Get the jump on January gym crowds: Eight steps to exercising your gym membership knowledge


    BBB helps eager gym-goers gain sense of savvy consumerism.

    Living a healthier lifestyle is a popular New Year’s resolution for most people, but deciding which gym and membership plan is right for you can cause some confusion when trying to shed those pesky holiday pounds. With more than 50 complaints and 8,000 inquiries about gyms, fitness centres and health clubs in 2016 so far, Better Business Bureau is encouraging consumers to check out gym memberships now in order to avoid January crowds.

    “Different memberships have different contract policies,” says Mary O’Sullivan-Andersen, president and CEO of BBB Serving Southern Alberta and East Kootenay. “It’s important to take the time beforehand to understand the specific terms and conditions, such as automatic contract renewals, so you aren’t left with the costly disappointment of spending extra cash to shed those extra pounds.”

    BBB says keep these questions in mind when choosing a fitness facility and membership:

    • What are the terms of introductory offers? Make sure you understand the price and what the terms will be once the introductory period is over.
    • Do you want to work with a personal trainer, on your own or attend group classes? Find out which gyms offer the specific services you are looking for prior to entering a membership contract. Different services will have different costs so plan your budget accordingly.
    • Which location will be most convenient? If you have a specific location in mind, check to ensure your membership will be accepted at different locations in case you are traveling.
    • Will your membership renew automatically? Every year, BBB receives complaints from people who joined a gym and didn’t realize their contract would renew automatically if they didn’t take specific steps to cancel it. Find out the renewal policy before you start your fitness journey.
    • Under what circumstances can the contract be broken? Getting out of a gym contract isn’t always as easy as getting into one. Make sure you understand the steps needed to cancel your membership.
    • What happens if you move? Gyms have different policies when it comes to how moving will affect your membership. It might depend on how far away you’re moving and if the fitness center has locations in your new area of residence.
    • What happens if the gym goes out of business?  Ask the gym to explain what happens to your money if they go out of business.
    • When in doubt, check before you buy. Check with BBB for trustworthy businesses and information to help you make an informed buying decision.

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