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Be Smart When Buying Gym Memberships
Getting fit is one of the most common New Years' resolutions.
Owner of Big Tex Gym in North Austin, Steve Smith, said he thinks when you get a membership at smaller, local gyms it is a good way to avoid dealing with contract confusion. Big Tex opened two years ago and according to the Better Business Bureau the gym has had zero complaints.
Smith said he makes sure to be direct and thorough with people when it comes to contracts.
"We had several people come in and join,” Smith said. “We're here; we make the decision right here, and it's not a big corporation making the decisions in another state.”
If you are not careful about a gym contract you could get backed into a deal you cannot afford or sometimes can’t get out of.
The BBB said they have processed more than 650 complaints against gyms and fitness centers nationwide.
Erin Dufner, Senior Vice President of Communications at the Better Business Bureau in Austin, said during the holidays people can get rushed into signing up for a contract before they think it through.
"With the new year a lot of us are seeing a lot of hot deals,” Dufner said, “but it is important that you take that contract and read all the fine print carefully."
Smith said it is important to consider your budget, watch out for hidden fees and avoid getting backed into a corner by sales pressure.
"It is important to look at the entire cost of the membership," Dufner said. "Maybe there were verbal promises that were not in writing that the company is not willing to uphold during that sales presentation."
Steve Smith said he doesn’t run his staff on commission to make sure people never get tricked into a contract or forced to sign up for something that was not their intention.
"Make sure the person selling them is paying attention and not just getting his quota for the week," Smith said.
The BBB said another suggestion is to check your bank statements each month to make sure automatic withdrawals are not slipping through the cracks.
By Cassie Gallo