Written By: Friday, January 13th 2017

If you woke up on January 1st, and decided it was time to get in shape and maybe shed a few pounds, it may be time to sign up for a membership at your local gym or fitness club.

But, before you do, you should be armed with some information going in, and knowing what your rights are.

January and February are traditionally the peak months for memberships, and also a time when some clubs are offering incentives to get you in the door.

 

Before you put pen to paper and sign a contract, make sure the place you have in mind, is really a good ‘fit’ for you.

Some things that might be important to you include:

 -Make sure you have a good look around at the facility.  Is it clean?  Is it overcrowded?  Does the workout equipment look old and worn, or new and up to date?

     -Make sure you check the hours of operation, to ensure its open when you are most likely to go, and check that any fitness classes are held at convenient times for you. 

     -Make sure there are qualified trainers and instructors on staff.  Some will charge extra for a personal program, while some gyms will include basic training and assistance, and some classes, as part of the membership fee. 

    -Make sure you have some kind of probation period, so that if you find the club doesn’t agree with you, you can get out with no or little cost.  Under Ontario’s Consumer Protection Act, you have a 10-day cooling off period, meaning you have the right to cancel a gym membership within 10 days of receiving a written copy of your contract, without a reason. 

    -Make sure you have a variety of payment options. Most facilities will have monthly payment programs, but often charge more than the up-front, one-time fee for the entire year.  See what works best for your convenience.  Also, enquire about the club’s renewal and cancellation policies, as they differ from place to place.  Most gyms will give you a notice that your contract is up for renewal, but if you don’t respond, they have the right to assume renewal.

   -If you have children, or other family members, investigate family plans, and if children or teens are even welcome at the facility.  Some will offer a ‘guest’ fee, so you can bring a friend or family member on occasion for a small charge.

 

For more on your rights in Ontario, click here