Read the fine print on that gym contract

A new year is upon us and for some, that means the dedication required to making a new you.

A new year is upon us and for some, that means the dedication required to making a new you.

There are, of course, plenty of ways to get into shape and shed the holiday pounds but many will resort to signing up at the local gym for a little lifting, spinning and cross training.

Gyms, however, are no stranger to complaints. BBB serving Mainland BC has received 51 complaints in 2017 against several local health clubs and gyms. Most of the complaints have to do with billing or contract issues.

“It’s really important that consumers read all the fine print and ask lots of questions before signing any gym contract,” says Evan Kelly, Senior Communications Advisor for BBB serving Mainland B.C.

“And just be aware that gyms will make their money through annual contracts. It’s not often you can sign up then expect to cancel your membership after a couple of months without some sort of penalty.”

Questions to ask the potential new gym:

* What are the terms of any introductory offers? Gyms often use special introductory offers to attract new members. Just make sure you understand the terms and what the price will be once the introductory period is over.

* Avoid high-pressure sales tactics. Don’t be pressured into a contract when you don’t have all the details and get any verbal promises in writing.

* Take a tour. Make sure it’s the type of gym you require for your fitness goals.

* Will my membership renew automatically? Many times people who joined a gym didn’t realize that their contract would renew automatically and that they would have to take specific steps to cancel their contract often linked to certain timing and put in writing.

* 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. Make sure to keep a copy of your cancellation letter and the return receipt or obtain a confirmation of your cancellation.

* What happens if I move? Gyms have any 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.

* Read complaints and reviews at BBB.org. We have an extensive database of local gyms and health clubs. There are good ones that deal with their complaints head-on, and unfortunately, those that do not.

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