Ignorance is No Excuse: Know the Laws that Affect You
Meredith Poppler has been with the prodigious fitness industry trade association IHRSA for over 25 years. Currently Vice President of Communications and Leadership Engagement, her main focus is on advocacy communications. That means she not only keeps her finger on the pulse of all legislative activity that affects the fitness industry, she wants to make sure you know it, too. And you should know this, because not knowing the laws that apply to you and your business can be devastating.
In this interview, Meredith discusses some dangers and concerns you may not be aware of. She points out that a good starting point is realizing that not all 50 states (and Washington, DC) have the same laws and regulations. The differences can be big issues, small matters, or anything in-between. But the point is you can’t assume from one state to another how, for example, you can run your business, or what your membership contract says, or even what font size your contract can be. Yes, things can get a little stupid.
One area gym owners should pay particular attention to is monthly recurring contracts: there has been a huge push against such contracts in many states. You have to find out what the laws are in your state and be very careful to operate within those parameters, or you could find that none of your members actually has an enforceable contract, or maybe get hit with a costly lawsuit from a disgruntled member. Monthly recurring contracts have been, as Meredith points out, a hot-button topic for legislators who see it as an easy “consumer protection” win that will gain points with constituents.
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