Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today offered advice for consumers who plan to join a fitness center in the New Year.
“If you’re joining a gym, review the contract before you sign it,” Attorney General DeWine said. “Understand how long you have to cancel and whether the contract will renew automatically. If a salesperson says you can cancel at any time or use multiple facilities with your membership, make sure those claims are included in the written contract, and keep a copy for your records.”
In 2015, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office received approximately 170 complaints involving fitness or health club memberships. Top problem areas included billing and cancellation issues.
Under Ohio’s Prepaid Entertainment Contracts Act, consumers generally have three business days to cancel a contract for health spa services (such as a gym membership), martial arts training, dance studio lessons, or social referral services (such as a dating service). Cancellations should be in writing.
Before signing a contract with a fitness center, consumers should:
Search for complaints on file with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office or Better Business Bureau, and check online reviews for feedback from current or past customers.
Read the contract carefully and make sure verbal agreements are included in writing.
Determine the total cost, including any extra fees for fitness classes or personal training.
Find out if payments will be withdrawn automatically.
Understand the cancellation policy and whether the contract will renew automatically.
Check the length of the contract. It should not exceed three years.
Consumers who want to learn more about their rights or those who need help solving a consumer problem should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov or 800-282-0515.