Have spring fever? You are not alone. But don't try to cancel a gym contract just because it's warming up outside.
January is gym sign up month. March and April are gym quitting months, when people realize they are not using it as much as they had hoped.
New Year's Resolution
Emma Colella wanted to take some fitness classes. So she signed a deal for a fitness club right after the holidays.
"It was like a New Year's resolution, she said.
She says the owner told her if she didn't like it, she could cancel after 3 months.
That's what she decided to do when the gym moved, and the weather started warming up. But the gym kept billing her credit card, month after month.
"On the 15th of the next month," she said, "he charged me the full $128 again."
Contract Came with Catch
The owner told us their contracts are clear. If you want to break the contract early, you still have to pay half the amount you owe, which he was doing in this case.
Sandra Guile of the Better Business Bureau says many people get trapped this way when they want to get out of a contract. She says you need to ask questions before you join.
"Find out what is included in that membership, how long that membership lasts. What if the gym closes or moves, what are the financial agreements," she said.
What You Need to Know
The BBB and the financial website Credit.com say before you sign any gym agreement:
- Ask what penalties you'll face if you try to cancel early.
- Don't believe verbal promises about classes, child care, or that you can cancel whenever you want.
- Pay monthly by check or credit card: If you give a gym your checking account number, they can continue billing you long after you cancel.
Colella has a string of text messages from the owner telling her "no problem" if she wanted to cancel. Turns out there was a problem, a big problem.
Bottom line: Don’t sign a gym contract until you know exactly what you are getting into.
That way you don't waste your money.
Don't Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of the EW Scripps Co.
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