Ruling on ‘unfair’ contracts

James Murray of Attey Solicitors in Sheffield .17th June  2011.Images � Paul David Drabble
James Murray of Attey Solicitors in Sheffield .17th June 2011.Images � Paul David Drabble

A SHEFFIELD lawyer says that anyone locked into a gym membership of a year or more should now be free to cancel it at no cost.

James Murray of Atteys Solicitors said: “The court has ruled that gym operators can no longer specify minimum contract periods of between 12 and 36 months. Lengthy gym contracts like these are now regarded as unfair within the meaning of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999. This is because these contracts are designed to take advantage of the inexperience of the average consumer who may well overestimate the use that he or she will make of gym facilities.

“Describing members who wish to terminate their agreements before the end of the minimum period as defaulters is now seen as an unfair commercial practice, as is registering, or threatening to register, that information with credit reference agencies. Both actions are now regarded as contrary to the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.”