Losing weight is one of the most common New Year’s resolutions after the gluttony of the holiday season. If you’re pledging to lose some pounds this year by joining a gym, the Better Business Bureau recommends asking questions before signing on the dotted line.
In 2014 alone, the BBB received more than 7,000 complaints about gyms and health clubs, putting the industry in the top list of most complained about businesses.
Regardless of how eager you are to start losing weight in the New Year, take the time to do your research before joining a gym and don’t give in to high-pressure sales pitches. Always check the health club out with your Better Business Bureau, inspect the facilities closely and read the contract carefully, making sure all promises are in print.
BBB 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. 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, the BBB receives a number of complaints from people who joined a gym and didn’t realize their contract would renew automatically and 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 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.
What happens if the gym 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.
The questions to ask yourself:
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 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 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? 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 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 tips for the new year, visit BBB.org.
Kelvin Collins is president/CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Central Georgia and the CSRA Inc., serving 41 counties in Middle Georgia and the Central Savannah River area.