13 On Your Side: Use caution before signing gym membership
As we start the New Year, maybe one of your resolutions is to lose weight and get fit. Joining a gym is a step in the right direction, but not all membership contracts are created equally.
News 13's Jon Chrisos is On Your Side with what you'll want to watch out for when signing up.
For many Americans, the New Year means a new fitness routine. But when signing up for a gym membership, make sure finances stay in shape too.
First off, factor new gym costs into your personal budget. You'll likely have to pay a first-time membership fee up front, in addition to monthly fees. Additional lessons or classes, and things like pool or tennis court usage, may not be included in that base charge.
Many clubs offer New Year specials aimed at new members, and may ask you to sign a contract on the spot. Take it home and read it instead, to make sure you understand what you're paying for.
The gym industry is a multibillion dollar business, by some estimates, $19 billion. The gym club industry says the average gym member spends $55 a month, but more than 60% don't even use it. So the Better Business Bureau says make sure you know the length of the contract, and whether there's an automatic renewal, and check those cancellation terms.
If you move, get injured, or the fitness club changes hands, will you still be obligated to pay? And many gyms will offer low introductory fees that increase after 3, 6 or 12 months.
And don't make a financial commitment to the gym without visiting first. You'll want to see how crowded it gets at peak workout times, and that it has the right amenities for you.
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