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Trying to cancel your gym membership can be more tiring than actually attending that kick boxing class you've been avoiding. Getting out of your gym contract can be so difficult, in fact, that people are going to great lengths to avoid paying any penalties. After going into debt living a lifestyle she couldn't really afford, this woman forged fake documents to convince Equinox she had moved out of state. She photoshopped her name onto bills sent to her parents home in Virginia. She hadn't really moved, but it worked and she saved herself over $1,000 in penalties.

But before resorting to forgery, there are a few legal and effective ways to cancel your membership without paying. Most gyms let you cancel free of charge under certain conditions like, illness, relocation, disability, and sudden unemployment. Even if your reasons for canceling fall under those accepted circumstances, it's still not as simple as it might sound. You have to submit "official" proof from your doctor, boss, or submit proof of your new address by showing a lease or bill in your name.

Most people don't take the gym contract they sign as seriously as they should. It's just a gym membership right? How serious could it really be? But it's important to read the fine print before signing ANY contracts.

A contract for a gym membership is legally binding, so it's important to read ALL of the fine print. Understand what you're really getting yourself into, and make sure you know what the conditions are to cancel and how much you'll be charged. And get every interaction you have with gym staff regarding your membership in writing. Some employees might promise more lenient policies than are actually written in the contract.

Not moving, sick, or unemployed? You can still likely cancel without paying.

Most gyms include a clause that allows you to cancel if they stop offering all the services listed in the contract. Did your favorite hatha yoga class get cut from the only time slot you had free to take it? That might just be grounds for legal termination, without paying any fees.

If you're trying to ditch your gym membership because you'll be traveling for a few months, tending to an illness or family emergency, or even just in between freelance gigs, you can also opt to freeze your account instead of canceling it entirely. Most gyms let you stop paying your monthly membership for a certain amount of time, so long as you give them a heads up and plan to renew once the freezing period ends.

How to cancel your gym membershipUs News

How to get out of your membership if all else fails?

If the cancelation conditions don't apply to you, you're not interested in freezing your account, and you aren't willing to commit forgery, there is another option. If the terms of the contract you signed weren't explained to you before you signed, you can likely get out of it. Legally, cancellation policies have to be explained beforehand.

You can also threaten to take your complaints about the high cancellation fees and unexplained membership contract to social media. Businesses will try to avoid bad online reviews at all costs and will most likely just let you cut ties for free. Again, get every interaction in writing. If they agree to let you out of your membership without paying a penalty, ask for a written letter of acknowledgement.

If you're thinking this all sounds like too much effort and cancelling your credit card or just taking your payment method off your account is a better solution. Think again. Unpaid fees will get transferred to a collection agency. Even if the amount you owe is small, the impact to your credit could be big. It isn't worth it.

Cancel Subscriptions for FreeTrim App

Instead, consider hiring a cancelation service like Trim. This free and convenient service cancels your subscriptions for you, negotiates on your behalf, and gets you better deals on subscriptions you want to keep. Trim will even send your gym a letter requesting to cancel on your behalf. Let them do the haggling for you.

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What do you do when financial hardship hits and you can't make your monthly mortgage payments? This is a question on many homeowner's minds as nearly 17.8 million Americans are reportedly unemployed during the coronavirus pandemic.

When homeowners face financial hardship, such as the loss of a job, they often look to obtain a forbearance agreement from their lender. A forbearance happens when your lender grants you a temporary pause or reduction in monthly payments on your mortgage. Forbearance is not the same as payment forgiveness, in that you still have to pay the entire amount back by an agreed-upon time.

Mortgage lending institutions differ on their mortgage relief policies and qualifications; however, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act were signed into law in late March of this year to protect government-backed mortgages.

Federally backed mortgages include:

  • Fannie Mae
  • Freddie Mac
  • The Federal Housing Administration (FHA)
  • The US Department of Veteran Affairs (VA)
  • The US Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Under the CARES Act, homeowners with a federally backed loan who either directly or indirectly suffer financial hardship due to coronavirus automatically qualify for mortgage forbearance.

Even if your mortgage is not secured by one of these agencies, you still can call and see if you qualify, as many lenders will still offer the option in order to avoid foreclosures.

Under the CARES act, homeowners can claim mortgage forbearance due to financial hardship from COVID-19 for up to 12 months without requiring any documentation or verification. During the forbearance period, mortgage lenders cannot charge late fees or penalties.

Additionally, as long as your mortgage is current at the time you claim forbearance, the lender is required to keep reporting your mortgage as paid current throughout the entire period.

At the end of the forbearance, the CARES act protects consumers from having to make a lump sum payment. Instead, you will be given a repayment plan from your provider. Since repayment options vary, it's important you ask your provider about all of your repayment options.

Possible Repayment Options:

You may be eligible for a loan modification at the end of your forbearance. With modification, the mortgage terms are changed in order to add payments that were missed during the forbearance onto the end of the loan, extending the term.

Another option that may work for some is a reduced payment option. This allows you to keep paying monthly payments at a reduced amount. The amount missed is usually added back into the monthly payments at the end of the forbearance.

For example:

Regular payment: $1000 per month

Reduced payment: $500 per month

Payment after forbearance period: $1500 (until caught up)

Balloon payments, or lump sum payments at the end of the forbearance, are prohibited under the CARES Act. However, mortgage lenders may require homeowners who are not protected under the CARES Act to make a balloon payment at the end, so again it is best to check first with your provider.

Mortgage forbearance should only be considered in true financial hardship. In other words, just because of the pandemic, you should not take a forbearance on your mortgage if you can still afford your payments. Likewise, if you are able to start making payments before the forbearance period is up, it's best to do so as soon as possible.

The Next Steps:

Before you get in touch with your mortgage servicer, save time by gathering as much documentation about the mortgage as you can. Also, be ready to list your income and monthly expenses. Due to an influx in calls, financial institutions are experiencing extremely long wait times right now, and having your information at the ready will help.

Have questions ready to ask. Here are some questions you should be asking:

  • What fees are associated with the forbearance?
  • What are all the repayment options available to you at the end of the forbearance?
  • Will you be charged interest during the forbearance period?

If your forbearance is approved, make sure to keep all documentation pertaining to it. Make sure to cancel any automatic payments to the mortgage during the forbearance period, and keep tabs on your credit report to make sure your lender doesn't report the loan as unpaid.


For more information on forbearance, contact your lender and discuss your options. If you need more assistance with understanding your options, you can contact a local agent for the housing counseling agency, or call their hotline at 1-800-569-4287.