Is one of your New Year's resolutions to lose weight and exercise more?
If so, you might be considering joining a health club. Florida's Division of Consumer Services recommends you do some homework before joining a health club, or the only thing you may end up losing is money.
Here are some tips from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for a fiscally fit workout:
- Visit the club. Drop by during the hours you intend to use the club to determine whether the equipment may be available at that time. Many health studios allow prospective members to use the facility on a trial basis. If the health studio offers this option, consumers should consider trying out the health studio to determine whether it is the right health studio to help them meet their fitness goals.
- Find out exactly what the membership fee covers. Many health studios offer different memberships at different rates depending on the amenities offered or the length of membership. In some cases, amenities such as racquetball and basketball courts, child care and towels may have an additional cost.
- Find out if complaints have been filed against the club. Call 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352). Then, check to see if the health studio is registered and if any complaints have been filed against the business.
- Check out the contract. If long-term memberships are offered, the contract must contain provisions allowing the contract to be canceled within three business days, excluding weekends and legal holidays. If a person becomes physically unable to use the facility, a contract can be canceled and/or a refund issued for the unused time.
- Know what happens if the club closes. If a health studio closes or moves its facilities more than five miles away, it must designate an alternate facility of equal quality within five miles of its original location at no additional cost to its members. If the studio goes out of business or does not designate an alternate facility within 30 days, members may cancel their membership by notifying the health studio in writing.
Thanks to Florida's Division of Consumer Services for passing this information along. For additional information, visit www.800helpfla.com or call 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) within Florida.
- If you're looking for a health club, gym or place to exercise, be sure to check out the Sports and Fitness Section in the Pinellas Beaches Patch directory.