As we begin a New Year, many of us will be setting new goals and resolutions. One of the most popular resolutions is to get fit and healthy. Many people will be joining a gym or renewing their gym membership. The New York State Division of Consumer Protection (DCP) shares practical tips on what New Yorkers need to know before signing up or a renewing a health club or gym membership.
Know What to Look for Before Signing up for a Gym Membership:
Carefully review the contract before signing it:
Read the fine print and be aware of any hidden fees that may come with it. While the advertised monthly fee may seem reasonable, gyms often include additional fees for things like initiation, cancellation and maintenance.
Be aware of add-ons:
When signing up for a gym membership, it’s important to understand the fees and policies that come with it. Here are some key things to keep in mind:
- Initiation or registration fees are typically non-refundable, so be sure the location and schedule are convenient to you.
- Look out for annual maintenance charges. Make sure to read the contract carefully and understand the terms regarding this annual surcharge.
- Locker rentals are often not free, so ask ahead to plan where you’re going to keep your belongings. Some gyms require you to purchase your own padlock or locker assignment.
- Termination fees are important to consider in case you need to cancel your membership. Make sure you understand the gym’s policies regarding termination to avoid any unexpected charges.
- Premium classes and personal training sessions may come with additional charges. While the first training session may be offered for free, subsequent sessions will likely come at a cost.
- Be sure to check the equipment requirements before attending a class to avoid any unexpected charges. Classroom extras such as yoga mats, steps and stretch band may require a rental fee if you don’t have your own equipment.
Know Your Rights When Cancelling or Renewing a Gym Membership:
- NYS law requires businesses with automatic renewal programs to disclose the terms of auto-renewal offers clearly and conspicuously, cancellation policies and minimum purchase obligations.
- A business that allows auto-renewal must also provide simple user-friendly cancellation options for consumers to make it easier to unsubscribe or cancel memberships. They must provide a toll-free telephone number, email address or other cost-effective, timely and easy-to-use option for consumers to cancel after agreeing to a contract.
- If it is believed a company is not following the law when offering recurring services or free gifts, consumers should file a complaint with DCP at ny.gov/consumerprotection.