How to choose the right fitness room? They are attracting more and more consumers with attractive formulas, allowing daily access to many sports disciplines. Before signing your membership contract, read all the conditions! Here are some tips to avoid unpleasant surprises.
In 2019, the French health and fitness market was the third in Europe with 6.2 million members for 4,370 rooms and an estimated turnover of 2.6 billion euros, behind that of the Germany (11.7 million members) and the United Kingdom (10.4 million members), each generating a turnover of approximately 5.5 billion euros  .
However, the health crisis has greatly destabilized this activity, with the resulting temporary cinema closures in 2020 and 2021 being spread over a total period of almost twelve months in France. Thus, in September 2021, cinema attendance was 20% lower than that observed in the same month in 2019  . Similarly, theater sales would have decreased by 22.1% in 2020 and 26.2% in 2021  . However, a clear recovery in activity has been observed, which makes it possible to establish a forecast of a 55% increase in this turnover in 2022  .
In order to make an informed decision, the fitness room manager must communicate before any commitment to the consumer, in a readable and understandable manner, the information relating to:
In addition, the rules of procedure and the prices, all taxes included, of the services offered must be displayed, in a visible and legible manner, in the establishment.
Concerning the subscription of a contract by correspondence (internet, mail, etc.), the consumer must be able to obtain the same information, while benefiting from the additional guarantees specific to contracts concluded at a distance or off-premises (such as the right of withdrawal in particular, see below below).
A copy of the signed subscription contract as well as a note when the price of the service is greater than or equal to 25 euros must be given to you.
Right to retract
When subscribing to a distance contract, you have a withdrawal period of fourteen days from the day after the conclusion of the contract, which can be used by returning the standard form which must be provided by the professional on pain of nullity. of the contract. It is preferable to return the completed form by registered mail with acknowledgment of receipt, in order to be able to prove that you are exercising your right within the prescribed period.
Unfair terms in contracts
The practice most often noted by the investigators is the presence of abusive clauses in the subscription contracts given to the consumer: release from liability of the professional in the event of accident or theft, unilateral modification by the professional of timetables, prices or services offered, impossibility for the consumer to terminate the subscription contract for health or professional reasons  .
Deceptive commercial practices
The most commonly observed misleading commercial practices relate to non-compliance with the conditions put forward in the advertisements: services presented in the advertisements but not exempted, highlighting of a promotional rate when in reality it is offers valid all year round (the promotional offer may also be more expensive than the usual offer), attractive prices in advertisements but rarely practiced because subject to numerous restrictions, omission of registration/file fees on many price announcements, indication of a price corresponding only to the first month of subscription with an increase for the following months.
Recourse in the event of a dispute
You request the termination of your subscription temporarily (health problem, pregnancy, etc.) or permanently (moving house, ban on practicing a sporting activity). Refer to your contract and check the clauses that authorize you to temporarily or permanently suspend your subscription.
In the event of a temporary room closure linked to the Covid-19 pandemic, the professional is required to offer you a provisional formula to take this damage into account. This may be a suspension or extension of your subscription free of charge, for a period equivalent to the closing period. A credit note may also have been offered to you, if the period concerned led to the application of one of the two “Covid” ordinances taken by the government in 2020 in this sector  .
Do not take the initiative to stop the payment. The grounds for opposition are indeed strictly defined: you must pay the professional and then contest.
Look for an amicable solution
The first step to take is to find an amicable solution with the person in charge of the room and often that is enough to settle the dispute. If no solution is found, you must send a registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt.
If you find that the answer is not satisfactory, you can resort to another mode of amicable settlement (mediator of consumption, conciliator of justice, etc…) as indicated in the general conditions of sale.
Go to court
If you have not been able to obtain an amicable solution, you can take action before the “proximity court”, a chamber detached from the judicial court, for a request (for reimbursement for example) for an amount of up to €10,000, and in court if the amount of your claim exceeds €10,000.