That’s what people in MV say about the BGH verdict

Rostock.Good news for fitness clients in MV: After months of uncertainty over whether or not to actually pay their membership dues during the lockdown, the federal court has now ruled in favor of the clients.

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In a model case from Lower Saxony, the highest civil judges in Karlsruhe ruled that a study should repay the amounts charged by direct debit to a customer. “The purpose of a training contract is to train regularly,” it says. With a closure of several weeks, it was impossible to provide this service.

Expert in the BGH judgment: success for consumers in MV

This verdict is a “success for consumers,” emphasizes Klaus Schmiedek, head of the legal department at the MV Consumer Advice Center. “The customer had already gotten right twice. This has now been confirmed by BGH. ” The dispute between gyms and customers who could not work out has also been a problem for consumer counseling in the Northeast over the past few weeks. “We also had inquiries here,” confirms the department head.

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Consumer Advice now encourages customers to claim their money back – the chances of success are great. A similar test form was published on the Consumer Advice Center’s website. “Customers can refer to the verdict and have good cards.” Also in court – should the study refuse to repay amounts. “But I think the studios accept the verdict.”

Gyms refund money: How MV operators react

“From an economic point of view, the ruling is of course a setback for the entire industry, and this also applies to FitX,” says Johanna Pistor, spokeswoman for the fitness chain. There are currently many refund requests. During the lockdown months, members have been offered various options, such as a break or prize refund. Part of both offers is that the respective contracts have been extended by a number of months.

If the fitness studio unilaterally extends the contract period before the closing time of the studio, this is in BGH’s opinion also not permitted. According to Johanna Pistor, this has only happened in consultation. “If a member has accepted the contract adjustment, the lockdown months’ contribution will not be refunded according to our current knowledge,” the spokeswoman stressed. The judgment will be checked and communicated transparently to the customers.

What applies to clubs?

In view of the judgment against the gyms, many consumers are now wondering if this also applies to contingent for sports clubs.

This is where you have to go, says Klaus Schmiedek, differentiate. “If someone books swimming lessons for their child, and then the course does not take place, the same applies as with the studies – the service was not provided,” he says. It is different with the contributions to a club membership, for example in a swimming club. “You do not get the fixed contributions back from a club.”

“McFit” also says: The verdict will be checked. “We offered our members different solutions and found individual results with many of them,” says communications manager Pierre Geisensetter.

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Gyms after the pandemic: small chains in trouble

But especially the small studies fear that the recent ruling may cause problems. “If everyone arrived at once, no studio would survive,” says Marc Pekrul, operator of “BodyFit 24” in Schwerin. After all, fixed costs still had to be paid during the closing months. “But I clearly told the customers that we need their help if they want to continue training after the Corona period.” He is grateful that many would have waived the refund.

Karsten Luther from “Fit +”, who runs several studios in the Rostock district – including in Bad Doberan, Bützow and Ticino – sees it similarly. “You do not saw off the branch you are sitting on. Many just want to keep training, ”says Luther. Under Corona, he lost about 25 percent of the members, and there was only insufficient help. “If everyone comes at once and wants their money back, then the studies are over,” he emphasizes. He appeals to customers to contact the studios directly with problems to find an amicable solution. Agreements have already been reached with most of the customers. The majority of customers said yes to a voucher solution.

Despite the BGH ruling: Some customers waive the refund

The regulation is also a topic of conversation for customers. “We live in a state governed by the rule of law, which is why I think the ruling is in order because it is so clearly regulated by law when a corona compensation payment to members of gyms is justified,” Paul Riger from Stralsund.

Paul Riger from Stralsund is satisfied with the BGH ruling.

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But Fanny Schönbrunn from Brandshagen will do without it. “Well, my gym was very accommodating, and even before the BGH ruling offered me to pay the money back or offer free months after the reopening, there were even other good options,” she says.

Fanny Schönbrunn from Brandshagen near Stralsund got her money back before the BGH verdict.

Fanny Schönbrunn from Brandshagen near Stralsund got her money back before the BGH verdict.

In front of the “Kieser Training” gym in Rostock, customers discussed the verdict on Wednesday. Marianne and Otto Röseler did not ask for a refund. “We’ve been in the studio since 2007 and we want to stay here,” they say. The months you may take a break due to corona will be refunded in the form of an extension of the contract. The couple agree. Peter Turzer sees it the same way. “I only want the paid months back in the form of a contract extension,” the 71-year-old says.

Piet Jari Baumann is a member of “FitX” in the southern part of Rostock. “I do not want my money back, I do not care,” he says.

By Monique Mittag and Johnny Müller Katharina Ahlers

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