What to Do if Your Health Spa/Gym Closes
With the current economic crisis, a number of Georgia businesses have closed their doors. Are you a member of a gym that is no longer in business? Although it is not a violation of the law to close a business, the Governor’s Office of Consumer Affairs (OCA) must be notified by the business when a health spa or gym closes. OCA is always interested in talking to the owner of each gym to determine the status of the membership contracts.
If a health spa or gym closes its doors without offering an alternate location within ten miles that is substantially similar to the one that closed, then members may act immediately to stop any future payments to that gym. You may contact your bank and terminate any automatic bank drafts, or contact your credit card company and terminate the automatic monthly charge, whichever is appropriate. Be sure to inform them that the business is closed and you are no longer receiving services. Keep a record of the date you contacted the financial institution, along with the identity of the person with whom you spoke.
Consumers who opted to prepay a health spa or gym contract should have been made aware of the following cautionary language within the contract:
“State law requires that we inform you that should you (the buyer) choose to pay for any part of this agreement in advance, be aware that you are paying for future services and may be risking loss of your money in the event this health spa ceases to conduct business. Health spas do not post a bond, and there may be no other protections provided to you should you choose to pay in advance."
This means that consumers who prepaid contracts are not automatically entitled to a prorated refund for the unused portion of the contract, even if the business closed its doors without offering an alternate location as described above. You are encouraged to closely review the terms of your contract and follow its provisions carefully. Consumers may also contact the Governor’s Office of Consumer Affairs by calling 404-651-8600 or 800-869-1123.