Fitness studios must pay money back: Federal court rules Corona ruling

Those who were unable to visit their gym during the two corona lockdowns can now get their money back. This is how the repayment works.

NRW – Fitness enthusiasts did not have it easy during the two corona lockdowns. Instead of sweating together, due to the NRW Corona rules and the strict measures in the field of sports, the home training mat often had to be used – or people did not play sports at all. The closure has also left its mark financially, because despite the lack of training opportunities, fitness studios in many places have continued to diligently charge the monthly fees. There is now reason for those affected to hope that consumers will receive support from the Supreme Court.

Federal Court Federal Supreme Court of the Federal Republic of Germany
foundation October 1, 1950
Seat Karlsruhe

Gym: Customers could not train in Corona lockdown

Anyone who had overcome their weaker I in early 2020 and regularly went to the gym after signing up long ago had to accept severe training setbacks with the first and second corona lockdown. But at least customers are now getting their money back for the missing months (more service news on RUHR24).

The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) ruled in favor of a customer from a fitness center in Lower Saxony, who signed a two-year contract for his gym in December 2019. Although the branch was then closed during Corona lockdowns, he was charged 24.90 euros per month.

Fitness studies: BGH obliges operators to compensate

The studio operator did not want to return the money to the customer or issue a voucher for the canceled training time. The customer declined an offer of credit for the training period.

According to various courts, BGH stated that “the purpose of a gymnastics contract (…) is regular physical activity”. However, due to the fact that the studios were closed during Corona lockdowns, this service could not be provided.

Fitness studies: Coupons for compensation are not necessarily sufficient

During the affected months, the fitness centers in NRW were closed from March 17 to May 11, 2020, and from November 2, 2020 to February 28, 2021, customers can now request their money back. This compensation applies if a gym has not already compensated for the lost training time with a refund or a voucher accepted by the customer, or a sent voucher has not yet been redeemed by the customer.

According to Upon inquiry, consumer advocates said many clients had continued to pay during the lockdown phases, but that so far they had not received any compensation.

Gym customers must be compensated for the lost training time.

© Shotshop / Imago

Gyms: Customers must first accept vouchers in writing

However, not all customers in a gym are eligible for such compensation. If a voucher has already been issued and this has been accepted in writing by the customer, no money will be refunded – even if the canceled training time was linked to the contract and this has already expired.

However, fitness enthusiasts should act quickly if they have not received a voucher or have not yet redeemed it. Although customers have received a voucher by mail but have not accepted it in writing, they should contact their gym promptly with a request for payment. recommends this template:


“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 repay me the entire voucher of ________ (deposit amount) euros and transfer this to my account _______ (deposit your own 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 period of several months ___________ (own 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. “

If the operator does not respond, a reminder can be prepared, and ultimately even the local consumer advice center or a lawyer can be called. The size of the compensation depends on how long the gyms stay closed. For the sake of the previous lockdowns, there are regional differences depending on the federal state.

List of categories: © Shotshop / Imago

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