WA Fitness Industry Code Review

The Western Australian Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety has published a consultation paper as part of its review into the WA Fitness Industry Code. Feedback is being sought from fitness services providers, consumers, industry associations and other interested parties as to the effectiveness and appropriateness of the Code.

Attending a gym or fitness centre is the second-most popular form of physical activity for Australians (after ‘walking for exercise’ which is the most popular), particularly among consumers in the 18-34 age bracket. In an industry dominated by large fitness companies, consumers wishing to join a fitness centre or gym are faced with the task of comparing differing, and at times complex, membership agreements.

These agreements are often accompanied by forms authorising recurring direct debits and clauses dictating when fees will be automatically debited. Termination of membership agreements can at times be a stressful process for consumers, depending upon the structure and finer details of the termination clauses. WA Consumer Protection’s complaints data indicates that most of the complaints about the fitness industry relate to contractual issues.

Feedback is being sought on:

  • current and emerging issues and types of fitness services being offered in the marketplace, and whether there is a need for mandatory industry specific regulation in Western Australia; and whether it should apply to the same or new additional types of service providers and fitness activities;
  • whether you have experienced a problem as a consumer with joining a fitness centre or gym, purchasing services from a fitness instructor or personal trainer, the terms of your membership agreement, and terminating your membership agreement – and how your problems were resolved;
  • whether you have experienced a problem as a fitness services provider with transactions with consumers, terms of membership agreements, consumers terminating their membership agreements – and how your problems were resolved; and
  • whether you believe the 2018 Interim Code provides appropriate mandatory regulation of the fitness industry, or how it can be improved.

A copy of the consultation paper and information on making a submission can be found here: http://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/publications/fitness-industry-code-practice-review-public-consultation-paper