Gym must repay contributions – so you can see how much money you are entitled to

Everyone who signed a gym contract at the end of 2019 paid high dues for the gym for several months without being able to train for it.

In a groundbreaking ruling, the Federal Court has now ruled that operators must repay the contributions to their members. A man from Lower Saxony had complained. By December 2019, he had signed a 24-month contract. Despite the branch closures, the gym deducted 24.90 euros from the bank account each month.

The studio did not want to give customers the money or a coupon. The operators instead offered a credit for the corresponding training time, which the plaintiff again did not want.

The client felt disadvantaged by this procedure and initially complained to the Papenburg City Court, which agreed with him and obliged the gym to repay the contributions. The company appealed, but was not successful in the Osnabrück district court. BGH has now confirmed its verdict: The study must repay the membership fees.

“The purpose of a gymnastics contract is regular physical activity,” reasoned the chief civil judge in Karlsruhe. Because gyms were closed for several months, it was impossible to provide this service.

Who can claim membership fees back now?

Affected are customers who had an ongoing exercise contract during the Corona pandemic. If you could not train because the studio was closed, you can now request a refund for that period.

Specifically, this applies if the training center has issued a voucher and it has not been redeemed, or if the study has not charged for the downtime – either in the form of a voucher or refund.

At the urging of FOCUS Online, consumer advocates explained that in fact, many customers have continued to pay unlimited contributions to the gym during the corona pandemic and have not yet been compensated for it.

However, there are important exceptions.

If the fitness center has issued a voucher and those affected have accepted it in writing, the money can no longer be reclaimed. In many cases, operators have also linked the downtime to the contract, if this time has already elapsed, the fees may not be required retroactively.

  • case study: In December 2019, Max signed a one-year contract for EUR 19.90 per month. He was unable to train between mid-March and early June 2020 and between early November 2020 and late December 2020 due to the strict corona rules in place in these months. During this time, however, he transferred the monthly membership dues. The gym issued him a coupon in July 2020, which was to take effect from December 2020. Max could have continued training in the forgotten months without having to pay. Max redeemed the coupon for the first time in June 2021. He now has no right to claim the fees back.

This is how the money is demanded back from your gym

If you have not received a voucher or have not redeemed it, you must act immediately. You should also respond if the gym has sent you the voucher and you have not accepted it in writing.

Add the membership fees together. We tell you below when the gyms were closed in the Corona years 2020 and 2021. Make a copy of the voucher.

Write a letter and attach a copy. You write:

“Ladies and gentlemen,

on ________ (insert date of issue of the voucher) you issued me a voucher due to the corona pandemic in accordance with art. 240 § 5 EGBGB.

I have not redeemed this. I therefore ask you to refund me the entire voucher of ________ (deposit amount) euros and transfer this to my account _______ (deposit your IBAN) at ________ (name of bank and BIC in parentheses). I expect a refund within ___________ (maximum 14 days in the future).

According to a judgment of the Federal Court of 4. May 2022 (Az. XII ZR 64/21) the purpose of a gymnastics contract is regular physical activity. In the case of a fitness study contract with a fixed term of several months ________ (your customer number), regular and year-round opening and usability of the study is of crucial importance. According to the ruling of the Federal Court, if your company can no longer provide access, the purpose of the contract will not be achieved. This due service can not be redeemed due to the passage of time.

I’ll send you a copy of the voucher and I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have. “

Send the letter to the gym by registered mail.

If the company does not respond within the specified deadline, you can create a reminder letter. If the gym also does not respond, you can either contact the local consumer protection center or a lawyer.

How big is the compensation really?

The fitness centers were closed nationwide in Germany in mid-March 2020. Regional lockdowns were imposed between the end of 2021 and the beginning of 2022. Those affected should contact the responsible local authorities and find out the exact lockdown dates by phone. Now calculate the periods for the exact day.

  • case study: For example, if you were not able to train from March 17 to June 2, it’s 77 days. With a membership fee of 24.90 euros, it offers a daily rate of 0.83 euros. You would therefore be entitled to compensation of 63.91 euros for the period.

When were the fitness centers in Germany closed in 2020 and 2021?

  • Baden-Württemberg: Gyms were closed from March 17 to June 2 and from November 2, 2020 to March 7, 2021.
  • Bavaria: Gyms were closed from March 16 to June 8 and from November 2, 2020 to May 20, 2021.
  • Berlin: Gyms were closed from March 11 to June 2 and from November 2, 2020 to May 27, 2021.
  • Brandenburg: Gyms were closed from March 17 to May 28 and from November 1, 2020 to May 27, 2021.
  • Bremen: Gyms were closed from March 17 to May 27 and from November 2, 2020 to May 26, 2021.
  • Hamburg: Gyms were closed from March 15 to May 27 and from November 2, 2020 to May 30, 2021.
  • Hesse: Gyms were closed from March 17 to May 15 and from November 5, 2020 to March 7, 2021.
  • Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania: Gyms were closed from March 18 to May 25 and from November 1, 2020 to May 30, 2021.
  • Lower Saxony: Gyms were closed from March 16 to May 25 and from November 2, 2020 to May 9, 2021.
  • North Rhine-Westphalia: Gyms were closed from March 17 to May 11 and from November 2, 2020 to February 28, 2021.
  • Rhineland-Palatinate: Gyms were closed from March 18 to May 27 and from November 2, 2020 to May 26, 2021.
  • Saarland: Gyms were closed from March 13 to May 18 and from November 2, 2020 to April 25, 2021.
  • Saxony: Gyms were closed from 31 March to 15 May and from 2 November 2020 to 10 May 2021. Also from 8 November 2021 to 15 January 2022.
  • Saxony-Anhalt: Fitness centers were closed from March 22 to May 28 and from November 2, 2020 to June 11, 2021.
  • Schleswig Holstein: Gyms were closed from March 15 to May 18 and from November 2, 2020 to March 1, 2021.
  • Thuringia: Gyms were closed from March 25 to May 22 and from November 2, 2020 to June 1, 2021.

The original of this post “Fitness Studies Must Pay Back Contributions – How To See How Much Money You Are Entitled To” comes from FitForFun.