What to do in the event of a customer default in a gym?

A customer default is a common situation that can become problematic. If we do not keep a proper policy, the chances are that our gym will become less and less profitable. It is therefore essential that we know what to do in the event of a default and prevent it from worsening in the short to medium term.

General user conditions in a gym

It is the duty of the users of the centre to pay their fees on time. However, in order to make sure they comply, we first need to look at their rights. Only in this way will we be in a position to act from a considered and appropriate perspective. Why do we need to specify the user terms and conditions? Simply because the absence of these is the main argument of non-payers. They can easily say that they have not paid their fees because we have not provided them with the services they are paying for.

Qualified instructors

Machine-based sports activity is very effective, but there are some risks for beginners. That is why it is essential that there is an instructor to supervise that the exercises are being done with a good technique. Otherwise, we would not be able to present the concept of fees as “Gym + instructor”, for example. On the other hand, instructors must be qualified. This means that they have a university degree or a specific qualification to prove that they are qualified. Many centres rely on class teachers to monitor the gym.

Machines in good condition

The machines in a gym tend to break down from time to time due to their use and the heavy weight they support. This tends to happen more often on those used for the lower body or those with pulleys. It is therefore extremely important to keep them in good condition so that does not become an argument for customer defaults. By itself, a machine being out of order is not a reason to default. However, having several machines in this state implies poor training conditions. This is why many centres choose to have several machines of the same type, so that inevitable breakages do not affect users’ routines.

Reasonable hours and conditions

This problem emerged relatively recently due to the coronavirus pandemic. With COVID-19 restrictions, sports centres have been forced to impose a maximum capacity. Many choose to therefore distribute their time in time slots of usually one and a half hours. Could this be grounds to default? Obviously not, as the terms of the contract remain unchanged. However, the time spent in our facilities does change. By this, we mean that a customer who previously spent 3 hours at the centre could apply for a discount on their fee. This does not mean, however, that the law recognises the right.

Cases where a user must get back on track with payments

As gym managers, we must demand the same obligations from our users as we do from ourselves. In these situations, it is important to have some flexibility in order to avoid losing users and the knock-on effect that would ensue. It is therefore best to know when it is appropriate to claim payments and when it is better to wait. Firstly, payments have to be made on the agreed day. Generally, this coincides with the same day in the months following the member signing the contract. With this in mind, it would not be correct to claim it before the end of the month, as this would be a more than reasonable deadline. Concern should arise when the next month begins. During the first week, it would be appropriate to give a verbal warning in a friendly manner. To do this, you should first ask if they are satisfied with the facilities and service they are receiving. The aim is to find out whether they feel that the money invested in our sports centre is worthwhile. If the verbal notice has no effect within one week, it is up to us to produce a written notice. There are three main types available:
    • By post
    • By email or mobile phone
    • In person, either under summons or not
This would be the last step before taking action and the one that should have an effect. If not, other solutions would have to be implemented. Now, we would no longer be talking about being flexible, but about forcing payment, obligating the user to comply with their commitment to enjoy our services.

Ways of reclaming in the event of a customer default in a gym

Always trying to resort to the most peaceful option possible, we will set out different actions to be implemented.

Conciliation meeting

The key is to provide close treatment at all times, in line with the treatment they have always received at our centre. The best way to do this is to meet with the user to find out why they are unable to pay their fees. When the time comes, we will grant them payment facilities.

Payment alternative

If the financial way is not possible, thinking of an alternative might be the solution. An example to satisfy your payment would be to have your services as an athlete in the gym through classes. Other options would be to ask you to teach a course (provided you have some training that allows you to do so) or to do bricklaying, painting or similar work at the centre.

Requesting outside help

Two options are at the other extreme. On the one hand, we can put you on the list of defaulters, which will put you under pressure by making you ineligible for credit and financing. On the other hand, there is the possibility of taking legal action, although this is not a recommended alternative due to the high costs involved.
In short, non-payment by a client in a gym is as frequent as it is avoidable. When the time comes, we have numerous options, although we must always start with the least conflictive ones.In these situations, it is best to opt for smart management software for your centre to avoid human error.

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