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Michigan Attorney General: Shop smart for your gym

LANSING, Mich. – A rise in consumer complaints against fitness centers and health clubs prompted Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette to say, “Shop smart.”

According to the Attorney General’s office, a whopping 595 complaints were received in 2017. Only 84 complaints were reported in 2016.

Over 347 of the complaints were made against Family Fitness about discrepancies between sales personnel and what a membership contract guaranteed.

Here are Schuette’s tips for shopping smart:

Cancellation and refunds

Know what the cancellation and refund policies are before signing a contract. And what happens to your contract if the fitness center goes out of business? Schuette said, “A ‘lifetime’ membership is really only good for the lifetime of the business, not your lifetime.”

Read contracts carefully before signing

Don’t rush. Understand what you are signing up for and take your time letting it soak in.

Save a copy of the signed contract

Saving a copy of the contract allows you to look back on what your contract guarantees. A company may ask you to pay extra fees that are not allowed under the agreed contract.

Exercise often, exercise caution

Be aware of unrealistically low prices. Use caution and common sense while inquiring about memberships.

Closing or changing ownership

If the business changes ownership and remains open, ask for a new contract with the same terms and conditions. If you can’t get written confirmation that the old contract will be honored, file a complaint with the Consumer Protection Division.

Schuette added, “Make sure you understand your contractual obligations. Many consumers mistakenly believe that if they are no longer using the fitness center, they can discontinue payments on the contract.”

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