If you are one of the estimated 150,000 Australian’s considering signing a gym contract in January to make good on your New Year resolutions - don't rush it and get locked in. Stringent lock-in contracts have seen a number of gym goers aggrieved, prompting Jetts founder and managing director, Brendon Levenson, to release a word of warning.
While the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has cracked down on the gym industry in recent years for issuing misleading advertising, Levenson said consumers still need to be diligent when signing up to a gym.
“Many operators will offer discounts and incentives to sign up to 12, or even 18 month contracts, which is just sales trickery. Worse still, some gyms will charge you a higher price if you don’t sign a contract, sometimes up to 50 per cent higher. It simply doesn’t make any sense to penalise members in that way,” Brendon said.
Levenson says when joining a gym, the last thing you are thinking about is leaving, so committing to a 12 or 18 month contract might not always seem like a big deal.
“Circumstances change throughout the year and you don’t want to get tied into making monthly payments, or worse still, have to pay out a contract just because you can’t get to the gym when things change,” Brendon said.
“When you are joining a gym this January, and are sitting down with the sales person/team member, simply say no to signing a lock-in contract. Demand that you get the lowest rate, on the most flexible option. If they say no, walk away. There are plenty of other gyms that will allow you to sign up in 2016 to work out on your terms.”
It was this idea of no lock-in contracts and a general lack of customer focus that led Levenson to create the concept for Jetts in 2007. Jetts was the first gym network built around never locking members into contracts, so members can cancel at any time with little notice and no exit fees.
Levenson says gym contracts were a flaw in the gym business; a legacy left by gyms that built their business around making profit ahead of looking after their members.
“Lock-in gym contracts simply shouldn’t exist in the gym business. They provide no benefit to members, only to the gym owners.”
The idea of putting customers first has worked, seeing Jetts grow into one of Australia’s largest and most successful gym networks, expanding to over 200 locations across the country.
“We simply don’t believe in this idea that people have to sign a lock-in contract to get fit and healthy, or pay hefty fees if they want a flexible membership,” he said.