If it’s your New Year’s resolution to lose weight and save money, be very careful about what gym you sign up to.
Gym contracts can be very hard to get out of and sometimes gyms even sign you up to credit contracts.
Right now you are determined to go to the gym every day for the next three years. But even if it’s not your will-power that gives up, sometimes the unexpected happens, like you move house, change jobs, or get sick.
So here are some ideas on protecting your wallet on your hunt for the perfect gym:
Try out the gym for a month or two
You can try a few different places and decide which you like best. Or you might find that you aren’t a happy gym bunny after all. Be careful when getting a ‘special trial offer’. Some of these have some terms or conditions that might sign you up to a longer membership without you realising.
Buy a second-hand membership
Often gyms let members sell their membership if they don’t want to go anymore. This can mean you can buy a cheaper deal, with less commitment than getting a membership directly from the gym. There is often a fee involved in changing the membership. Make sure you know who’s paying this.
Check the contract
Take the contract away from the gym to read before you sign it. Gym staff are trained to persuade you and get paid commission for signing you up. Tell them you need to think about it and get some advice before you sign. There is no valid business reason for them to refuse you this.
Read through the contract
After you have signed, it’s almost impossible to change the deal. So before you sign, find out how you can cancel and how much it would cost to sell the membership on. Check how the membership will be renewed – sometimes it is rolled over for another three years if you forget to cancel in time.
Find out if the payment plan is a credit contract
There are a few ways the payments could be a credit contract. Generally if you pay more for paying weekly or monthly than if you paid in full, it may be a credit contract. If they are signing you up to a credit contract they need to give you all the disclosure information like the total cost, fees, interest. You can cancel a credit contract up to three days after you get all this info.
If you aren’t happy about your credit contract you can call a financial dispute resolution scheme to complain and get help with the problem.
Find out more about these schemes in the ‘how to complain’ section on the following website www.consumeraffairs.govt.nz.