New Year, New You: Gym Memberships

New Year, New You: Gym Memberships

We found a stat that 67-percent of people who have gym memberships, never use them. That means a lot of people who are paying membership fees are pretty much throwing their money away. With the New Year comes more people who sign the dotted line, then want out.

"The Better Business Bureau system does receive thousands of complaints every year, from consumers who have joined a gym at the beginning of the year, with everyone else," said Monica Horton of the Better Business Bureau. "Then they turn around and they want to get out of that contract or they try and cancel or drop that membership later on when they're no longer losing it."

It's a common problem. That New Year's resolution to lose weight, and a lot of people turn to gyms who welcome them and their monthly dues. If you don't stick with it, you are often left with that fee long after you've given up on losing that flab. So, we got some advice on what to look for before you sign up. It's more than just reading the contract before you sign it, but paying attention to what happens if you do decide to stop going.

"Some of the cancellation policies and things can be pretty costly. It's going to cost you a lot of money to get out of these," said Horton. "You are signing a binding contract and consumers need to be aware of this and take it very seriously."

Gym owners are not dumb. This is a $22-billion a year industry for a reason. However, watch the high pressure sales attack as well.

"The fitness centers have their sales crew out in full force. Don't be pressured into signing on the dotted line right then. You need to try and take a copy of that contract home to read at your leisure," Horton said.

While you are exercising your eyes, make sure you know what you're getting for the money you're paying.

"You want to make sure that the contract also lists the facilities where you're allowed to use that membership. The hours of operation, make sure they're listed in that contract as well so they can't turn around and change those terms on you later," says Horton.

Now that you have an idea what to look for in a contract. How in the world do you pick the right gym? Here is some advice we got also;

- Visit the gym, you are interested in during the time you will be working out. That way you can see if it is mega busy and you won't be thrown back if it is.

- Find out what other people think who are members at the gym you might join. Social Media is a great way to do that.

- Check with the Better Business Bureau to see what kind of a track record your prospective gym has.

It's always better to find out before you go and sign that contract for money that stats say 67-percent of those gym membership holders never use.

Chris Horgen, Newschannel 6