All-Star Help needed! Contracts

Cheermomxx23

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Nov 21, 2021
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Hello all, I recently pulled my daughter out of a gym we’ve been going to since may. I signed the contract unknowing of the “quitting fee.” Basically, if we “quit” we would have to pay a $500 quitters fee as well as the remaining tuition for the next 5-6 months. Competition season hasn’t even started for the gym yet. However, This gym is very sue happy. Also, I pulled her out due to fears of her health and safety due to the gym neglecting covid protocol and harassment/bullying from the coaches. Is there anything I can do or any advice y’all have? Thanks in advance
 

catlady

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If they actually sue, the only way it would be worth their while is to file a small claim. If they file a suit against you, you can always file a counterclaim for the reasons you stated above. If served, be sure to respond by any deadlines given and show up to the court date set or you default (automatically lose). Small claim details vary by state, but you can look up your state online.

Document everything. Print off any emails, texts, etc. concerning their COVID19 protocol compared to the CDC recommendations, or your Governor's requirements, at the time you left the program. Print off or document any conversations and their response concerning any bullying, with dates and names.
 

quitthedrama

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These types of contracts generally do not hold up in court. The gym owner would have to prove they have paid in advance for the money they are asking for AND can not recover the funds they are charging, since they have not provided any service for that fee. If they are sue-happy, then there should be public records to see if they have been successful or not (many threaten but never follow through because they know they can't win). Courts are especially favorable to minors, and your case involves a minor.
If you have record that you have paid for tuition for the time your child attended, and any camp/choreography fees that your child attended, I don't think you will be obligated to pay anything else.
Fun fact - there was a similar case on Judge Judy a few months ago. Judy basically laughed the gym owner out of court, especially because the "practices" were remote. In this case the parent had a balance due for tuition and the gym owner still lost because the gym was closed and practices were via zoom only.
 
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1. Read the whole contract, every detail. If there's anything in the contract that the gym said they would do, but then the gym didn't make good on actually doing that, that could be important. Save any documentation related to this.

2. If the gym promised you at any time (in the contract, or not, even verbally) that they would comply with covid protocol and then didn't actually comply with a covid protocol, that could be important. Save any documentation related to this. Texts, emails, anything at all.

2. When you signed the contract, were you given the part that talks about the "quitter's fee" and the "owing 5-6 months of tuition if you quit"? Did they give you a copy of the contract after you signed it?
 
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catlady

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I’ve never known anyone to be ordered to pay for services that were not rendered.
This was a hot topic many years ago. I guess it is common practice for many gyms to have their clients sign a contract stating payment will be paid in full if they quit. Our gym incorporated music, choreography and comp fees into the first 9 months out of 12 payments, so if you quit for whatever reason, you had paid a good portion of those things in advance. You wouldn't get a refund, but you no longer owed them for anything either.

I agree with everything @quitthedrama said. The reason I emphasize not missing any deadlines or showing up for a court date if they do take you to small claims court, is often times, they're just hoping you default on the court requirements and then you have to pay.
 
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catlady

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Sorry for another post, but it's important to state gym contracts for a certain length of time are definitely legal, very common, and at the very least can be sold to a collection agency and hurt your credit . We are all responding under the assumption that you had discussions with management concerning their COVID19 protocols and the bullying prior to leaving, and nothing changed. If you did not have any discussions with anyone concerning protocols, bullying, and you just quit, you most certainly can be held liable for the terms in the contract and/or pay for it on your credit report.

If, by chance, you did not speak to anyone before quitting, I would call them and very calmly and politely state your concerns, why you left, and see if you could work something out.
 

oncecoolcoachnowmom

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This was a hot topic many years ago. I guess it is common practice for many gyms to have their clients sign a contract stating payment will be paid in full if they quit. Our gym incorporated music, choreography and comp fees into the first 9 months out of 12 payments, so if you quit for whatever reason, you had paid a good portion of those things in advance. You wouldn't get a refund, but you no longer owed them for anything either.

I agree with everything @quitthedrama said. The reason I emphasize not missing any deadlines or showing up for a court date if they do take you to small claims court, is often times, they're just hoping you default on the court requirements and then you have to pay.

Yeah I’ve seen contracts for a variety of things in which you don’t get a refund for certain things (but you don’t owe them either.) Ex: Your first school cheer payment is due in advance for these items so if you quit you just forfeit the money. That’s reasonable. Having to make payments for services not rendered is not.
 
Apr 14, 2017
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Look through every inch of that contract for words that give you an out.

So for instance, any clause that says “the gym must provide a safe, healthy working environment.” You can say the contract is void because they failed to do that.

Other words to look for: negligence, failure to provide/comply, must, etc. You can google more tips. There are scores of websites dedicated to this issue.

It’ll also be very helpful for you to provide a record of your complaints. Any emails/texts you sent outlining your concerns, etc.

I’d just also say that generally nobody WANTS to sue. They’re probably just bluffing. It’s generally more trouble than it’s worth.