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Gym membership cancellation

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Dear Experts,

I live in NJ and visit client locations in east coast as part of my work. past few months i was posted to clients in VA. In that time i signed up at sports and health in VA. I specifically told them that my residence is in NJ and if they do not have a facility in NJ i would want to signup for only 2 months.

Now i am assigned to clients in New York. I wont be visiting VA for long.

Recently when i tried to cancel my membership, i realize that i had signed up for a 1 year contract.

the representative from sport and health tell me that there is no early termination clause at all. so there is no way i can cancel now. Not even with a Fine or a Fee.

Please advise.



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There's not much anyone can specifically help you with without seeing the actual language of your contract (which you should always read before signing). Like many jurisdictions, Virginia allows you to cancel within three days, but that doesn't appear to apply.

So, things to consider doing:

1) Stop automatic payments. Are the membership fees being directly deducted from a credit card or bank account? Stop those transactions and ensure that they are no longer allowed. Best to do that in writing with your bank or credit card issuer.

2) Notify gym of cancellation in writing. Your agreement most likely contains directions for sending notice. Your best option is to claim contract termination based upon impracticality. You could also claim frustration of purpose or impossibility, but are less likely to prevail under those theories given the facts you have presented.

The doctrine of impracticability, in the common law of contracts, excuses performance of a duty, where that duty has become unfeasibly difficult or expensive for the party who was to perform. Impracticability is similar in some respects to the doctrine of impossibility because it is triggered by the occurrence of a condition which prevents one party from fulfilling the contract. The major difference between the two doctrines is that while impossibility excuses performance where the contractual duty cannot physically be performed, the doctrine of impracticability comes into play where performance is still physically possible, but would be very burdensome for the party whose performance is due. Thus, impossibility is an objective condition, whereas impracticability is a subjective condition for a court to determine.

To establish impracticability you generally have to prove 1) an occurrence of a condition, the non-occurence of which was a basic assumption of the contract, 2) occurrence must make performance extremely expensive or difficult and 3) the difficulty was not anticipated by the parties to the contract.

You could also argue mutual mistake – both you and the salesperson understood at the time that you could cancel if you were re-located to an area that the gym did not serve. This state of mind is just going to be much harder to prove. Your home address outside the area certainly might be evidence that this was discussed. In the furture, just remember to never take legal advice (e.g. "tell me what this contract says") from a guy in a t-shirt whose job probably depends upon how many contracts he can sell per month. Also, always wear clean underwear.

You might also want to consider paying the monthly rate for the two months you used as a show of good faith. Did you receive a lower monthly rate for signing a one year membership as opposed to opting for a month-to-month membership?

Now, none of this is guaranteed to be agreeable to the gym, and they may very well report the delinquency to the credit bureaus and turn the account over to a collection agency. You will just have to handle that at is arises.

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