees to let you out of the contract (such as if the contract doesn't specifically say you can buy your way out, but the gym voluntarily agrees to let you do so).

Note that the numbers you quote do not make sense. If you are paying $70/month, then the maximum you would have to pay for 2 full years is 24 months x 70 = $1,680. If you entered into it "last summer," you've probably already paid for, say, 7 months, or $490, leaving a total of $1,190. Two-thirds of that would be a bit less than $800, not $2,000.


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