From a legal perspective, it is not very easy to enforce a premium increase. The prerequisite is that the price adjustment clause in the general terms and conditions is formulated in a legally effective manner. Unfortunately, many fitness studios have failed in this regard and had to take back the fee increase and pay the court and lawyer's fees.
When is a fitness studio allowed to increase prices?
Example McFit: The prices were increased by 25%. Are they allowed to do that?
No. McFit would have had to prove that the price increase was necessary to cover specific higher costs. The profit may not be increased with it. McFit would have had to show specifically how much additional revenue it would generate and what costs it would cover. The costs and additional revenue must then largely cancel each other out.
However, McFit has not done this and has partially withdrawn the premium increases or granted members a special right of termination.
How to proceed correctly
In the first step, it is important that you have a price adjustment clause in your membership contract or in the GTC in the first place. The member must know about this from the start. Without such a clause, it will not work afterwards.
When formulating it, you should then make sure that all the following points are included. Only then will the price adjustment clause be effective.
- the price increase is only enforced because of rising costs (no higher profits, but investments are possible)
- the necessary price adjustment must not be initiated by you
- it must be shown which costs have an influence on the contribution
- the conditions and the extent of the premium increase must be broken down in a comprehensible way (e.g. if the price of energy costs increases by at least xx %, the premium will increase by yy %)
- the clause must include both an increase and a decrease in costs
- the member must have agreed to the price adjustment clause (e.g. signature on membership contract)
In particular, the possible reasons and the extent of the increase must be specified. Otherwise, you violate the so-called transparency requirement. Possible reasons include changed market conditions or an increase in value-added tax, or the customer receives a significant added value (even if he does not individually perceive it that way), such as through the purchase of new equipment that complies with the latest ergonomic findings.
Recommendation: consider the court-approved maximum price increase. Courts have ruled that a 5% price increase is okay.
Is there a special right of termination if a gym raises prices?
If you want to increase the fees by more than 5%, this is also possible, but you must also give the member a special right of termination - similar to what you know from car insurance.
Due to the action of McFit, the consumer centers are alarmed. If you want to increase your premiums, check your price adjustment clause beforehand to see if it contains all the points listed and is worded effectively.
Further interesting information for fitness studio operatorsaround legal topicscan be found here:
Author: Julia Ruch - Lawyer
Source and image source: aktivKANZLEI
Published on: 18 January 2023