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How to Negotiate a Gym Membership Contract: Top 5 Tips

Got joining a gym on your list of New Year's resolutions? Getting in shape is certainly a good idea, but you should know that consumers often regret the gym contracts that they sign.

When you visit the gym, you should not sign up for a gym membership on the spot. Instead, take the gym membership contract home with you to carefully review in peace. In fact, by not signing up on the spot, you may even get the gym to make you a better offer. Never underestimate the power of the walkout.

Here are our top five tips to making good on your New Year's resolutions while avoiding getting screwed on your gym membership:

1. Get any verbal promises from salesman in writing

Most contracts will have a clause that says that any oral promises are specifically excluded. In other words, if the salesman told you that you were getting a month free and five free personal training sessions, make sure it's in the contract. If it's not in there, you're probably not getting it.

2. Check contract for limitations: i.e. not able to use all locations

Often the contracts will have limitations within them, such as restricting your membership to a specific location.

3. Confirm cancellation policy that allows you to stop paying if you move/are injured

You will want to take a close look at the cancellation policy. You don't want to wind up stuck if you move, are injured or have some other kind of intervening circumstance.

4. Confirm/use cool off period if you're not sold

Check to see if your state has a cooling off period for your contract. If they do, you will have a short period of time to change your mind after you sign the contract. That doesn't mean that you can neglect to read it closely.

5. Don't sign lifetime memberships

Why would you want a lifetime membership? They're so bad for consumers, they're illegal in some states. Best case, you want a month-to-month contract. Don't commit to anything longer than a year.

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