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Gym Membership Contracts

Savvy ATM: Tricky Gym Membership Contracts

When you sign up for a new gym membership there's no guarantee for a beautiful behind, but more likely than not there's a guarantee that you'll have to sign a contract. I'm a big advocate of doing anything that promotes health, but there are some questions you'll want to ask before committing to one gym over another. To find out why you should pause before signing up at whatever gym is closest to your home just

The Better Business Bureau reported that complaints about gyms have risen more than 90 percent over the last five years! The majority of the customer complaints centered around contract issues, including people who were still being billed after they thought their contract was over. Avoid having something to complain about with these tips.

  • Ask about introductory memberships to make sure you like the gym before getting locked into a long contract.
  • Look for a gym that offers month-to-month memberships.
  • Make sure what the gym salesperson says meshes with what's in the contract.
  • Try and negotiate a shorter contract before signing away three years of membership fees.


Join The Conversation
glofriend glofriend 9 years
My gym charged me a special fee for expansion. They're building another facility and want the current members to pay an annual "surcharge". They actually added it as a contract item! I told them my exorbitant fee should cover their capital expenses, and didn't pay. So far, no one has come after me.
plasticapple plasticapple 9 years
Community Center, baby! They just completed a huge revamp of the one by my house. It's awesome! State of the art. Kids play pool, lap pool, childcare, indoor track, basketball court, plus the actual gym. It's only $30 a month, or $87 for 3 months. You can't beat that in my book.
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
Luckily mine is only a year. Who would ever sign up for 3 yrs?
freegracefrom freegracefrom 9 years
I'm stuck with a one-year contract with Gold's Gym. I'm not happy with them, but they seem to have a pretty standard contract. I couldn't afford to go with the gym that was month-to-month. Sigh.
StarbucksAddict9 StarbucksAddict9 9 years
My first ever gym contract I got near work (40-50 min away from home) so a few of my employee friends could take classes. It worked well until I got a new job with weird hours. They said I could transfer it so I transfered it to a family member. A couple months later the family member moved out of state so it should have voided the contract. They called me and told me I needed to pay the rest of the contact!! I went through lots of emotional phone conversations and in person meetings. They finally agreed to drop if I would come back for a class at no charge. I did not trust them so I never went back. I filed a compliant with the BBB. They have since went out of business. My last gym contract was cheap and the gym was nice just too far away. I want to go again but my local gym is outrageous if I do month to month. I want someplace with a pool and cardio equipment. That is all I need.
sara-lyn sara-lyn 9 years
i have actually had a gym employee tell me something totally different than what my contract said, but I did not actually find that out until i wanted to cancel the membership... luckily, they went out of business!
lovekailua lovekailua 9 years
i hate bally's - never again had good experience cancelling LA fitness though lol I never stay at one gym
mlen mlen 9 years
i just signed up for a gym membership near me and there options were either a start up fee and paying a month to month rate or a 15 month contract. now if i planned to quit in the next year the 15 month would not be worth it but if planned to stick it out over a year it'd be cheaper to do that one. how was i to know which i'd do. the one thing they did have and you should check with your gyms is that had a clause, if i moved more than 25 miles away from the gym, and could show proof of that (new license etc) then i could cancel at any time for free. so at least i know if my job takes me somewhere far or whatever i am not totally stuck. but yea gym contracts are the worse. one way i got out of my golds gym one once is they were changing ownership to i forget who nysc maybe- so i was able to void my contract. they didn't volunteer this info to everyone, i had to ask, but they had to do it since it was under new ownership than i had signed up for originally.
arlyle arlyle 9 years
Also, make sure they won't abuse your contact info. I found a new gym and decided not to return to 24 hour fitness. Nevertheless, 24 hour kept on calling me at least twice a week and they were very aggressive. They literally wouldn't leave me alone. I starting programming the numbers into my phone that they were calling from so I wouldn't have to answer thinking that the call was relevant. What a nightmare!
Green Green 9 years
this is a great point. NYSC charges like $14 a week, $20.08 initiation, $59 start up and you have to agree to a one year membership, no wonder I am not enrolled!
ilanac13 ilanac13 9 years
getting sucked into a gym membership is one of the worst things ever. i still have the remenants of that on my credit report since Bally's said they would cancel my member ship and they didn't and i got screwed! now i have a membership through work - so i don't think that i have any contract that i'm going to be held to. although once i leave my job i'm sure my rate will skyrocket. oh well...
MindayH MindayH 9 years
I am overall a fan of Crunch...mostly because of the classes, but I have heard tons of people complain about them increase prices mid contract (since apparently they allow for that in the contract) which seems ridiculous...but what can you do?
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
I've posted on FitSugar before what a huge fan of Planet Fitness I am, if you have one in your town, def. check it out! What I loved about them was that it was a very simple gym, just cardio machines, weight machines, and free weights... no classes, no pool, no childcare, no frills. I also loved that they had no contract, no start up fees, and were only 20 bucks a month, month-month.... Now I've moved and I go to Gold's and I hate the contract! And its almost twice as much and half as big! Bleck!
Angelica Angelica 9 years
Thanks Savvy - I needed this. I decided not to renew my gym membership at the new year because it wasn't working out for me so I need to start shoppin'!
lawchick lawchick 9 years
the last gym I belonged to required a 2 year contract. I thought it was BS but it was either that or not join. The big corporations have no incentive to negotiate
Bettyesque Bettyesque 9 years
OMG I have been there! The first gym I ever joined when I was 18. They had this real lengthy contract and who reads them right? Now I know better. I thought I signed for a year, but didnt know that if I didnt cancel at the end of that year my contract would automatically renew ... for 2 more years. I got stuck paying over 2000+ between membership fees court fees etc, it almost ruined my credit. BE CAREFUL LADIES...READ THE CONTRACT Great Post Savvy!
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
3 years? that's crazy! who would be stupid enough to sign a 3 year contract at a gym???
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