BBB Offers Tips for Selecting a Gym to Join in the New Year

December 28, 2012

Better Business Bureau serving Eastern North Carolina offers advice to consumers resolving to join a gym in 2013.

In 2012, BBB received more than 200 complaints and approximately 10,000 inquiries regarding local exercise fitness programs and health clubs. The most common complaints received dealt with contract disputes and billing issues.

“It is important for consumers to read the fine print on the contract to make sure they understand what they are signing,said Toby Barfield, president and CEO of BBB serving Eastern North Carolina. “Also, keeping a close eye on their bank statements will ensure that they are not getting billed more than they should be.”

BBB recommends consumers consider the following tips before joining a gym:

Visit BBB maintains reports on businesses across the country. Before signing a contract, research the facility at

Consider your budget. Most facilities charge an up-front membership fee to join and a monthly fee thereafter. It is important to decide beforehand what amount you can comfortably devote to physical fitness.

Ask around. Ask friends and family to recommend facilities, and pick a couple that appear to align with your fitness goals and budget. Visit each club on a day and time that you plan to use it to see if you like the equipment, classes, amenities and cleanliness of it. This will also give you a sense of how crowded each club will be at the times you are wanting to access the equipment.

Do not give in to sales pressure. Walk away from clubs that pressure you to sign a contract on the spot. BBB recommends taking a sample contract home to review.

Review the contract. Make sure the contract lists all services and fees, and any promises made by the salesperson. Find out what is included in the monthly fee and what will cost extra.

Membership details. It is vital to understand how long the membership term is. Some facilities give customers several days to reconsider after signing the contract.

For more advice on selecting a gym to join in 2013, visit