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The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is undertaking an investigation into gym membership contracts, with a number of unnamed companies set to come under the spotlight.

The watchdog decided to launch an investigation after consumers complained about lengthy contracts and the difficulty of cancelling membership and the High Court ruled that gym company Ashbourne Management had issued unfair contracts lasting as long as 3 years.

In a statement, the OFT said the investigation was still at an early stage, adding that no breaches of consumer protection legislation have yet been identified, and that conclusions on whether the law has been broken won’t be drawn until the investigation has come to an end.

Any companies that have breached these regulations, however, will be forced to modify their contracts, or face fines or legal action.

The Fitness Industry Association (FIA) represents a number of companies operating gyms and fitness clubs. The FIA chief executive, David Stalker, said his organisation was “happy to play an advisory role in this investigation process,” and insisted that FIA members place consumers “at the heart of their offering.”

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