If you’re pledging to lose some pounds this year by joining a gym, the BBB recommends asking questions before signing on the dotted line. “Take the time to do your research before joining a gym,” said Janna Kiehl, BBB CEO. “Always check the health club out with your Better Business Bureau, inspect the facilities closely and read the contract carefully, making sure that all of the promises are in print.”
Below are five questions for the gym and five for YOU. Ask them – and get some answers before signing up for a membership:
For the gym:
- 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, BBB receives 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 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 you go out of business?
Ask the gym to explain what will happen to your money if they suddenly go out of business.
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 workout. 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?
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 all verbal promises are in writing. What matters is the document you sign, so don’t just take a salesperson’s word for it.