Get the skinny before purchasing exercise equipment

June 07, 2013

EL PASO, Texas - The summer season is the ideal time to get in shape and be ‘beach ready.’ And you’ve probably seen those television ads marketing their exercise equipment to deliver “quick results” with only a few simple workouts. But, Better Business Bureau advises consumers to do their research on those products and claims before handing over their cash.

For those advertisements that claim fast results, it’s easy for consumers to get distracted. However, it is important to read between the lines and select a product that offers realistic results, and fits into your lifestyle and fitness goals.

In 2012, BBB received 877 complaints nationally against exercise equipment and machine sales. Some complaints alleged charges despite returning the equipment within the 30 day free trial period. Others alleged the products would break down after only a few months of use.

BBB offers these tips to consumers who are considering buying athletic equipment:

  • Avoid one-spot trainers. Be skeptical of products that claim to focus on a single body area. Experts advise the best results can be achieved with a consistent routine that works the whole body. 
  • Buy what you will use. While the newest workout machine may seem like a necessity, if it is not practical for everyday use, it is probably not worth the investment. Make sure the product fits with your daily schedule and can help you reach the results you want.
  • Read the fine print. What do the “three easy payments” add up to? Watch out for deadlines when committing to a free trial, and look for hidden fees that may not be included in the cost, like shipping and handling or restocking fees.
  • Don’t be fooled by the fit models. Satisfied customers in the advertisement may have been paid and only use the product for taping. The “before and after” results may not be proof the item actually works. 
  • Check the seller. Research the company’s BBB Business Review at to see previous customer experiences, history of the company and other background information.

For more tips, visit our BBB Quick-Tips video page.

To check out a company and find trustworthy businesses, visit