What does “no commitment” really mean?

April 23, 2012

I recently received a mailer for YouFit Health Clubs, offering me “$1 down, $10 month with no commitment” for a club they opened near my house (limited to the first 125 to sign up).

Sounds good, but following the principle of caveat emptor (buyer beware), I always read the fine print. According to the “Billing for Monthly Dues” agreement you may “discontinue your Month-to-Month membership you may do so at any time with a payment of a twenty-five (25) dollar processing fee.”

You also agree that “monthly dues are subject to a $5.00 per month increase of dues if EFT payment is stopped or changed.” Sounds like even changing the account I use would result in the increase.

Hmm. That sounds like this no-commitment includes a commitment. Although it sounds reasonable, I wouldn’t call the arrangement “no commitment.” Perhaps they meant that compared to some other gyms there is virtually no commitment.

This serves as an important reminder to fully understand your commitments and customer requirements.

It is important to verify customer statements, like “all employees get AD accounts.” They may commit that this is the truth but their commitment may turn out to have some “no commitment” buried in the fine print.

You must dig deeper for the other shoe – so it can drop. There is always an exception, even to this rule about exceptions. For example, “all employees get AD accounts, except employees below grade 12.” Watch out for the exception to the exception “Except when the employees below grade 12 get approval from their manager. Unless someday their manager revokes their AD account.”

So will this “no commitment” gym get a commitment out of me? Perhaps, after all as a married man I am not afraid of commitment. Although I might be afraid of “no commitment.”