Tips to Help You Get Fit Without Getting Taken | Arkansas Attorney General

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Little Rock | Arkansas consumers who are making New Year’s resolutions to drop a few pounds in 2015 should select a fitness club or gym with care and review contracts before committing to memberships.

Health spas and fitness clubs are competing for New Year’s business by offering special deals on gym memberships. Because of that, some Arkansas consumers may face high-pressure sales tactics, misrepresentations about services or other problems that may derail their fitness goals.

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel issued this Consumer Alert today to give Arkansans some tips for choosing the right gym.

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“Please look closely at a gym’s fees, contractual requirements and facilities before you join,” McDaniel said. “Our Consumer Protection Division receives complaints from consumers every year about problems they have with gym memberships.”

McDaniel warned consumers to be wary of advertisements for “free” club memberships. Sometimes, those “free” memberships mean consumers will be subject to high-pressure sales pitches. At other times, consumers lured by the promise of a free month’s membership actually sign costly, long-term contracts.

Consumers should make sure that everything promised by a salesperson is included in the contract.

In addition, McDaniel reminded consumers that Arkansas law allows for consumers to cancel health spa contracts if buyer becomes permanently disabled or moves more than 50 miles from any of that same club’s locations.

McDaniel offered these additional tips:

  • Visit the spa or gym during the hours you would normally use it to see if it’s overcrowded. Notice whether the facilities are clean and well-maintained, and note the condition of the equipment.
  • Ask about trial periods.  Is there some time when you can sample the services and equipment for free and without any obligation to join?
  • Ask about the number of members. Many spas set no membership limits. While the spa may not be crowded when you visit, it may be packed during peak hours or after a membership drive.
  • Ask about the hours of operation.  Some spas and gyms restrict men’s use to certain days and women’s to others. Some may limit lower-cost memberships to certain hours.
  • Ask about instructors and trainers. Some spas and gyms hire trainers and instructors who have special qualifications. If you’re looking for professionals to help you, ask about staff qualifications and longevity.

For more information about gym memberships or other consumer issues, visit the Consumer Protection Division website, www.GotYourBackArkansas.org, or call the Consumer Protection Division hotline at (800) 482-8982.

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