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HELP: Breaking a gym $$ contract to change gyms

Eat/Sleep/Gym...Repeat

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Oct 26, 2019
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It is very clear now that we need to pull our daughter out of her current (toxic) gym -- if you're interested in details, they're in my other posts (we are new to this community this past week as we have been seeking counsel, advice and support -- and you guys have been OUTSTANDING!! Thank you!!). We have been at this gym for 3 years prior. She was initially in Xcel, but was "invited" to transition to JO level 6 over the summer. We did not anticipate that things would downward spiral in the way they have in the last few months, culminating in the last week. This gym has a contract, which we have signed the last couple years (don't recall if it was this way when we first started) that says we are responsible for the whole "year" tuition if we leave for any non-medical reason. I'm asking here if anyone has had a similar contract that they have gotten out of, and what grounds were you successful?

This is the text of the contract pertaining to this subject: (bold and emphasis is theirs)
"I understand that my athlete occupies one of the limited spots on team and therefore must remain a paid team member for twelve month season which begins June 1, 2019. I agree that my athlete must also register for all competitions, buy and maintain all of the proper team uniforms, pay coaches fees, registration fees and routine fees and not withdraw from the program for the entire season.

I am financially responsible to pay the Total Seasons's Tuition. I may pay the entire amount in one lump sum or in ten or thirteen installments. I also agree that I must give more than 45 days written notice and receive gym acceptance prior to withdrawing my athlete from ACTIVE team status although I will still be financially responsible for the remaining tuition balance of the season."

So if anyone has actual similar experience it would be greatly appreciated to hear how you got through this.
Or, hey, "Is there a lawyer in the house?"

Thank you all for the opportunity to participate in this community. I have enjoyed also browsing some of the other more positive topics here and having some of my current anxiety and sadness regarding these events alleviated.
 

ldw4mlo

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I'm very sorry. But I would never ever sign a contract like that.

I'd like to think it is unenforceable beyond any meet fees you already committed to. I'll be interested to see what folks with some legal knowledge say.
 

MILgymFAM

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I doubt it’s actually enforceable. Is there anything in the contact that stipulates behavior of gymnasts, coaches, or the gym? The bullying going unchecked surely voids it?
 

bookworm

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Good God, you had to sign this when she was in Xcel? That was tip #1 that disaster was headed your way ...I've been in the sport for almost 20 years and had 2 multi year level 10s and never signed any contract, ever. Nor would I have signed one....for a leisure activity...I'm not taking out a mortgage, my kid was doing a sport, period.

Given what you've said has been going on with all the bullying and the coaches basically throwing their hands up saying they know about the bad behavior (and if you have anything such as an email to that effect, keep it) , they have created a hostile environment which I would think negates the contract , but I'm no lawyer. If even bringing up a lawyer doesn't get you out of it, see if you can get a letter from her pediatrician stating that the hostile environment is having a detrimental effect on her mental health and she can't continue there.

And if none of that works, call and email them EVERY SINGLE DAY about the bad behaviors and make the powers that be miserable enough that they toss you...save every written response you get back and hopefully build your case to leave.
 

Eat/Sleep/Gym...Repeat

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Oct 26, 2019
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Thank you MILgymFAN. The only behavioral stipulation is this in the "personal consent" section (which applies to everything they do there, classes, birthday parties, etc, and team): "We will follow the posted Rules of Participation, dress modestly and act in a calm moral manner or risk of being ejected from the facility."
 

MILgymFAM

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I wanted to add, we signed a similar contract once. The gym was a terrible, abusive place, and we left without notice due to feared retribution. My daughter competed at a meet, cried on the way home because she was so anxious to go back the next day, and we decided she never had to go back again. We even left her weights and supplies in her locker. I emailed them the next week, after she had already started at her new gym, and told them we were 100% done with them and she was moving on for her mental and emotional well being. They made some rumblings about the contract and I told them good luck- feel free to have a lawyer contact me and I would go line by line the ways they had broken their end. They dropped it immediately.
 

Eat/Sleep/Gym...Repeat

New Member
Proud Parent
Oct 26, 2019
23
Country
USA
Good God, you had to sign this when she was in Xcel? That was tip #1 that disaster was headed your way ...I've been in the sport for almost 20 years and had 2 multi year level 10s and never signed any contract, ever. Nor would I have signed one....for a leisure activity...I'm not taking out a mortgage, my kid was doing a sport, period.

Given what you've said has been going on with all the bullying and the coaches basically throwing their hands up saying they know about the bad behavior (and if you have anything such as an email to that effect, keep it) , they have created a hostile environment which I would think negates the contract , but I'm no lawyer. If even bringing up a lawyer doesn't get you out of it, see if you can get a letter from her pediatrician stating that the hostile environment is having a detrimental effect on her mental health and she can't continue there.

And if none of that works, call and email them EVERY SINGLE DAY about the bad behaviors and make the powers that be miserable enough that they toss you...save every written response you get back and hopefully build your case to leave.
I felt nauseated signing it but really had no frame of reference and without it she couldn't be at this gym. We didn't have reason to believe we would want to leave. But the advice you suggest is good, and maybe something will come of the fact that this seems like an abomination of typical gym policies/procedures. Thanks again!
 

