Each New Year millions of consumers crowd into gyms armed with willpower and personal goals toward healthier, more active lifestyles. While it’s exciting to gear up toward a goal, it is also important to treat this decision like any other major purchase. In 2011, BBB received more than 6,600 complaints against gyms. Issues ranged from billing and collection issues to overall contract issues.
Joining a health club can be a major purchase, so first check out www.bbb.org/search to see how the club rates. BBB also recommends asking the gym the following questions before signing up for a membership:
What are the terms of any introductory offers? Gyms often use special introductory offers to lure in new members. Make sure the terms and post-introductory price are clear before signing.
Will my membership renew automatically?
How can I get out of my contract? Getting out of a gym contract is not always easy. Get specifics on how and when the contract can be cancelled.
What happens if I move? Gyms have any number of different policies when it comes to how moving will affect membership. It might depend on the length of the move or the number of locations of the gym.
What happens if you go out of business? Ask the gym to explain what will happen if they suddenly go out of business.
What are my fitness goals? Determining fitness goals in advance will help select a facility most appropriate for the member. Serious health conditions should be disclosed before working out.
Is this location convenient? Choose a fitness club that is convenient to work or home so the location is not a deterrent to getting exercise.
Can I really afford this every month? Monthly gym fees add up and, after any introductory periods are over, the price could jump higher.
Am I feeling pressured to join? Do not give in to high-pressure sales tactics to join right away. A reputable gym will allow enough time to read the contract thoroughly, tour the facilities, and make an informed decision.
Did I get everything in writing? Read the contract carefully and make sure that all verbal promises made by the salesperson are in writing.
For more advice from BBB on how to be a savvy consumer all year long, visit www.necal.bbb.org