Avoid Losing Cash in Your Quest to Lose Weight

December 31, 2012
SACRAMENTO, Ca.,–As Americans crowd into gyms armed with the ambition to conquer their 2013 weight loss resolution, BBB warns to research facilities, contracts and finances before signing up with a gym. 
Gyms are, as of December 26, 2012, the eighth most complained about industry in the northeastern California BBB service area for 2012. Common complaint issues with gyms involve contract disputes and billing issues. 
“The new year will draw bigger than usual crowds to sign up for gym memberships,” said Gary Almond, president of BBB serving northeast California. “Before you sign a year-long contract, read the paperwork and understand what you are signing.”
While some complaints about billing regard inadvertent errors, many are based on automatic renewals or difficulty cancelling contracts. 
BBB offers the following five tips to consider when joining a gym in 2013:
Research the facility. Check with BBB at necal.bbb.org to find complaint history, company background information and more. Do a quick search through a search engine to find any additional information.
Consider your budget. Think about what you can realistically afford each month. 
Resist high-pressure sales tactics. Take a sample contract home to read before signing anything. 
Read the entire contract. Ensure cancellation, refund and guest policies are all addressed in the written contract. 
Know your rights. California’s Health Studio Services Contract Law allows consumers certain rights, including:
-A contract may not charge, over the course of the contract term, more than $4,400.
-If the health club is not operating at contract signing, the contract must state when the club is opening.
-If the facility has not opened within six months, you can cancel the contract.
-You have five days to cancel the contract after signing. Depending on the amount owed to the company over the course of the contract, you may have more time.
Check out BBB on Fox40 sharing more tips on opening a gym membership.
For answers to your consumer questions, visit necal.bbb.org or call 916-443-6843. 
As a business-supported nonprofit organization, Better Business Bureau's mission is to promote an ethical marketplace. BBB sets standards for ethical business behavior, helps consumer identify reliable businesses through BBB Business Reviews, sets standards for truthful advertising, evaluates and provides reviews of charities, educates consumers, and offers dispute resolution services. More than 87 million consumers rely on BBB for Business Reviews, consumer tips and scam alerts. To learn more, please visit www.necal.bbb.org