Knesset Slaps Cap on Gym Exit Penalties

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Consumer awareness has been all the rage in Israel since the midsummer cost-of-living protests of 2011, and now the legislator has turned sights onto the weighty issue of gyms that gouge members who want out, Israeli media reports.
The law will also apply to swimming pools, sports clubs, kiddie afternoon classes – and even timeshares.

As things are, if you committed to use a pool or gym, pool or the like, and changed your mind – you'd pay dearly for your fecklessness. At least, until now.

The law, sponsored by Avishay Braverman and Eitan Cabel of the Labor Party, rules that exit penalties cannot exceed a quarter of the total value of the contract, if it's terminated within its first four months; that drops to 17 percent in the last four months. Gyms typically sign new members onto deals of one to two years.

With that the Israeli legislator finally finished a legislative process begun under the previous Knesset. The new law will also apply, with retroactive effect, to the time-share owners in the Club Hotel resort who want to prematurely terminate (very) long-term contracts.

In the summer of 2011, hundreds of thousands of Israelis took to the streets to protest the high cost of living, and of housing. The whole thing began with a grassroots boycott of cottage cheese, which is a staple product on Israeli breakfast and dinner tables. Haaretz reported that while the price of the raw milk used to make the curds had risen 3% in a few years, the price of the cheese had risen by 30% to 40%. And that was just one example of ways in which consumers were getting gouged.

While after much resistance, suppliers and then retailers did lower prices of many products, they have also been creeping back up in the last year.

If you don't have the stomach for this, you can now get out of the contract earlier without paying through the nose.Credit: Dreamstime

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