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HELP: Breaking a gym $$ contract to change gyms

LJL07

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Jan 27, 2014
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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.
Yes, you can get out of it. It is really not enforceable!
 

Pineapple_Lump

Coach
Coach
Proud Relative
Judge
Jan 31, 2008
1,081
Not sure how it works for you and maybe not the right thing to do... but if you can get out of the contract on medical grounds can you get a medical certificate for the strain on her mental health because of their environment?
 

LJL07

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Jan 27, 2014
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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?
Nope. Safesport is USELESS. They could care less.
 

GymmieC

Member
Proud Parent
Dec 26, 2012
263
This am unpaid balance is for services already rendered, from my perspective.
That’s why I mentioned tuition that is unpaid. Past meet fees, I’d imagine were paid or she wouldn’t have been allowed to compete in past season. No one can force payment of Upcoming season If you are not at said gym.
 

TumbleTimes4

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Sep 13, 2016
357
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USA
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.
I would try and get ahead of this and in an appropriate and tactful manner talk with the new perspective gym about why you are leaving the current one. It can be done without coming across as dramatic or gossipy. Chances are, your DD won’t be the first gymnast from that gym that is looking to switch to theirs. The other gym’s reputation may already be known by the other gyms in the area. And I absolutely would not give them 45 days notice or pay any additional fees for services that have not yet been rendered. If they gave me any issues, I would ask them what time they would be available to speak to my lawyer. They aren’t going to waste the time and money to try and enforce a contract that won’t hold up in court.
 

Freddy's Fred

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Nov 19, 2017
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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."
If you have a credit card on file, block it and move on. Don't pay them another nickel.
 

moogacat

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Nov 1, 2018
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USA
At the risk of being a contrary voice, by all means leave this horrid gym and attempt to put the place behind you, but don't assume they won't try to enforce this. I don't think it's likely, but it's possible and it's possible a court could enforce it. Contract law can very by jurisdiction, and unless you've got legal counsel admitted in your state don't make assumptions re the enforceability of the contract based on what people here are saying, especially when we can't see the entire contract. Do what you need to do, but be smart and don't rely on "legal advice" here.
 

Empowered

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Mar 19, 2009
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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?
My daughter ended up in this exact place. Heading into second year level 10 season and the gym would not release her from the contract. Owner called every competitive gym within commute distance to tell them we owed them money. I stopped at 5 gyms contacted, but even after explaining the monies "due" were future meet fees and that I'd already paid well over $1,000 in meet fees/assessments for a future season she would never compete (and would repay for at the new gym), they all sided with the abusive gym and said they couldn't take her.

My daughter said she didn't want to pay another dime to the abusive gym and decided to walk away instead.

Reported to USAG and their response was, we hear this all the time and it's awful and against what we stand for, but we can't do anything about it. Translation, any gym, state, region, is free to screw with kids and their families and USAG couldn't give a flying fig.

I wouldn't worry about the owner going after you for money though. Beyond blackballing my at the time 13 year old kid and destroying her gymnastics future out of spite, the original gym never actually tried to recoup the monies. Likely because they know legally, they have no standing.
 

flippin out

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Sep 26, 2011
547
My daughter ended up in this exact place. Heading into second year level 10 season and the gym would not release her from the contract. Owner called every competitive gym within commute distance to tell them we owed them money. I stopped at 5 gyms contacted, but even after explaining the monies "due" were future meet fees and that I'd already paid well over $1,000 in meet fees/assessments for a future season she would never compete (and would repay for at the new gym), they all sided with the abusive gym and said they couldn't take her.

My daughter said she didn't want to pay another dime to the abusive gym and decided to walk away instead.

Reported to USAG and their response was, we hear this all the time and it's awful and against what we stand for, but we can't do anything about it. Translation, any gym, state, region, is free to screw with kids and their families and USAG couldn't give a flying fig.

I wouldn't worry about the owner going after you for money though. Beyond blackballing my at the time 13 year old kid and destroying her gymnastics future out of spite, the original gym never actually tried to recoup the monies. Likely because they know legally, they have no standing.
sadly, that gym sounds spiteful enough that even if you had paid all the future fees (ransom for not bad mouthing)....they likely would've still called all area gyms and trashed your daughter and your family anyway. They'd likely have told all prospective gyms that she was lazy and didn't take corrections at all, that she lies and doesn't do the assignments and that her parents were unrealistic and the worst case of over-involved parents they've ever seen, etc. -- sadly I've seen that happen to more than a few families. It absolutely sucks and it's so hard to believe that others gyms can not see through this ploy
 

LJL07

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Jan 27, 2014
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My daughter ended up in this exact place. Heading into second year level 10 season and the gym would not release her from the contract. Owner called every competitive gym within commute distance to tell them we owed them money. I stopped at 5 gyms contacted, but even after explaining the monies "due" were future meet fees and that I'd already paid well over $1,000 in meet fees/assessments for a future season she would never compete (and would repay for at the new gym), they all sided with the abusive gym and said they couldn't take her.

My daughter said she didn't want to pay another dime to the abusive gym and decided to walk away instead.

Reported to USAG and their response was, we hear this all the time and it's awful and against what we stand for, but we can't do anything about it. Translation, any gym, state, region, is free to screw with kids and their families and USAG couldn't give a flying fig.

I wouldn't worry about the owner going after you for money though. Beyond blackballing my at the time 13 year old kid and destroying her gymnastics future out of spite, the original gym never actually tried to recoup the monies. Likely because they know legally, they have no standing.
That is just appalling. There are really just no words.
 

