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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Doubts govt gym contract fits the bill

By Wei Na (Global Times)

09:46, November 30, 2011

Beijing commerce authorities released a "model contract for prepaid fitness services" on Monday. The standard contract aims to give gym clients a safety net, in an industry that has been beset by fraud.

However, as the contract is not legally binding, gym members doubt it will protect them if the owners shut down with no warning, while only a fraction of the city's fitness clubs have so far pledged to adopt the contract.

Statistics from Beijing Administration for Industry and Commerce (BAIC) shows there have been 1,488 complaints regarding "pre-paid membership cards and other services in the fitness industry" since 2009, involving 3,154 consumers. Most complaints involved the businesses refusing to offer the services they promised or suddenly closing down and disappearing with clients' cash.

On January 12, Nirvana Fitness & Spa, one of Beijing's largest fitness chains, suddenly closed all but one of its six locations. Thousands of members were affected. One month later, Noble Club at Green Lake International Apartments, Chaoyang district, closed without prior notification to about 500 members.

On August 27, around 100 members of a fitness club held a protest at Joy City Chaoyang to claim back membership fees after the Ozone Fitness Club, which had taken annual membership fees upfront, only opened for a few days before shutting for good.

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