Avoid Common Problems by Doing Research
Losing weight is one of the most common New Year’s resolutions after the gluttony of the holiday season. This is a peak time of year for new memberships at gyms and health clubs. If you have pledged to trim down this year, Better Business Bureau recommends asking ten questions before signing on the dotted line.
Joining a fitness club can be a rewarding experience, however, it is essential that consumers ask plenty of questions before signing a contract to protect against some common problems associated with gym memberships.
In 2009 alone, BBB nationwide received 7,787 complaints about gyms and health clubs, a 21 percent increase over the previous year, putting the industry in the top 20 list of most complained about businesses.
When considering a gym, check it out at www.bbb.org, inspect the facilities and ensure that all verbal representations are contained in the contract.
BBB recommends asking the gym and yourself the following 10 questions before signing up for a membership.
Questions to ask the gym:
•What are the terms of any introductory offers? Gyms often use special introductory offers to lure new members. Just make sure you understand the terms and what the price will be once the introductory period is over.
•Will my membership renew automatically? Every year, BBB receives a large number of complaints from people who joined a gym and didn’t realize that their contract would renew automatically, and that they would have to take specific steps to cancel their contract.
•How can I get out of my contract? Getting out of a gym contract isn’t always as easy as getting into one, so make sure you understand what steps you would need to take to cancel your membership.
•What happens if I move? Gyms have a number of different policies when it comes to how moving will affect your membership. It might depend on how far away you’re moving and if they have other locations nearby.
•What happens if it goes out of business? BBB often receives complaints from people after their gym suddenly closed up shop and took their money with them. Ask the gym to explain what will happen to your money if they suddenly go out of business.
Questions to ask yourself to ensure a good fit:
•What are my fitness goals? Determining your fitness goals in advance will help you select a facility that is most appropriate for you. If you have a serious health condition, consult with a medical professional when setting your fitness goals.
•Is this location convenient? If the gym is across town, you’ll be less likely to work out. Choose a fitness club that is convenient so that 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 than your budget can handle. Do the math before you join and make sure you can afford a gym membership.
•Am I feeling pressured to join? Do not give in to high-pressure sales tactics to join right away. A reputable gym will give you 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. What matters is the document you sign, so don’t just take a salesperson’s word for it.
For more advice from BBB on how to be a savvy consumer all year long, visit www.bbb.org/us/Consumer-Tips/.