LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — As 2020 begins, many list exercise as their top New Year resolution. But, Attorney General Rutledge has a warning before you choose to join a gym.

“Investing in your health is important for your physical and mental wellbeing,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “But reading the fine print, getting all sales promises in writing and knowing the cancelation and billing policies are crucial in securing your fiscal wellbeing and avoiding any unfortunate surprises.”

On Wednesday, Rutledge addressed a list of concerns she said her office has been receiving on poor practices at health clubs and/or gyms. 

  • Visit the spa or gym during the hours you would normally attend. Note the condition and cleanliness of the equipment and if the facilities are overcrowded.
  • Compare several gyms in the area.
  • Ask about trial periods so you can sample the gym without obligation to join.
  • Ask about hours of operation and any limits to certain memberships.
  • Do instructors and trainers have special qualifications or expertise to best serve its members?
  • Ask what the cancellation policy is upfront and the costs of any joining or cancellation fees.
  • Consider the form of payment. Remember which bank card or bank account number are on file to make the cancellation process easier.
  • Ask about automatic renewal policies and any recurring annual fees.
  • If signing a contract for a specific time period, are there extenuating circumstances that would allow breaks in the contract such as injury, illness or moving?

Gyms or salespeople will often release deals and advertisements that come across as a good deal, but Attorney General Rutledge said to make sure to always make sure the offers are in writing, both electronically and hard copy, and approved by the manager of the business.

The law, Rutledge said, requires that a copy of the signed contract be given at the time of joining and that customers can cancel the remaining portion of their health spa contract if they become permanently disabled or if they move more than 50 miles from any of the gym's locations.

These laws do not apply to most non-profit gyms such as YMCA.

For more information about consumer-related issues, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office at (800) 482-8982 or consumer@ArkansasAG.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.

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