Gym Memberships: Read the Fine Print

January 05, 2017


Vancouver, BC – A new year is here and that could mean a resolution to build a new you through your local gym. In fact, nearly 40% of resolutions are health and weight related! Gyms, believe it or not, are fairly notorious for getting complaints with BBB. It’s not always because of bad business practices, but more often than not, many would-be resolutioners fail to read the fine print before signing a contract with their local gym.

“Some gyms use a lot of fairly high-pressure tactics to get people to sign up,” says Evan Kelly, Senior Communications Advisor for BBB serving Mainland BC. “But at the end of the day consumers need to do some due diligence before handing over a credit card.” 

Questions to ask the potential new gym:

What are the terms of any introductory offers? Gyms often use special introductory offers to attract new members. Just make sure you understand the terms and what the price will be once the introductory period is over.

Will my membership renew automatically? Many times people who joined a gym didn’t realize that their contract would renew automatically and that they would have to take specific steps to cancel their contract often linked to certain timing and put in writing.

How can I get out of my contract? Getting out of a gym contract isn’t always as easy as getting into one, so make sure you understand what steps you would need to take to cancel your membership. Make sure to keep a copy of your cancellation letter and the return receipt or obtain a confirmation for your cancellation.

What happens if I move? Gyms have any number of different policies when it comes to how moving will affect your membership. It might depend on how far away you’re moving and if they have other locations nearby.

Before signing up, do your research.

Visit Before signing a contract, research the gym at to see its BBB Business Profile. This will show any history of complaints, consumer reviews or additional information that can help in making a decision. If you don’t see a Business Review, ask BBB to develop one.

What is your budget? Most facilities charge an upfront membership fee to join and a monthly fee thereafter. In addition, some fitness centers charge an additional fee for certain classes or amenities. It is important to decide beforehand what amount you can comfortably devote to physical fitness. Regardless of the length of a contract, ask if you can pay monthly.

Check out the gym at the time you know you want to go. You wouldn’t buy a car without a test drive, so head to the gym for a tour when you are most likely to go. Make sure the number of people there at that time will not limit your productivity. Also, check the cleanliness of the equipment and the locker room area. See if the gym equipment is in good condition and maintained properly. Make sure the facility has the equipment and classes that interest you.

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 before making a decision to give you time to read all of the finer details of 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.


Media Contacts:

Evan Kelly, Senior Communications Advisor
BBB Serving Mainland BC
Phone: 604-488-8702
Mobile: 604-505-2307
404-788 Beatty Street
Vancouver, BC
V6B 2M1

About BBB:

For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses and brands they can trust. In 2016, people turned to BBB more than 165 million times for BBB Business Reviews, all available for free at BBB Serving Mainland B.C., founded in 1939 and serving the Lower Mainland, Thompson-Okanagan, Northern, Central and Southern Interior BC, and the Yukon, is one of 108 local, independent BBBs across North America. In 2016, consumers turned to BBB Serving Mainland B.C. more than 2 million times for Business Reviews and processed 7,800 complaints.