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I was trying to cancel my gym membership because I had a surprise surgery that put me out of physical activity for a few months, and I couldn't leave the house for one month, but they told me that no matter what I need to come in to cancel without exceptions.

Can they say this? Now they're trying to charge me for the months that I was unable to attend for but still "had a membership" because I "never canceled".

I regret not trying to email them after the phone call, I would have much preferred to have a record of this.

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Conditions pertaining to cancellation of a contract are contained in the contract, that is there is no general "right to cancel a contract", apart from certain 3-day window rights in some jurisdictions. For example, Washington state has some specific cancellation laws, summarized here. If the contract does not allow for cancellation, then you can't cancel the contract. I assume that your contract does have a cancellation clause: then you could have to see what that clause actually states.

As it turns out, Florida has a law (Fla Stat. 501.017) which regulates health studio (gym) contracts, requiring certain clauses above the signature box. One required clause per (1)(b)2 is

that notice of intent to cancel by the buyer shall be given in writing to the health studio.

However,

If the health studio wishes to enforce the contract after receipt of the notice, it may request the department to determine the sufficiency of the notice.

This means that if they want to enforce the contract after a cancellation, they may request "the department" (Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services) to rule whether the notice was according to the contract (as mandated by law).

It will also contain under (1)(d)

A provision for the cancellation of the contract if the buyer dies or becomes physically unable to avail himself or herself of a substantial portion of those services which he or she used from the commencement of the contract until the time of disability, with refund of funds paid or accepted in payment of the contract in an amount computed by dividing the contract price by the number of weeks in the contract term and multiplying the result by the number of weeks remaining in the contract term. The contract may require a buyer or the buyer’s estate seeking relief under this paragraph to provide proof of disability or death. A physical disability sufficient to warrant cancellation of the contract by the buyer is established if the buyer furnishes to the health studio a certification of such disability by a physician licensed under chapter 458, chapter 459, chapter 460, or chapter 461 to the extent the diagnosis or treatment of the disability is within the physician’s scope of practice. A refund shall be issued within 30 days after receipt of the notice of cancellation made pursuant to this paragraph.

It appears, then, that you simply need to give notice in the correct form (written, with a doctor's notice). In case the club does not have the required provisions in the contract, the contract violates state law and is unenforceable.

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  • Makes sense, I wasn't sure if it would jurisdiction based, or there were general laws about this, etc. but I'll have to see what it says. I should have added the Florida tag as well – Brian says Reinstate Monica Aug 2 '18 at 18:46

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