Eat/Sleep/Gym...Repeat

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Proud Parent
Oct 26, 2019
23
Country
USA
I wanted to add, we signed a similar contract once. The gym was a terrible, abusive place, and we left without notice due to feared retribution. My daughter competed at a meet, cried on the way home because she was so anxious to go back the next day, and we decided she never had to go back again. We even left her weights and supplies in her locker. I emailed them the next week, after she had already started at her new gym, and told them we were 100% done with them and she was moving on for her mental and emotional well being. They made some rumblings about the contract and I told them good luck- feel free to have a lawyer contact me and I would go line by line the ways they had broken their end. They dropped it immediately.
Yup, my husband's plan too if it comes to it. Thanks for the affirmation.
 

Sk8ermaiden

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May 6, 2013
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I'm sorry. I have no advice. I have a lawyer friend who could probably write me something on letterhead about the bullying issue + the contract being unenforceable.

But it just seems like SUCH bad business if you're not shady. If you have a good product - people will WANT to be there. And if someone is unhappy at your gym - you do NOT want them in your lobby. Parents talk. Negativity among parents can be really catching and turn the atmosphere toxic quickly. You want the parents in your program to be thrilled with what you do and to not want to be anywhere else.
 

Letstalkgymnastics

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Nov 18, 2017
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Yup, my husband's plan too if it comes to it. Thanks for the affirmation.
It is very clear now that we need to pull our daughter out of her current (toxic) gym -- if you're interested in details, they're in my other posts (we are new to this community this past week as we have been seeking counsel, advice and support -- and you guys have been OUTSTANDING!! Thank you!!). We have been at this gym for 3 years prior. She was initially in Xcel, but was "invited" to transition to JO level 6 over the summer. We did not anticipate that things would downward spiral in the way they have in the last few months, culminating in the last week. This gym has a contract, which we have signed the last couple years (don't recall if it was this way when we first started) that says we are responsible for the whole "year" tuition if we leave for any non-medical reason. I'm asking here if anyone has had a similar contract that they have gotten out of, and what grounds were you successful?

This is the text of the contract pertaining to this subject: (bold and emphasis is theirs)
"I understand that my athlete occupies one of the limited spots on team and therefore must remain a paid team member for twelve month season which begins June 1, 2019. I agree that my athlete must also register for all competitions, buy and maintain all of the proper team uniforms, pay coaches fees, registration fees and routine fees and not withdraw from the program for the entire season.

I am financially responsible to pay the Total Seasons's Tuition. I may pay the entire amount in one lump sum or in ten or thirteen installments. I also agree that I must give more than 45 days written notice and receive gym acceptance prior to withdrawing my athlete from ACTIVE team status although I will still be financially responsible for the remaining tuition balance of the season."

So if anyone has actual similar experience it would be greatly appreciated to hear how you got through this.
Or, hey, "Is there a lawyer in the house?"

Thank you all for the opportunity to participate in this community. I have enjoyed also browsing some of the other more positive topics here and having some of my current anxiety and sadness regarding these events alleviated.
I've been in a gym just like this and in your exact situation. Leave! Don't pay a dime for any services not receive do. Tell them in writing that you are withdrawing your child from the program affective immediately. You can't enforce a contract made with a minor. Period! Make sure you spell out how abusive they were and make it clear that it's them that violated the contract, not you.
 
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Flippin'A

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Am I reading this right? when they say "active team status" do they mean actually attending practices and competitions? Because if so are they actually trying to require 45 days written notice and to receive gym acceptance before they'll "allow" your minor to stop attending an extracurricular activity? These overly intense gym contracts always sound so predatory. My gym growing up made all the gymnasts sign one and it stipulated that we couldn't date while on team along with a bunch of other behavior stuff. In retrospect that's actually pretty creepy. I agree with what everyone else is saying-- I doubt this is enforceable and likely if you show a willingness to get lawyers or safesport involved in some way the gym will back off. Expect that it might be awkward in the future if you run into these people at meets, but it's more than worth breaking the contract to get your DD somewhere safe.
 
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Eat/Sleep/Gym...Repeat

New Member
Proud Parent
Oct 26, 2019
23
Country
USA
Am I reading this right? when they say "active team status" do they mean actually attending practices and competitions? Because if so are they actually trying to require 45 days written notice and to receive gym acceptance before they'll "allow" your minor to stop attending an extracurricular activity? These overly intense gym contracts always sound so predatory. My gym growing up made all the gymnasts sign one and it stipulated that we couldn't date while on team along with a bunch of other behavior stuff. In retrospect that's actually pretty creepy. I agree with what everyone else is saying-- I doubt this is enforceable and likely if you show a willingness to get lawyers or safesport involved in some way the gym will back off. Expect that it might be awkward in the future if you run into these people at meets, but it's more than worth breaking the contract to get your DD somewhere safe.
Yeah, I know their language is pretty nuts. Can’t imagine how this would be enforcable, and if it’s a scare tactic, that also speaks volumes. Thank you for the insight both as a parent and forever gymnast. "SafeSport” I think would be a good phrase to bring into our exit discussion with this gym. Also I hadn’t used the word bullying, but others have (correctly) in their replies and advice. Certainly these 2 words are hot-button topics these days, and would bear weight to our situation. Thanks again
 

