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Joining A Gym

By on January 13, 2016

Summer season often brings lots of deals for gym memberships. But who wants to get stuck in a costly contract and end up losing interest in a few weeks. Take time to understand what it means to join a gym.

Some gyms will ask you to join — and pay — the first time you visit and will offer incentives like special rates to get you to sign on the spot. It’s best to wait a few days before deciding. Take the contract home and read it carefully. Before you sign, find out:

Is everything the salesperson promised written in the contract?

If a problem comes up after you join, the contract is what counts. If something isn’t written in the contract, it’s going to be difficult to prove your case.

Is there a “cooling-off” or trial period?

Some gyms give customers several days to reconsider after they’ve signed a contract. Others might let you join for a trial period. Even if it costs a little more each month, if you’re not enjoying the membership or using it as much as you planned, you will have saved yourself years of payments.

Can you cancel your membership or get a refund?

What happens if you need to cancel your membership because of a move or an injury, or if you find you just aren’t using it? Will they refund your money? Knowing the gym’s cancellation policies is especially important if you choose a long-term membership.

What happens if the gym goes out of business? You can check with your state Attorney General to see what your rights are according to your state’s laws.

Is the price right?

Break down the cost to weekly and even daily figures to get a better idea of what you will pay to use the facility. Include possible finance charges if you pay by credit. Can you afford it? If you signed up for a special introductory rate, make sure you know the terms of your contract once the discounted rate ends.

And lastly, plan a visit at a time you would normally be using the gym to see how crowded it is, whether the facilities are clean and well-maintained, and whether the equipment is in good shape.

Some content for this article provided by the Department of Health and Human Services, Federal Trade Commission.