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BBB tip of the week: Fitness centers

Sun., Feb. 2, 2014

Popular New Year’s resolutions include getting fit and losing weight. But before you leap into a contractual agreement with a fitness center, consider the following path to reach your fitness goals.

• Do your research. Check out the BBB Business Reviews of fitness centers near you by visiting www.bbb.org. National chains are popular choices for those who want access to multiple locations. Other choices include the local YMCA and specialty fitness centers in your neighborhood.

• Visit each facility you’re thinking of joining. Resist the pressure to join during your first visit. Instead, ask about free passes and trial memberships.

• Ask even more questions. Specifically, ask about access to services you may want to use, such as personal trainers, group classes, athletic games and other amenities, like a pool or climbing wall. Ask for clarification of what is included as part of your membership and what has an additional cost.

Once you’re ready to commit, the Better Business Bureau urges you to consider the following before you sign that contract:

• Take the contract home and read it over carefully. Sales staff are encouraged to get you to sign on the spot. Resist. Inevitably, that “one-time” deal, or a new one, will be waiting for you if you decide to join at a later date.

Make sure you understand the total cost for the length of the contract. This includes the enrollment fee, introductory length and rate, monthly rate after the introductory rate ends and finance charges, if any. If you plan to use add-on services, be sure to include those fees as well.

If you opt for a short-term contract, be sure to ask if it will automatically renew. If so, ask what you need to do to cancel if you don’t want to continue membership.

No matter the length of the contract, ask for the cancellation policy and make sure it is explained in the contract. Make sure any restrictions and fees are spelled out.

For more tips, visit the BBB at www.bbb.org or call (509) 455-4200.

Erin T Dodge, BBB editor


 

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