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Read The Fine Print Before Signing That Gym Club Membership: Reinen

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After the holidays, many people march off to the nearest fitness club to get rid of the pounds that have added up during the holidays. A consumer protection expert says know your rights as you sign up for a program.

Michelle Reinen of the state Bureau of Consumer Protection reminds consumers to take a moment and read the fine print on any fitness club contract...

"..to tour a number of different facilities so you aware of all the options. Make sure it's going to fit the workout style and weight-loss style you'r e looking for. Find out if there's any kind of trial membership so you can give it a test run, so to speak. Be sure how crowded the gym might be when you will go...."

She says there are a number of payment options depending on the club. Some are long-term contracts, some short-term, some month-to-month. She says one tip is to get everything in writing...

"...how much you will owe, how often(the business) will need to be paid, what that payment will look like. Will it be a debit from a bank account, or will it be an auto-deposit or withdrawal from your credit card. You will need to know all that before you sign any type of contract or agreement..."

Reinen says:

? All memberships must have an expiration date, and memberships cannot be sold for a period greater than two years.

? If a center collects more than $100 in advance of providing services, it is required to have a $25,000 form of financial responsibility filed with the state or proof of funds held in an escrow account.

? Check your options for paying monthly versus paying in full up-front.

? Contracts must include a three-day cancellation right.  Consumers regretting a membership purchase must put their cancellation request in writing.

More information ishere.

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