Your gym closes its doors? You might be compensated

Gary Frost
Le Nouvelliste

Votre gym ferme ses portes? Vous pourriez être indemnisé

May be it’s the result of a winter of quiet, or the prospect of a slowdown in business in the summer season, or both. It remains that some fitness centers have obviously been a tough spring that has recently been brought to a stop, sometimes abruptly, their activities, leaving plan members who will have to find a new address.

In the course of the last year alone, roughly two dozen gyms that have surrendered and submitted their permit.

For these consumers the victims of misfortune, all is perhaps not lost, however. To the extent that the gym that they attended was the holder of a valid permit, it is likely that they will be able to collect their balls for the remaining part of their subscription. The Law on consumer protection (CPL) provides that the operator of a fitness studio, an appellation — a little too sweet some would say — that the law assigns to the training centres, must have a permit.

Financial Protection of subscribers
A trader who wishes to obtain an exploitation permit for its establishment must meet certain conditions. One of the requirements is to be filed with the Office de la protection du consommateur (OPC), a financial protection designed to compensate possibly its subscribers in the event of closure.

The sector of activity of studios of health is overseen by the CPA, which sets out simple rules aimed primarily to minimize the risk of loss of sums paid by the consumers who conclude contracts of subscription.

Formulas and issues various
Of course, according to the formulas found on the market, the magnitude of the sums involved can vary considerably. The risks are not the same if you purchased a subscription entry without special services and payable monthly in arrears, or if one has opted for a subscription with a range of services, for example the guidance of a private trainer.

The fitness center in five points
By and large, the LPC determines the rules concerning the contracts of subscription, the terms of payment and cancellation. Here are the top five things you need to know :

1. Exploitation permit : it is mandatory. Operate an establishment as referred to by the LPC without a licence is an offence;

2. Written contract : it is compulsory and should indicate the main characteristics and terms and conditions of the subscription (that is to say, the address of the establishment, the description of the

the services, the duration of the subscription, the terms of payment and cancellation, etc). Note : the duration of the subscription is limited to one year;

3. Terms of payment of the subscription : the subscription is payable at a minimum of two instalments the second of which is payable to one-half of the term of the subscription; the merchant who receives the total amount of the subscription in a single payment is guilty of an offence under the act;

4. Right to cancel : according to the CPA, if the trader has not started its main obligation, that is to say, if you have not yet given access to the services or goods described in the contract, you can cancel the contract without cost or penalty. If the trader has started its primary obligation, you can also, subject to the payment of a penalty, cancel the contract within a period of time equal to 1/10 of the duration of the subscription contract. Beyond this period, a subscription can be cancelled the conditions laid down by the civil Code. The operator may ask you for an allowance;

5. Compensation in case of closure : the gym you frequent closes its doors? If adventure, you have hit the nose on the closed doors of your gym, you could submit a MUTUAL fund a compensation claim in the extent where the latter was the holder of a permit in rule. Collect contract, proof of payment and other vouchers, and you could be compensated for the remaining portion of your subscription.

You can check to see if the company with which you have or you are going to compromise is the holder of a licence by visiting the website of the MUTUAL fund at the following address : www.opc.gouv.qc.ca.

Gary Frost is the director of services to the clientele, to the Office of the protection of the consumer.

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