Tread carefully before signing a gym membership

Picking the right gym is not as easy as it looks. When is comes to contracts and the fine print, you can find yourself in a nightmare if you're not careful.

Last year the Michigan Attorney General Office's Consumer Protection Division received 84 complaints against health clubs, gyms, and fitness centers. In most of these cases, consumers said what they were told by sales personnel didn't match the written contract. Many others found the high-pressure sales tactics offensive.

Attorney Dani Liblang from The Liblang Law Firm, P.C., in Birmingham joins us on The Nine with some tips.

Here is a check list before signing:

  • Visit the gym when you would normally exercise, to make sure it isn't overcrowded, or dirty, and doesn't have poorly maintained equipment
  • Ask about a free trial period or short-term trial membership to make sure the facilities suit your needs
  • Be clear about add-on costs, like classes, personal training sessions, or other fees
  • Know your budget going in, so you won't get talked into a membership you can't afford
  • Avoid facilities offering "free" or very inexpensive lifetime memberships. Remember, it's the lifetime of the business that counts
  • Read reviews and talk to customers to find out how the gym treats its members
  • Contact the Consumer Protection Division to find out about any complaints that have been filed
  • Read the contract carefully before signing it. Make sure that any special deals are included
  • Understand how to quit before you start. Read the cancellation policy carefully so you don't get stuck paying for a gym membership you can't use