How to complain about a fitness/exercise facility, or exercise professional in New Zealand

If you wish to make a complaint about a fitness centre/health club, or an exercise professional, we recommend that the first step you take is to complain directly to the facility or person concerned. If they do not reply, or you are not satisfied with their reply, then you may be able to lay a formal complaint with either the Exercise Association of New Zealand (ExerciseNZ) or the New Zealand Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs).  If you do wish to do this, please read the information on this page.

Laying a complaint with ExerciseNZ

Firstly the facility must be a member of ExerciseNZ to be able to complain to us.  ExerciseNZ members display a red white and blue ExerciseNZ door decal.  You can also email us to check if a facility is a member.

Once you have established that a club is a member, you should review the ExerciseNZ code of ethics (click here to download a (pdf) version of the code), and identify which part of the code the have breached (it is important that the complaint is made on the basis that a club has breached the code, not just done something you don’t like).

You can then complain to ExerciseNZ outlining:

(1) What your complaint is about, and at which facility
(2) What part of the ExerciseNZ code of ethics is being breached
(3) What communication you have had with the club in the past about the issue, and what their response has been
(4) What outcome you would like as a result
(5) Your details (full name, contact details)

All complaints should be made in writing to ExerciseNZ, PO Box 22114 Christchurch 8140

Laying a complaint with the NZ Register of Exercise Professionals.

To complain to REPs, the facility or person must be registered with REPs. REPs operates an online search engine, so it’s very easy to see if a facility is registered.

Click here to go to the search engine. The search engine also lists Personal Trainers, however there are many more individuals registered that the search engine shows, so you can also email REPs to check if an individual is registered.  If a person or a facility is registered with REPs you can complain on one of two grounds:

(1) That an individual has broken the REPs Code of Ethical Conduct (this document can be found by clicking here)
(2) That a facility has unregistered staff (all registered facilities agree to only use registered staff in all exercise roles)

You can then complain to REPs outlining
(1) If your complaint is about an individual or a facility
(2) What is the nature of the complaint (is it a breach of a code, or is it that the facility is using unregistered staff)
(3) What outcome you would like as a result
(4) Your details (full name, contact details)

Complaints should be made in writing to:  REPs PO Box 22374 Christchurch 8140

Notes on the process of complaints.

When a complaint is received this will be acknowledged, this communication will also outline the process to be followed (as outlined below):

  1. To ensure there is a fair and transparent process, when a complaint is received, after checking that REPs or ExerciseNZ has jurisdiction (ie. they must be registered with REPs and/or a member of ExerciseNZ) then an investigation is started.  As a part of this investigation details of the complaint, including the name of the complainant are disclosed. Complaints may be made anonymously, in such cases the complaint will be investigated, but the outcome will not be communicated to the complainant.
  2. Where full details have been disclosed (permission will be obtained first), in most cases each party will then be given a right of reply to the other parties information.  This means you will see what the facility/person replied, and the facility/person will see your full complaint.
  3. If the complaint related to an alleged breach of the law and there is a statutory body that deals with this, the we will refer the complainant to this body for determination first.  Should that body uphold the complaint, then this will be used as a part of the investigation as evidence. eg a person alleges a trainer breached their privacy. This would be referred to the Privacy Commissioner’s Office. Should this complaint be upheld by the Privacy Commissioner then this would be used as evidence as a part of the complaint to REPs.
  4. Neither REPs nor ExerciseNZ deals with matters of customer service, except where these lead to a specific breach of a relevant code. Where you think you have received bad service, contact the manager of the facility, or in the case of individuals, the individual concerned and communicate your dissatisfaction.
  5. In most cases, where there is a complaint about a facility or person, we require you to first contact the facility/person concerned to outline your concern, and what you would like done about it (there are a few exceptions to this, where such a complaint would be unwise or unsafe). This contact, and the response from the facility/person should be included in any complaint.
  6. Be clear about what you want as an outcome of any complaint.  Some complainants simple want ExerciseNZ or REPs to know about certain behaviour, in other cases you may want a specific remedy to take place. Whatever outcomes you want, please outline this clearly.
  7. Where the matter you wish to complain about is of a serious criminal nature, we recommend you contact the police directly.