Flippin'A

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Dec 4, 2017
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sadly, that gym sounds spiteful enough that even if you had paid all the future fees (ransom for not bad mouthing)....they likely would've still called all area gyms and trashed your daughter and your family anyway. They'd likely have told all prospective gyms that she was lazy and didn't take corrections at all, that she lies and doesn't do the assignments and that her parents were unrealistic and the worst case of over-involved parents they've ever seen, etc. -- sadly I've seen that happen to more than a few families. It absolutely sucks and it's so hard to believe that others gyms can not see through this ploy
I think this is a really important point to make. A spiteful gym is going to find a way to blackball you even if jumped through all their hoops. Paying this absurd amount of money won't remove this as a possibility and not paying it doesn't make it your fault if other gyms in the area don't want to train your DD. Hopefully the other gyms already know this one is difficult and are happy to get take their business, but it's sometimes considered a "professional courtesy" not to take on a gymnast unless their last gym says it's okay. Personally I wish there was a way to ban this as a practice, but as others have said, Safe Sport is overwhelmed to the point of being useless and USAG likes to pretend that it has no ability to impose rules on private clubs about this sort of thing, so I don't see that happening anytime soon.
 

Eat/Sleep/Gym...Repeat

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Oct 26, 2019
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My daughter ended up in this exact place. Heading into second year level 10 season and the gym would not release her from the contract. Owner called every competitive gym within commute distance to tell them we owed them money. I stopped at 5 gyms contacted, but even after explaining the monies "due" were future meet fees and that I'd already paid well over $1,000 in meet fees/assessments for a future season she would never compete (and would repay for at the new gym), they all sided with the abusive gym and said they couldn't take her.

My daughter said she didn't want to pay another dime to the abusive gym and decided to walk away instead.

Reported to USAG and their response was, we hear this all the time and it's awful and against what we stand for, but we can't do anything about it. Translation, any gym, state, region, is free to screw with kids and their families and USAG couldn't give a flying fig.

I wouldn't worry about the owner going after you for money though. Beyond blackballing my at the time 13 year old kid and destroying her gymnastics future out of spite, the original gym never actually tried to recoup the monies. Likely because they know legally, they have no standing.
That is awful. Unimaginable how someone who is supposed to be in a business of supporting young athletes would stoop to such low levels.
 

Freddy's Fred

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Nov 19, 2017
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Thank you all for sharing your experiences and advice. All heard loud and clear.
I was in a similar situation and just cancelled the credit card on file. I would not throw good money after bad. If they want to call every gym around, so be it. If a gym is going to side with them, it's probably not a gym you want to be at.
 

jamieintexas

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Sep 30, 2017
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I am a coach. I know which gyms in the area are abusive. If you were to walk into my gym right now, I would not care if another gym said that you owed money for the rest of the year. I can’t believe that gyms think that this is ok. Is this common in your area?
 

Oopski

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May 25, 2012
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Our gym doesn't require we sign a contract, but we do have to sign on for the season and have a 6 month payment plan for meet fees, uniform, bag, warmups etc. These fees are owed whether we end up competing or not (injury, out of town, emergency) because they have to sign the girls up for the meets in advance. I'm not sure if you're talking about meet fee's here or tuition. I definitely wouldn't pay tuition, but I would feel like you would owe any meet fees they've already signed up for and paid. (again, not sure if this is what you meant at all). I hope you guys can get out of there ASAP
 

Empowered

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I am a coach. I know which gyms in the area are abusive. If you were to walk into my gym right now, I would not care if another gym said that you owed money for the rest of the year. I can’t believe that gyms think that this is ok. Is this common in your area?
Not speaking for OP, but in the region (and state specifically) this occurred in relation to my daughter, it is common. It's also a cancerous state known for abusive coaches who farm innocent children out to pedophile doctors. It's a "good old boys" network up there at all levels of gymnastics and if anyone thinks that's changed after Larry, I have a lovely bridge to sell them.
 

doublestrike

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Jun 16, 2018
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My daughter had a short stint at one gym that had ownership issues one summer and failed to disclose it to the parents, as a result the girls were not training upgrades all summer. Once the parents started to find out, the upper levels started to leave, this was early fall. We started to look at other gyms and during the try-outs, one of the gym owners said that old gym called them saying that we failed to pay the last month and that my daughter was a bad teammate (she was 12 at the time). I showed the new gym a cancelled check for the month (I paid half the month, even though she only went 2x) and they were happy with that. My daughter is very well liked, not as a bad sport and other parents at the new gym spoke up for her. They accepted us. I wrote to the old gym and threatened them with the code of conduct for coaches and for lying and defaming a child. Last I heard from them, and they are very uncomfortable any time they see us. They haven't had a level 10 in years. What comes around goes around...
 

amiandjim

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Apr 18, 2015
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Not speaking for OP, but in the region (and state specifically) this occurred in relation to my daughter, it is common. It's also a cancerous state known for abusive coaches who farm innocent children out to pedophile doctors. It's a "good old boys" network up there at all levels of gymnastics and if anyone thinks that's changed after Larry, I have a lovely bridge to sell them.
Sadly, I immediately assumed you were from that state when I read your post. That’s so sad for those children. We are in your region, but it is NOT common here. In fact, about 8-9 years ago, a coach left our gym and opened a new gym. Many girls followed him, especially upper levels. A few years later, most of those girls came back to our gym. They were welcomed with open arms, no hard feelings whatsoever. There ARE gyms out there that want kids to be happy!
 

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