California’s Health Studio Services Act applies to all contracts for services between a consumer and gym. (Civil Code §1812.82 et seq.) “Any contract for health studio services which does not comply with the applicable provisions of this title shall be void and unenforceable as contrary to public policy.” (Civil Code §1812.91.)
Courts have found a gym agreement’s waiver of liability void and unenforceable if the gym did not provide the member with a copy of the contract.
Prior to January 1, 2017, Civil Code section 1812.82 provided:
“A copy of the written contract shall be given to the customer at the time he signs the contract.”
Despite this provision, it was relatively easy for consumers to create a triable issue of fact in opposing a gym defendant’s motion for summary judgment by providing a declaration simply stating he or she was not provided a copy of the contract. Unless the gym could prove it provided the member with a copy of the contract, the contract was deemed unenforceable.
To help avoid this situation, we advised our clients of various options to prepare for these arguments by using technology to automatically send copies of member contracts via email. Some clients planned to use iPads for membership sign up, while others requested email addresses to send confirmation to each member along with a copy of the contract.
Fast forward to January 1, 2017, when AB 2810 took effect, the legislature amended Civil Code section 1812.82 to directly address this issue and provide a statutory solution for gyms.
Now, Civil Code section 1812.82 directly provides:
“A copy of the written contract shall be physically given to or delivered by email to the customer at the time he or she signs the contract.”
It is important to train employees to obtain gym member’s email addresses to make sure they are sent a copy of their signed contract upon enrollment. Should a member refuse to provide his or her email address or claim to not have one, do not let this expose the gym’s liability by allowing a plaintiff a means to creating a triable issue of fact regarding failure to physically provide a copy of the contract at the time of signing.
Be creative and anticipate these possible scenarios. For example, create a section in your agreement whereby the member must check a box stating they are refusing to provide an email address and have them initial and acknowledge receipt of a physical copy of the contract.
Overall, ensure your gym rats leave with contracts!
 California’s Health Studio Services Act applies to additional providers other than gyms:
“As used in this title, “contract for health studio services” means a contract for instruction, training or assistance in physical culture, body building, exercising, reducing, figure development, or any other such physical skill, or for the use by an individual patron of the facilities of a health studio, gymnasium or other facility used for any of the above purposes, or for membership in any group, club, association or organization formed for any of the above purposes; but does not include (a) contracts for professional services rendered or furnished by a person licensed under the provisions of Division 2 (commencing with Section 500) of the Business and Professions Code, (b) contracts for instruction at schools operating pursuant to the provisions of the Education Code, or (c) contracts for instruction, training, or assistance relating to diet or control of eating habits not involving physical culture, body building, exercising, figure development, or any other such physical skill.” (Civil Code §1812.81.)