Torn ACL can't get woman out of gym contract

Don't Waste Your Money
Posted at 6:42 PM, Apr 28, 2017

An Ohio woman is dealing with a gym contract nightmare, after a serious sports injury.

Most of us assume you can get out of your contract if you can't walk anymore. It turns out things are not that simple at most clubs.

On crutches for months

Sarah LaCombe is on crutches these days, and will be for several months to come, after tearing her ACL during a lacrosse practice.

So she figured she'd have no problem getting out of her gym contract at LA Fitness, where she was paying over $100 a month for workouts and a trainer.

She says employees told her, when she first joined, that "the 3 options to get out of the contract are to move 25 miles from an LA Fitness, or injury or death."

But when she called la fitness to end her plan, she learned her contract actually said something else.

RELATED: 8 Ways to Save on a Gym Membership

Injury not enough to cancel

"I asked why wasn't it canceled, and she said I need to be permanently disabled," LaCombe said.

We checked the fine print, and indeed it lists "disability," not "injury" as a reason for cancelation. The result? "I have to continue paying month to month until my year is up,"she said.    

This is common with many gym contracts, not just LA Fitness.

We contacted her local gym, which referred us to corporate headquarters. In the end, an LA Fitness corporate spokeswoman agreed to let her out of her contract due to her injury.

How to protect yourself

The websiteCredit.comsays before signing up for a gym...

  • Ask about penalties if you cancel.
  • Don't believe verbal promises from an employee when signing up.
  • Pay by check or credit card: Dont give them your bank account number (or debit card number) in case of a billing dispute.

LaCombe says the club is offering to work with her, but "the other option is a buyout, which is half of what I still owe, which is almost $1,000. That's something I cant afford."

We're not saying LA Fitness has done anything wrong here, as the contract explains that injury may not be reason enough to end billing.

But LaCombe hopes for some extra consideration to a member who obviously can't use the treadmills for a while.    

Her story is one to remember if you are joining a gym, so you don't waste your money.


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