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consumer protection-related question

Question

Hello everyone!
I would appreciate if someone can provide me with some sort of advice about a contract termination of a gym membership:
I'm moving from Brussels at the end of October. I communicate my decision to unsubscribe on the 4th of October whereas the contract provides that the notice is to be given "1 month to the end of the month that the notice is received". Thus the gym manager replied that my membership will be cancelled on December the 1st, instead of November the 1st as I have had requested.
This way to stick to the literacy of the words on the contract and the way the contract itself is drafted seems to me somehow unfair from a consumer point of view.
They say that the contract foresees a calendar month notice, therefore, I will have to pay the whole month fee (€240) for a notice default of 4 days.
My reasoning stems in points:
1. I have a justification for not to be willing to accept the payment of the fee since I lost my job here and it has become unaffordable to me. (could this be considered as an extraordinary and serious reason eximing of such an obligation?)
2. When a membership contract starts other that the first day of a month, the
user is to be charged a pro-rata subscription fee between the date the Member has access to the club and the contractual commencement date. (does not make sense that same option was available to the consumers when leaving the club, in other words, that I could pay a pro-rata fee for the 4 days delay I incurred? - Under EU consumer protection rules the contract is not allowed to create an imbalance between the rights and obligations of a consumer (gym client) and the rights and obligations of the service provider (the gym)).
3.When it comes to the notice period under which the Club has to communicate contractual changes of different nature the contract establishes a term counted on days, ignoring the calendar day concept imposed on to consumers ("..these changes shall enter into force on the date specified on the correspondence and at least 60 days after the notification...")
4. It is established a 8% rate of interest per year in case of payment default.
Sorry about the extension of this query, I hope I was clear enough and that hopefully some of you can lend me a hand with this matter.
Many thanks in advance!

Answer
J Oct 18, 2017 22:26

At €240/month for the gym membership, you can afford to take the hit.

If you really feel the need to go into further detail, pay a lawyer for the (extended) priviledge.

Answer
anon Oct 19, 2017 10:03

"This way to stick to the literacy of the words on the contract and the way the contract itself is drafted seems to me somehow unfair from a consumer point of view."

It's a contract, the words mean what they say, and you signed it when you took membership. Imagine if it was the other way round, and you signed up for the contract and they didn't provide half the services they said they would. Then you would certainly want to "stick to the literacy of the words on the contract". It works both ways.

As J notes above, you're just going to have to pay it and move on.

You could try contacting the CPAS at your local commune, they deal with debt counseling, and may be able to help you negotiate some kind of waiver from the gym, but personally I wouldn't hold hold too much hope.

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