Swiss fitness centres make it harder to get pandemic-related refunds or discounts

Swiss fitness centres make it harder to get pandemic-related refunds or discounts
Photo: AFP
Gyms and fitness centres in Switzerland have changed their membership contracts unilaterally, making it harder to end your subscription or get a refund in the event of another lockdown.

Fitness centres and gyms across Switzerland have been forced to close for large parts of the past year due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

From Monday, April 19th, Switzerland again allowed gyms and fitness centres to open – albeit subject to wide range of restrictions. 

READ MORE: What are the rules for gyms and fitness centres in Switzerland?

However, apparently wanting to cover themselves from potential future losses, fitness studios have changed their contractual clauses unilaterally to make it harder for members to get refunds in the case of further lockdowns. 

In the future, there will be no discounts, extensions, refunds or replacements in the event of ‘force majeure’ – which includes anything related to this or any other pandemic. 

Most of Switzerland’s big fitness chains – including Basefit, Activ Fitness and Migros Fitness – have made the changes, reports Switzerland’s Blick tabloid. 

Several other smaller chains and fitness centres have also followed suit. 

Some fitness centres had extended memberships and reduced fees during the first waves of the pandemic, however the rule change ensures that this is no longer an option. 

A law professor who spoke with Switzerland’s Blick said members would have little recourse to challenge the fitness centres on the changes. 

Frédéric Krauskopf, Professor of Private Law at the University of Bern, said the changes were likely to be held up in court. 

“When going to court, consumers cannot assume that they will be right,” said Krauskopf.

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