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Every week, join Whitney Quick as she helps you navigate life as a smart consumer. You'll cover everything in avoiding the latest scams, including phishing emails, medical equipment fraud, understanding layaway, hiring a reputable tax preparer, and even digital spring cleaning. Add to your toolbox and flip through your Consumer Handbook Thursdays during NPR’s Morning Edition at 6:42 a.m. and 8:42 a.m., only on KRCU.

Consumer Handbook: Finding A Reliable Gym Or Fitness Provider

Better Business Bureau

Are you determined to take control of your fitness in the new year? In 2019, consumers filed more than 4,000 complaints last year against fitness centers and health clubs. Many of those complaints claimed that centers refused to provide refunds to consumers who moved or were dissatisfied with the club’s programs or hours. 

Better Business Bureau has advice to help you evaluate gyms or fitness clubs and find a reliable business. 

Determine your fitness goals. It’s hard work to lose weight, and you need to find a program you can stick with - preferably one that you enjoy. Find a health club or exercise facility that is convenient and that offers times that fit your schedule. 

Visit the facility before joining. Check on cleanliness, adequacy of space, machines, and instructors. Ask if you can try the facility out before you join. 

Consider your budget. Ask about “joining” or enrollment fees and ongoing monthly costs. 

Read the entire contract. Is everything the salesperson promised included in the contract? What is the total cost, including enrollment fees and finance charges? Understand your rights to cancel your contract. Missouri and Illinois laws give consumers the right to cancel a health club contract within three days of signing it. The law says three business days, but if the facility is open on the weekends, those days may count as business days.