Who doesn’t know: in fact, you want to cancel the gym contract because it’s too expensive or you haven’t trained in the gym for months. But before you know it, you’ve missed the notice period again – and the contract is automatically extended for another year. An inconvenience that some consumers have themselves already experienced.
A new law has been in effect since March 1 to prevent this automatic process and give customers more rights. In accordance with the Fair Consumer Contracts Act, the statutory notice period has been reduced from three to one month. If customers miss this time, suppliers can extend contracts, but they should still be terminable on a monthly basis. There will no longer be an automatic extension of one or two years in the future.
The new regulations do not apply to old contracts
However, there are a few things to keep in mind with this law. The new rule only applies to contracts concluded since March 1. Old contracts are therefore excluded from this regulation. The new legal situation is advantageous for customers, says Oliver Buttler of the Baden-Württemberg Consumer Protection Center. The boredom of missed layoffs is no longer so great.
However, he criticizes the fact that the new rule does not apply to old contracts. After all, there are many more than those that were only recently closed. As a former customer, you could only terminate the existing contract as soon as possible and then conclude a new one.
According to Oliver Buttler, however, it’s not always worth it. “Everyone has to figure this out for themselves. Old contracts are often cheaper than new ones. Sometimes there are also processing fees,” he explains. “It’s best to talk to the studio operator “, is his advice.
In addition to the improved legal situation, Buttler sees this as another benefit for the consumer, which ultimately benefits the customer: after an automatic extension, gyms no longer have the certainty that the user will remain safe and will pay contributions for another year.
Instead, operators should now reckon with termination at any time. As a result, sports clubs will remain customer-friendly in the future and will have to fight for their customers, says Oliver Buttler.
The operator of the MC Shape fitness studio in Radolfzell sees things differently. “We always strive to provide our customers with good service and take their suggestions and requests seriously”, says Felix Berliner. The new law does not change much for him. “Our notice period was three months. It’s not a big difference,” says Felix Berliner.
However, the contracts would have a duration of 12 or 24 months. If you miss the notice period of the old contracts, it’s annoying, he admits. “From a financial point of view, it is an advantage for us if the contracts are extended quietly, no doubt.” But: “Customers who go to the gym regularly keep an eye on it,” he says.
Nevertheless, Felix Berliner supports the new law. “As an individual, I can say that this is a relief for customers in many areas. I was also upset by the missed notice periods, ”admits the gym owner.