Judgment on special termination right in the gym

No special right to terminate a gym contract if the contractor was aware of a chronic illness before the contract was signed

A gym contract cannot be terminated due to a chronic illness, at least not if the illness was known before the contract was signed and the customer did not conclude a separate agreement with the operator. The Munich District Court ruled this with the file number 213 C 22567/11. An extraordinary termination of a fitness studio due to a chronic illness is not possible if the contractor was informed of the illness before the contract was concluded.

In the specific case, the defendant terminated his contract at a gym. The reason he gave was suffering from a chronic illness that made further training impossible. The gym did not accept the special termination and continued to charge membership fees until the contract ended. After all, the customer would have known about his illness before the contract, the company argued. Because the man refused to make the payments of 1000 euros for the 24-month contract, the fitness center sued the customer.

During the trial, the defendant said that he could no longer practice the sport because chronic joint disease made the exercises on the equipment impossible. He had previously assumed that the training units would improve his symptoms. However, because he did not have the desired effect, he wanted to terminate the contract.

The Munich District Court, however, followed the position of the fitness center. The defendant was informed of his illness when the contract was concluded, so that there was no entitlement to special termination. "It is quite possible to exercise a special right of termination," said the presiding judge. However, the right can only be exercised if both contracting parties agree on a relevant clause before the contract is concluded. Because this had not happened, the man had to pay the plaintiff the outstanding contributions totaling 1029 euros.

Basically, special termination right for diseases that prevent training
In this context, lawyer Jens Ferner from Aachen draws attention to the fact that the Federal Court of Justice (Az: XII ZR 42/10) recently ruled that an illness that makes it impossible to visit a fitness studio is an important reason for terminating the contractual relationship prematurely cancel. According to §314 BGB, the customer "can only terminate within a reasonable period after becoming aware of the reason for termination". However, because in this case the reason for termination was known before the contract was concluded, §314 of the German Civil Code did not apply, so that it was not possible to gain knowledge of this in this specific case.

Furthermore, lawyer advises in special constellations to have a special right of termination set out in writing before signing a fitness studio contract. Ideally, this should be anchored in the contract, which is then signed by both sides. (sb)

Image: HHS / pixelio.de

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