Losing weight is one of the most common New Year’s resolutions after enjoying tasty holiday treats. If you’re pledging to lose pounds this year by joining a gym, BBB recommends asking some questions before signing on the dotted line.
Each January, millions of thousands crowd into gyms armed with willpower and personal goals looking towards a healthier, active lifestyle. While it’s exciting to gear up towards a goal, consumers should treat this like any major purchases. BBB received over 7,000 complaints about health clubs across North America last year.
“Working out and getting healthy are fantastic goals regardless of the time of year,” says Randall Hoth, Wisconsin BBB president/CEO. “But consumers who ask the right questions can expect success inside and outside the workout room.”
Five questions to ask the gym:
What are the terms of any introductory offers? Gyms often use special introductory offers to lure in new members. Make sure you understand the terms and what price the service will be once the introductory period is over.
Will my membership renew automatically? Many times people join a gym, but don’t consider what happens when the original contract runs out. Some gym contracts renew automatically unless they are cancel.
How can I get out of my contract? Getting out of any contract isn’t always as easy as getting into one. Make sure you understand what steps are necessary to cancel your contract.
What happens if I move? Gyms have any number of policies for what happens if you move. It might depend on how far away you’re moving and if they have affiliate gyms you could attend.
What happens if they go out of business? Ask the gym to explain what will happen to your money if they go out of business.
Five questions to ask yourself when looking at a prospective gym
What are my fitness goals? Determining your fitness goals in advance will help you select the most appropriate facility for your needs. If you have a serious medical condition, consult 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 for you from work and home.
Can I really afford this? 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 the gym membership.
Am I feeling pressured to join? Do not give into high-pressure sales tactics to join right away. A reputable gym will give you enough time to read the contract thoroughly, tour the facility 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, not what you heard.
Use the BBB's website to check out fitness centers, or to find a reputable, BBB-accredited fitness center.