CHICAGO, IL – January 13, 2011 - 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 ten questions before signing on the dotted line.
Each New Year millions of consumer’s crowd into gyms armed with willpower and personal goals toward healthier, more active lifestyles. However, joining a gym is the same as making any major purchase; you need to make an informed decision and consider some important factors before you sign on the dotted line.
“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,” said Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “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.”
According to the Better Business Bureau, 298 complaints were filed against health clubs in Northern Illinois in the past 12 months.
The BBB recommends asking the gym and yourself the following 10 questions before signing up for a membership:
Five questions to ask the gym include:
- 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?
Many times 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.
Five questions to ask yourself when looking at potential gyms/health clubs:
- 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?
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?
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 that 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 advice from BBB on how to be a savvy consumer all year long, visit www.bbb.org
As a private, non-profit organization, the purpose of the Better Business Bureau is to promote an ethical marketplace. BBBs help resolve buyer/seller complaints by means of conciliation, mediation and arbitration. BBBs also review advertising claims, online business practices and charitable organizations. BBBs develop and issue reports on businesses and nonprofit organizations and encourage people to check out a company or charity before making a purchase or donation.