Chicago, IL – June 2, 2010 – With summer fast approaching and shorts and T-shirts coming out of the closet many consumers are looking to shed winter weight at local gyms. The Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois advises that those considering signing up for a health club read the fine print and research a company thoroughly before starting a workout regime.
Every 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.
“When looking to join a gym, do your research and check out the fitness facility’s complaint record with the BBB’s free Reliability Reports,” said Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau. “It’s important to make sure the facilities meet your needs, but it’s equally important for consumers to know the company can be trusted to be upfront about its plans, contracts and is competent with its billing process.”
According to the Better Business Bureau, complaints against health clubs in Northern Illinois are up 14% for the past 12 months over the previous 12 month period (394 compared to 347).
The BBB offers the following tips when selecting a fitness facility to fit your needs:
· Determine your fitness goals. What are your fitness goals and how will you accomplish them? Considering these issues in advance will help you select a facility that is most appropriate to accomplish these goals.
· Research the company. Visit www.bbb.org to find a list of fitness clubs in your area that are Accredited by the BBB; there you can also find out what reputation the company has for keeping customers satisfied.
· Read the entire contract. Does it list all services, facilities and the hours of operation? Ask how long the membership term is and if there is an automatic renewal. Also ask about your cancellation rights if you move to another area, are injured, the club closes or is taken over by new management. Will the unused portion of your membership be refunded, and if so, how and when? These details should all be in the contract.
· Consider your budget. Most facilities charge an up-front membership fee to join and a monthly fee thereafter. Know what amount you can comfortably spend on physical fitness and make sure your membership costs fit into this budget.
· Check out the facilities. Visit several different health clubs on days and at times you plan to exercise to see how crowded they are. Note the cleanliness and condition of the equipment, work-out area and locker room, as well as staff member availability.
· Don’t give in to pressure. Many clubs will offer “new member specials” but don’t feel pressure to sign a contract on the spot. Instead, ask to take a sample contract home to read thoroughly.
For more information on finding companies and businesses you can trust, 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.