Protect yourself before joining a health club

Thinking of joining a gym to shed some of that holiday weight?  

This is the time a lot of us make an effort to lose some weight and get in shape.  

While there are some good health clubs, with good deals, there are also gym horror stories.

The problems I hear about usually involve someone trying to cancel their membership.

A lot of people can't get the gym to stop debiting their account after they quit.

So, don't let the fancy equipment lure you in,.

Before you sign any contract, ask about penalties if you cancel.

Make sure to get everything in writing.

If it's a verbal promise and not written, you have no proof

Pay by check or credit card.

Don't let the gym debit your account monthly because it's much harder to quit.

Also, ask to "try" a gym before signing.

Make sure to see the conditions during the hours when you would be going so you know if it's too busy.

And remember, you can try to negotiate a better deal.

Sometimes, that means paying no upfront sign up fees.

Your best bet is to stay away from lengthy contracts and go month-to-month.

But at some gyms, that will be more costly.

Arizona law also offers protections.

By law, health clubs must disclose the total amount to be paid under the contract;

The contract cannot be for a term of more than 3 years from the date signed;

It must contain a notice that the customer may cancel the contract in writing for any reason if it's within three operating days from the date signed.

A full refund must be made within 30 days if it's canceled within that time period.

A health club cannot ask for more than 20 percent upfront unless it's been in operation for at least two years.

The Better Business Bureau offers other gym contact advice.

E-mail me with any consumer issue you need help with or "like" my Let Joe Know Facebook page and tell me about it there.


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