Many consumers join a health club to get in shape but end up unhappy with both the physical and financial results. To make your health club choice work out for you, consider these tips:
- Compare several health clubs. Keep in mind that some clubs with low monthly fees require long membership periods. Be sure to shop around for the best value, which may not always be the least expensive club. Have a clear idea of what you can afford to pay and stick to your budget. Don’t be afraid to bargain.
- Take a tour and check out the staff. Take a tour of each club during the hours when you’re most likely to exercise. Make sure the equipment you want to use will be available when you’ll want to use it. Make sure the club is clean and well kept, and look for friendly and knowledgeable staff.
- Try the club. Ask if the health club offers free visits so that you can see if the facility is a good fit for you. Working out at the club will also give you an opportunity to ask current members about the facility. Beware of signing up with a club that hasn’t opened yet.
- Read your contract carefully. Before you sign the contract make sure you understand the cancellation policy, the services included, and the total cost. Get all promises in writing, and make sure the health club gives you an exact copy of the contract immediately after you sign it. Consider a short-term contract rather than signing a two- or three-year contract and getting stuck with a membership you don’t use. Under North Carolina law, the contract cannot be longer than three years.
- Remember your right to cancel. If the club requires you to pay money more than 31 days in advance, the contract by law must let you know about your three-day right to cancel the contract. Be sure to read the part that spells out how you must notify the club if you decide to cancel.
- Watch out for automatic renewals. Ask if your contract expires after a certain period of time or if it allows the club to renew it unless you specifically ask them not to.
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