Losing Weight Or Losing Money

Monday, January 9, 2012 - 8:03am

Gym contracts are often filled with financial pitfalls.

The idea of signing up with a local gym is a noble one, what's better than getting in shape or losing a few pounds for the New Year?

But sometimes our best intentions fade away, and instead of losing weight, all we do is lose money.

"Maybe the short term contract is better than the long term," said Sheryl Bilbrey with the Better Business Bureau.

Bilbrey says high pressure sales tactics often lead to consumers signing up for long term deals and then only using the health club for a few months.

"You want to make sure you get a copy of the contract, take it home and read it," said Bilbrey, "Don't feel pressured into signing it."

Sidd Vivek with the YMCA says this is the time more people than ever visit the gym but they don't always keep coming.

"We see a huge surge in January and February," said Vivek, "But by March and April it thins out.

So making a long term financial commitment to a club or gym may not be the smartest money decision to make entering the new year.

The Better Business Bureau suggests starting out with a month to month contract.

"You want to find a place that has flexibility," said Sheryl Bilbrey, "So if you're not using it then maybe it's not the right place for you."

If you do sign a contract, find out if there is a penalty for canceling your membership.

What if the gym closes or what if you move?

See if you can use a guest pass for a few weeks to get to know the gym or simply go month to month.

The Better Business Bureau says the most important thing is to take your time before making any long term commitment.

"The sales person will make it easy for you to sign the contract," said Sheryl Bilbrey," The contract may make it difficult for you to get out."

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