Many people put losing weight at the top of their list of things to do in a new year. Consumers are being reminded though to make sure it’s not their wallet that will be feeling the burn, after rushing into a long term contract they can’t afford.
State Bureau of Consumer Protection Director Michelle Reinen says getting in shape is a good goal. However, she urges people to look at the fine print before signing a contract with a fitness center or other program.
Reinen says you should look at the length of the contract to see how long you will be required to make payments, and to check if a trial period may also be available to make sure that New Year’s resolution is going to stick.
State law restricts gyms and weight loss programs to two-year contracts. Reinen says you do have three days after signing a contract to change your mind. She says any cancellation notice needs to be given in writing.
Some programs will give discounts if you pay for the entire contract up front. Reinen says you should be sure to check that those offering that option have some form of financial responsibility on file with the state. While it may not help you recover the full amount if the business goes under, Reinen says it can provide some compensation if the business does not provide refunds.