As a fitness supplier, you must meet certain legal requirements under the Code of Practice.
False claims of membership or endorsement
You and your employees must not falsely claim that you endorse or are members of organisations or associations, such as Fitness Australia.
High-pressure tactics, harassment or unconscionable behaviour
You cannot use high-pressure tactics, harassment or unconscionable conduct to get a potential client to sign a membership agreement.
You must also take reasonable steps to ensure employees do not use such behaviour.
Harassment can include:
- using threatening or intimidating language or behaviour towards a client (or asking someone else to do this)
- making a client unwillingly feel they must obey a supplier´s request or demand.
Unconscionable conduct can include:
- taking unfair advantage of a superior bargaining position with a client
- forcing a client to comply with unnecessary or unreasonable conditions
- taking unfair advantage of a client´s lack of understanding if they obviously do not understand some documents
- using undue influence or pressure, or unfair tactics, against a client.
False or misleading communications
You must not use false and misleading communications, including advertising. For example, you cannot offer a client a free reward or gift if the cost of the associated service increases or the service quality is affected as a result.
All promotional material must:
- be truthful, accurate and unambiguous
- not encourage unrealistic expectations about the service (e.g. lose 20 kilos in three weeks).
You must not make deliberately misleading or false comparisons with other fitness services or suppliers. You need to ensure that your employees do not use these tactics.
Each fitness centre must display a sign that states that:
- clients must write to you about any health risks that might affect their participation in fitness services
- casual clients must assess their own fitness level, ability to exercise and health risks that may affect their participation in fitness services.
This sign must be clearly visible to anyone who enters the fitness centre.
Disclosure and confidentiality
No secrets or surprises
You must provide clients with enough information about a fitness service to make an informed decision about the service.
The Code of Practice
You must make the Code of Practice available for all clients to view and, if asked, tell them where they can get their own copy.
Before entering into a membership agreement with a new client, you need to:
- give the client a copy of the membership agreement, the fitness centre rules and other information to help them make an informed decision about the agreement
- allow the client to inspect the fitness centre.
You must make the fitness centre rules available to clients at all times. If you change or introduce a rule, prominently display the revised rules at the fitness centre for two months.
You must not use or disclose any confidential client information that you obtain while supplying fitness services. This does not apply to information that the client agrees in writing that you can use or disclose, or information that you can use or disclose by law.
You must take reasonable steps to ensure your employees do not use or disclose confidential client information that they obtain.
Note: Under the Code of Practice, the term ´client´ includes both current and former clients and the term ´supplier´ includes both current and former suppliers.
If a client complains about a service, you must make every reasonable effort to resolve the problem quickly and fairly. You must make a complaint handling procedure available to clients. This procedure must be simple and easy to use.
It must also comply with Australian Standard AS ISO 10002-2006 - Customer satisfaction - Guidelines for complaints handling in organisations. If you wish to buy the standard, contact Standards Australia. If you wish to buy the standard, contact Standards Australia.
Last reviewed 28/11/2011