Arizona bill aims to allow people to cancel gym memberships online

Arizona state lawmakers are introducing a new bill that would require all gyms to have an option for canceling memberships online.

The bill was proposed after health and wellness-related complaints sent to the Arizona Attorney General’s Office went up by 400% in 2020, with a lot of people saying they were not able to cancel their gym memberships because the companies required them to go in person.

That is why State Representative Justin Wilmeth is introducing House Bill 2697, which would require all gyms to have an option for canceling online and via email.

"It’s a consumer affairs, consumer protection kind of a measure," said State Rep. Wilmeth.

Canceling a gym membership seems like it’d be a simple thing to do, but State Rep. Wilmeth says for many, it can be a hassle.

Especially in the age of COVID-19. Many gyms have been requiring people to either cancel in person, or mail in a cancellation form.

"You couldn’t go into the gym to cancel because many were shut down, which means the only way you could cancel was through registered mail, which is kind of a cumbersome process," said State Rep. Wilmeth.

That meant for many, monthly fees taken out of already strained bank accounts to pay for a membership that they couldn’t even use.

"You had people that were suffering because of all the closures and job loss, and then, they look at their bank statement and I can’t even use it, and by the way, I need that 30 bucks for food," said State Rep. Wilmeth.

Measures introduced by the bill are supported by some outside of the government, like former gym member Kyle Ester.

Early on in the pandemic, Ester says he has to cancel his membership in person, even though he would have preferred to do so from home.

"I just went in 'cause I didn’t think you could cancel over the phone, or they would make you come in to try and talk you out of cancelling your membership," aid Ester.

It’s a similar story for Lissie Thomas, who says she would like to have the option to cancel virtually.

"They should let you online cancel or in person, as long as you are well protected and stay six feet apart," said Thomas.

The bill is currently still going through the State House. After that, if it makes it through, it will go on to the State Senate, and eventually, Governor Doug Ducey’s desk before it became law.