Has canceling a gym membership made you want to pull your hair out? If so, there is reason to rejoice. A new Arizona law will make the process of discontinuing your membership much easier.
House Bill 2697 was introduced by Rep. Justin Wilmeth (R-Phoenix) and in a rare bipartisan moment, the Arizona State House unanimously passed the bill earlier this year.
“I was proud to sponsor House Bill 2697 to help ensure Arizonans don’t have to jump through hoops to cancel a gym membership” Wilmeth Said upon the passage of the bill.
Gov. Doug Ducey signed it into law in April.
According to the Arizona Attorney General’s office, In April 2020 a letter was sent to the three major fitness club companies including Mountainside Fitness, Planet Fitness, and LA Fitness requesting that they offer a remote platform to cancel subscriptions due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. All three complied with the request at that time.
However, since COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted, many of those fitness centers have gone back to their original cancellation policies.
According to the Arizona attorney general’s office, complaints about gym cancellation policies rose 400% during the pandemic.
Before this law was passed, gym goers were limited to canceling their subscriptions in person or via certified mail.
According to the legislation, patrons of Arizona gyms and spas will now be able to cancel their memberships via email or other online platforms.
Monica Nadine hopes this will help other Arizonans avoid the experience she went through when she canceled her LA Fitness membership. “I canceled because of the pandemic. They wouldn’t do it without me being there in person, even though the reason I wanted to cancel was to avoid going into any gyms” she also said, “It’s a shame it took legislation for this to happen, but I’m glad it did.”
Nadine discontinued after COVID restrictions had been lifted, and the temporary remote cancellation option was no longer available.
But what are those who work within the fitness industry saying?
According to Emily Muirbrook, a general manager at a local Planet Fitness, “It is certainly going to bring our numbers down” she said, “But I do think it will help us in the long run.”
Muirbrook managed fitness centers across the country for nearly a decade. She said, “The fact that we will give our members this convenience will make way for prospective members to want to jump on board” she also said, “I think the culture of gyms overall will be more appealing to the public.”
When it comes to training her staff, Muirbrook is having to take a different approach due to the new law.
“We will have an entirely different guide for our staff,” Muirbrook said. “Not only in terms of operations, but just overall rapport with our members as well.”
According to Muirbrook, Planet Fitness takes a different sales approach in that they want the feel of their clubs to sell itself, rather than pushing sales on prospective members. She said that the relationship between staff and members will play an even more significant role than it already has in their business model.