I have a client who signed up for a 6 week program with me. She was going to train with me three times a week for six weeks. Right from the get-go, I knew she was going to be difficult when she re-scheduled twice and actually tried to push our 1st session out two weeks due to being busy. I remedied that and got her to start earlier than she wanted to but she was a chronic cancelor and also was bad at communicating (wouldn’t respond to voicemails, emails and texts for days and sometimes for more than a week). We started the 6 week program in April and by July she had only completed 7 of the 18 sessions, well over the 6 weeks (we kept pushing out due to her having ‘impromptu’ travel). I finally terminated her contract and offered to refund her last installment but asked her to consider all the ‘extra work’ I did – provided her workouts to take with her when traveled, etc. She took me up on the offer and I refunded her. I don’t currently have a ‘no refund policy’ or even a ‘refund policy’ in my contracts. I want to include something that if clients don’t follow the program requirements laid out, that I reserve the right to NOT refund their money. Can I do this? Suggestions please? Thanks!
I have a no refunds policy. We sit down with clients and go over their goals and expectations. We put together a proposal for the client and go over that with them. It maps out the cost, number of sessions, etc. The client can choose to go with the proposal or alter it to fit their level of commitment. But a certain number of sessions are purchased and the trainer prepares a program for the client under the agreed terms. The client can choose not to continue any time, but once the program has been started there are no refunds. It is explained to the clients at the time of the agreement. Once there is an agreement, trainers spend hours evaluating and designing the initial program. And then more time after the client has started to re-evaluate and redesign the program. We deliver on our end and then some.
I’d highly suggest not refunding her. Her blowing you off is highly unprofessional, and you had her in a legally binding document.
Because they cannot keep their end of the bargain doesn’t mean you have to follow along with it.
When I started out I was paying a % of my rates to the studio I was at. There was one lady who did not pay for her sessions she bought, and I STILL had to pay the gym. It was a painful experience that even though you want to help people, they cannot all be trusted.
For a dedicated client I have been working for some time with? I’d be more than happy to make exceptions. For the average 5-10 session first time at the gym? Definately not. You have to be nice, but you’re also running a business.
The only thing I can suggest is to be more selective with who you take on as a client.
Being able to assess an individuals readiness to change will have much to do with whether an individual will adhere to their fitness/wellness program.
I NEVER allow a precontemplator/contemplator to purchase 10 lessons when I have assessed that they have low self-efficacy. I encourage them to come once a week or even less, particularly if I know they don’t have a history with engaging in physical activity.
Instead of giving them a refund, try to determine what stage of change he/she is in and have them use the package over time until they have developed a habit of engaging in exercising let’s say once a week.
Hope this is helpful.
I do not know why people act the way they do sometimes. You are not the only one with problems. Take it as a compliment that you are a true business owner when you have these issues to deal with.
I charge after each personal training session. When I get payment, I return. I have also learned the hard way, that not all business is good business.
Good luck to you.
I had an interesting situation in our fitness studio. We charge our clients a monthly membership for our group training. Clients sign a 6 month contract then it goes month to month where our policy states we must have 30 days notice to cancel. I had one client get so mad she came in purposely during a yoga session and caused a HUGE scene. This was after she sent me a NASTY (like I should show it to the police nasty) email. Once I received that I promptly refunded her money, but not soon enough because she still came in and made the scene. Few weeks later, I get someone arguing with me about the 30 day notice to cancel and just flying off the handle. I ended up not charging her either. Most of the time I draw the line at 30 days but what do you all do in these situations?