The provisions of Georgia law, O.C.G.A. Section 10-1-393.2, regulate health spa membership contracts and set forth requisite disclosures. When establishing a new health spa, you should be aware of the following:
The health spa membership contract must by law include information regarding the length of the contract, the cost to the consumer, the consumer’s right to cancel, the cancellation process, and the consumer’s rights and responsibilities in such events as a change in the services offered by the health spa or the onset of a physical disability.
Georgia law limits health spa contracts to a period of 36 months. The law also requires that the Georgia Department of Law's Consumer Protection Division approve all contract forms used by health spas and that the consumer be given a copy of the completed contract at the time it is executed. Any additional terms agreed upon between the health spa and the member must be written into the contract, and if the contract is financed, the additional finance charges should be explained to the consumer.
Georgia law allows a consumer seven business days to cancel a health spa contract. The member is not required to state the reason, or even have a reason, in order to cancel his or her membership within this period. If a member chooses to cancel, this must take place by midnight of the seventh business day after the date of signing of the contract, and it must be done in accordance with the terms of the contract. The health spa should provide a written acknowledgment of the notice of cancellation.
If a membership is canceled in a timely manner and in accordance with the terms set forth in the contract, the health spa should refund any payments made under the contract minus the fair market value of any services the consumer actually received (which should never exceed $100.00).
A member is also entitled to cancel the membership contract within 30 days from the time he or she knew or should have known of any substantial change in the services or programs available at the time. Substantial changes include, but are not limited to, the facility changing from being coed to being exclusively for one gender and vice versa.
Georgia law requires that all monies received through the pre-sale of memberships to a health spa facility that is not yet fully operational and available for use shall be placed in an escrow account that is monitored by the Georgia Department of Law's Consumer Protection Division. The membership funds will not be released to the health spa until it becomes fully operational and is available for use. At that time, the member has seven business days to cancel his or her contract.