What should I do to protect my rights when purchasing a membership in a health club?
The Washington State Attorney General's Office has information about your rights regarding membership contracts, canceling a membership, and joining a new health club that has not yet opened.
One of the most important tips is to read the contract language closely before purchasing a health club membership.
Under Washington's health club law (RCW 19.142), you have three business days after signing a membership contract to cancel and receive a refund. The amount of refund you are entitled to will vary depending on the type of contract signed.
After the three-day period, state law provides specific guidelines and methods for cancellation. Here are just a few of the tips provided by the Attorney General's Office:
• You must mail or deliver a WRITTEN notice to the club saying you want to cancel.
• If you are canceling under the three-day right to cancel and are mailing the notice, it must be postmarked by midnight of the third day.
• When mailing any cancellation notice, you should ask for a "return receipt" at the post office so you have proof the notice was received. Be sure to keep a copy of your cancellation request.
• If you hand deliver the notice to the club, ask the health studio employee to initial your copy of the notice, showing it was actually received, and have it dated.
• After you have properly cancelled your membership, you are under no obligation to continue making contract payments. However, you may still be obligated to pay the initiation fee after canceling the membership if you financed the initiation fee and signed a non-refundable clause.