Gym contracts get revamp as ComCom puts on pressure

The Commerce Commission has flexed its muscles over unfair gym contracts.

A fair bulk of Kiwis are members of a gym or fitness club - more than 700,000, in fact - but contracts have been found weighted in the companies' favour.

Since a review of those terms, the Commerce Commission says it's satisfied most gyms have made changes.

"The changes that the gyms have made really add some further balance for consumers so that they have the opportunity to terminate their contract if they don't like changes - for example, a change in location that's unreasonable," Commissioner Anna Rawlings told Newshub.

One of the key recommendations was reducing the amount of notice members have to give before they cancel their membership, from 30 days.

Club Physio chief executive Paul Richards says they've dropped from 20 different membership types to three.

"And two of them you can cancel within 10 days, so there's very little to keep people coming if they don't want to come," he told Newshub.

The review was based around customer complaints, including liability - who is responsible when equipment is damaged or property is lost? - and also complaints that the contracts just weren't written in a way which was clear to understand.

The Commerce Commission says before the review, some gym contracts had a clause which meant they accepted no liability for damage or loss even when they were negligent.

While there's still nothing to force gyms into accepting the recommendations to make contracts more fair, they could be prosecuted in future.

"It is open to the Commission, if we continue to have concerns about any of these terms that are not changed, to take an application to the District Court for a declaration that the term is unfair," Ms Rawlings said.

If you've signed an old contract, the Commerce Commission says the terms should be updated to swing the balance back in your favour.