Relocation not Reason Enough for Impromptu Termination of Gym Membership

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You’re a member of a gym and you need to move due to work. You know you need a three month notice before you can terminate your membership, but having to move due to work should be a good enough reason to allow you terminate your membership immediately, right? Wrong

Previously, moving from one city to another was deemed enough to terminate gym membership without notice, unless the facility had other chain establishments in the new city, in which case, you could transfer your membership.

 Now, the Bundesgerichtshof (BGH) in Karlsruhe has ruled that relocation should not be a cause for exceptional termination of gym membership.  The BGH argued that since moving was a voluntary decision, it does not surmount to sufficient reason to terminate a gym contract without due notice.

The decision was reached in a case involving a 36-year-old soldier in Lower Saxony, who was drafted from Hannover to Köln, then to Kiel and Rostock, and therefore wanted his membership terminated prematurely. The gym however had insisted on payment for the agreed term of about ten months amounting to 720 euros.

According to the judgement BGH (XII ZR 62/15), the soldier’s impromptu termination was wrongful, since a mere change of residence was not a justifiable risk like serious disease or pregnancy.

A representative organisation of the fitness industry – the DSSV with nationwide representation of a third of the roughly 8,300 German gyms, welcomed the decision saying it provided some legal certainty.

In many cases, larger gyms accommodate their customers and allow informal notices, even if this does not comply with legal procedures. 

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