Copyright 2006 Brad Howard
With our fast-paced lifestyles and our less-than-ideal dietary habits, it’s no wonder that health clubs and gyms are appearing everywhere. These centers are very important for many people, because it forces them to have the discipline to workout on a regular basis. But do remember that gyms exist to make money. And where money is involved, trust that there will be some people who will go to great lengths to take it away from you! Disgruntled gym and health club clients have plenty of stories to tell. Learn from them and save yourself from shady gym operators.
Gym Scams 101
Ridiculously Low Rates It’s becoming increasingly crowded out there. With so many gyms fighting each other over customers, membership fees are plummeting. However, you should remember that operating a gym is a very expensive endeavor. In order to provide customers with the best experience, the gym or health club must have plenty of operating capital. Low-end gyms, while having much cheaper rates, mean bad exercise equipment, crowded areas, less sanitary facilities and less customer focus. When choosing a gym or health club, it may be best to go to the more expensive places.
Beware of False Advertising There are many gyms that advertise low-rates, zero-membership fees, or some other way that you can save when joining. However, most of these gyms get the money out of the customer, one way or the other. Be sure to read the contract for any hidden charges that they may impose. Others advertise huge discounts, only to cripple or limit much or their services until the member pays in full. Others, on the other hand, flat-out lie about their services and member benefits. Be sure to ask a lot of questions and inspect the service agreement fully.
Dubious Accreditations – There are so many certificate-giving bodies out there from state and community organizations that few are worth more than the paper it’s written on. Be sure to double-check on what accreditations the gym claims to have and see if they come from a truly prestigious or note-worthy organization. The same goes for the so-called certified-instructors many gyms have. Be wary and be sure to research these claims.
Poor Equipment and Facilities This is what you pay for the most, the ability to use large, specialized equipment. Always inspect the entire gym and its facilities before you commit to signing up. The place should also be spacious it should not be crowded. Many gyms sign up more customers than they can actually handle. The result is that many customers have to wait in line to use the gym equipment they want. This also means that their equipment is constantly being used and prone to more damage.
Sleazy Contracts Always read what’s printed on the service contract. Three year memberships, high deposit fees, extra charges these can be all hidden inside the contract and its existence conveniently not mentioned by the sales team. Always turn on the alarm when you encounter provisions requiring you to shell out more money or penalize you for cutting your membership short.