Each year the BBBs receive more than
6,600 complaints from consumers regarding Health Clubs (2011 statistics for the
United States). In Utah, more than 334
consumers filed complaints.
The majority of complaints allege
that salespersons verbally promised things that were not in the contract, such
as promising that contracts could be canceled at any time, memberships will
transfer to another person or to other clubs if you move, and that the consumer
was only signing up for a trial offer – when in reality they were signing a
multi-year contract. Fortunately, the Utah BBB was able to assist 94% (85%
nationally) of the consumers to receive a satisfactory resolution to these
Here are some questions you should
consider as you are reviewing a contract, prior to signing. If you feel that
you are being pressured to sign, walk away.
- What are the gym’s hours? Do they fit with your
- Is the location conducive to using the gym after you
- Do they have the equipment that meets your needs?
- Are the bathrooms, showers and equipment clean?
- Is the staff caring and helpful?
- Do they have a trainer to help you? Is that an additional fee?
- What are your fitness goals? Are they long-term enough to sign a
- What is the clientele like? Will it be an enjoyable
experience for you to work out in the same facility with them?
- How busy is the gym? Are you going to have to wait to
use the equipment? Visit at a time you would be working out.
- What happens if the gym goes out of business? What gyms are affiliated and would
accept your membership? Or, would your contract be canceled?
- How many months/years is the contract? Make sure that the time specified by the
salesperson is what is written in the contract.
- What are the monthly dues?
- If you cancel before your contract is up, what is the
- If you move, can you transfer your membership? If you move to an area where there isn’t
a gym, will you receive a refund? If so, how far away from an affiliated
gym do you have to be in order to receive one? Obtain a written copy of
what you will need to do if you move and what you will need to supply to
either start going to another gym or cancel the contract.
- Does the gym have a reciprocal agreement with other
gyms throughout the country? If you travel a great deal, you will want
- Will they let you do a trial membership for a few days
or a week before you sign the contract? Many gyms will give you a free
trial. Some will even let you pay month-to-month at first to determine if
the gym is right for you. Make sure anything you sign specifies the time
- What if you become sick or injured? Will the gym freeze
- How long can you freeze the membership? How many times can you freeze the
- Does your membership renew automatically? If so, will they automatically debit
your bank account? Read your contract specifically for this information.
- Is there a cancelation period? Many gyms do not allow you to cancel
once you have signed the contract. If the salesperson specifies a time,
make sure that is in writing.