GymmieC

Member
Proud Parent
Dec 26, 2012
263
It is very clear now that we need to pull our daughter out of her current (toxic) gym -- if you're interested in details, they're in my other posts (we are new to this community this past week as we have been seeking counsel, advice and support -- and you guys have been OUTSTANDING!! Thank you!!). We have been at this gym for 3 years prior. She was initially in Xcel, but was "invited" to transition to JO level 6 over the summer. We did not anticipate that things would downward spiral in the way they have in the last few months, culminating in the last week. This gym has a contract, which we have signed the last couple years (don't recall if it was this way when we first started) that says we are responsible for the whole "year" tuition if we leave for any non-medical reason. I'm asking here if anyone has had a similar contract that they have gotten out of, and what grounds were you successful?

This is the text of the contract pertaining to this subject: (bold and emphasis is theirs)
"I understand that my athlete occupies one of the limited spots on team and therefore must remain a paid team member for twelve month season which begins June 1, 2019. I agree that my athlete must also register for all competitions, buy and maintain all of the proper team uniforms, pay coaches fees, registration fees and routine fees and not withdraw from the program for the entire season.

I am financially responsible to pay the Total Seasons's Tuition. I may pay the entire amount in one lump sum or in ten or thirteen installments. I also agree that I must give more than 45 days written notice and receive gym acceptance prior to withdrawing my athlete from ACTIVE team status although I will still be financially responsible for the remaining tuition balance of the season."

So if anyone has actual similar experience it would be greatly appreciated to hear how you got through this.
Or, hey, "Is there a lawyer in the house?"

Thank you all for the opportunity to participate in this community. I have enjoyed also browsing some of the other more positive topics here and having some of my current anxiety and sadness regarding these events alleviated.
A gymnastics contract is NOT legal. Walk away from that gym. I did same. Owner tried to call me to harass me. When I finally took her call because I had had it, I simply told her that I'd send her my child's medical bills. I Never heard from her again. You are dealing with light weight bullies. Call their bluff. These contracts are Not enforceable. I bet another gym you go to will know them for who they are as well.
 

FlippinLilysMom

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Just be aware that your new gym may reach out to your current gym to see if you have a balance, the current gym may tell them about the contract. It will be up to the new gym on how they proceed.
 

bookworm

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Just be aware that your new gym may reach out to your current gym to see if you have a balance, the current gym may tell them about the contract. It will be up to the new gym on how they proceed.
And if I'm the OP, and my new gym sides with my old gym, we'll be done with gymnastics and pick a new sport...

You'd think Safesport would get involved in preventing scenarios like this , especially where Xcel level athletes( never mind regular JO levels) are told to sign year long agreements , because the whole set up just lends itself to people not speaking out ,if there is an issue, for at least a year because they're on the hook for the money....and we're right back where we were making our little compliant gymnasts with their equally compliant parents who say nothing when they should say something...oh Li Li where are you when we need you?
 

MILgymFAM

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Just be aware that your new gym may reach out to your current gym to see if you have a balance, the current gym may tell them about the contract. It will be up to the new gym on how they proceed.
Perhaps. When we told the new gym in our situation where my DD was coming from- we were forthright with them- the new owner shook his head and said of course, switch her right away, I know all about him. Some coaches/gyms reputations precede them.
 

GymmieC

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Dec 26, 2012
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Just be aware that your new gym may reach out to your current gym to see if you have a balance, the current gym may tell them about the contract. It will be up to the new gym on how they proceed.
Most gyms are concerned about tuition unpaid balances. But if they know gym to be abusive, they put that all in consideration.
 
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GymmieC

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Dec 26, 2012
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And if I'm the OP, and my new gym sides with my old gym, we'll be done with gymnastics and pick a new sport...

You'd think Safesport would get involved in preventing scenarios like this , especially where Xcel level athletes( never mind regular JO levels) are told to sign year long agreements , because the whole set up just lends itself to people not speaking out ,if there is an issue, for at least a year because they're on the hook for the money....and we're right back where we were making our little compliant gymnasts with their equally compliant parents who say nothing when they should say something...oh Li Li where are you when we need you?
I 1000% agree. Abusive behavior permeates from idleness. We parents can be change agents.
 

bookworm

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Oct 3, 2009
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Most gyms are concerned about tuition unpaid balances. But if they know gym to be abusive, they put that all in consideration.
And if I'm the new gym, that doesn't have the stupid contract, I would not consider tuition 8 months into the future (from now until June 2020) as an "unpaid balance" ...as long as the family was current month to month in the past , they should be fine...and hopefully the reputation of the old gym has preceded them.
 

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