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No corner cutting for sports consumer safety in the pandemic period Sports Administration announces results of sports venue checking in 2021

The Sports Administration announced the results of checking of sports venue in 2021. 2nd from right, Division Chief Hsu Hsin-wen, middle, Deputy Director-General Hung Chih-Chang

During the COVID-19 pandemic period, the Sports Administration and local governments jointly assisted sports venues to promote various pandemic prevention measures and carried out sports venue checks to provide safe sports spaces for the public. The results of the checks in 2021 were announced. Altogether 1,418 public and private sports venues were included in the checks, with an average conformity rate of 91.1%, up by 4.7% on the previous year.

In 2021, local governments checked a total of 429 swimming pools, with a conformity rate of 92.7%; 842 fitness centers, with a conformity rate of 92.2%; 147 sports venue operators that issue gift vouchers , with a conformity rate of 79.2%. The fitness centers listed for checking included those that have not yet adopted the Member Enrollment Standardized Contract; the conformity rate of checked fitness centers was up by 9.6% on 2020, the best showing ever. 

The Sports Administration said that the subjects of checks spanned swimming pools, fitness centers and sports venues that issue gift vouchers; the checked items included sports venue safety, emergency rescue equipment, and the pandemic prevention measure implementation situation; the member enrollment contracts or gift vouchers contents of fitness centers and sports venues issuing gift vouchers were also checked to see if they matched the mandatory provisions and prohibitory provision of related standardized contract. 

Of the non-conforming items in the checks, for swimming pools, failure to meet the requirements of building management, fire prevention, air quality management, commercial registration and other related regulations were the most common violations; as for Fitness Center Member Enrollment  Standardized Contract, the most common violations involved failure to provide contract performance guarantee, other guarantees not conforming to regulations and return of fee when cancelling the contract; as for checking of Vouchers Issued by Sports Venue Operators, violations relating to mandatory provisions such as gift vouchers stating issuers, amount and use method etc. and collection of service fee by the operators when consumers returned gift vouchers were most common. 

The Sports Administration said that for operators that failed to conform to requirements when checked by city/county governments, it has requested local governments to demand improvements within a set period under Article 36 of the Consumer Protection Act; if the violation by operators poses a serious risk to the lives, health or property of consumers, immediate halting of operations can be demanded; if operators fail to improve within the set period, a fine can be issued under Article 58. It is hoped by continuing follow-up and guidance that the violation situation of operators can be improved. In future, checking and various guidance actions will be refined together with local governments to protect consumer rights and safety. 

The Sports Administration reminds people that when buying gift vouchers or joining a fitness club to first pay attention to whether the gift voucher or contract matches the regulations of mandatory provisions and prohibitory provisions of related contract standard forms. If consumers have a problem or a dispute, contact the local government or call the 1950 consumer service line.

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