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Consumer journalist Wendy Knowler has helped shed light on what consumers should know about gym contracts.

The gym and fitness sector is one of the top three industries in South Africa that consumers complain about the most.

This is according to the Consumer Goods and Services Ombud’s (CGSO) annual report for 2016 released this week.

Read: Why you must think carefully before signing that gym contract

According to the report, the most complained about industries are:

  • satellite and telecoms industry (mainly cellphone complaints)

  • clothing and retail industry

  • fitness industry

Complaints at the CGSO have increased by over 60% in the past financial year, Knowler explains.

The CGSO received 5 595 cases in the 2016/17 financial year, compared to the 3 495 cases received in 2015/16.

CGSO chair Magauta Mphahlele says consumers need to inform gym suppliers when they intend on cancelling their contracts.

The Consumer Protection Act (CPA) allows consumers to cancel their gym contracts with one months notice, after the fixed contract term, without penalty.

The Act has built in some level of protection. If the consumer forgets to cancel [at the end of the fixed term], the contract will automatically go into month-to-month renewal.

Magauta Mphahlele, Chairperson at The Consumer Goods And Services Ombud

However, if consumers cancel their contracts prior to the end of the fixed term, gym suppliers are able to charge a cancellation penalty - despite any noctice given.

Mphahlele discussed the rights and responsibilities of gym providers and consumers when entering contract agreements and callers phoned in to share their experiences.

Take a listen to the insightful discussion:

Got a consumer case you need help resolving?

Email: consumer@knowler.co.za, put Cape Talk in the subject line, followed by the issue e.g. cellphone contract dispute.

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