People often purchase a gym membership with the intention of working out at the same gym forever and ever, at least until life and all of its complications get in the way. Let's face it - sometimes it is necessary to get out of your gym contract.
However, it isn't always that easy. Many people post their gym horror stories online, in which they detail how they just could not get out of their gym memberships without spending a great deal of money to do so. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to keep from falling into this contractual trap.
Ask questions during the gym tour
Before you sign on the dotted line, you need to know how to cancel your gym membership in a worst case scenario. At some point before you join, a gym associate will take you on a guided tour of the facility to show you all you stand to gain if you do start forking over your gym membership fees. Not too much time will be dedicated to telling you how to cancel that membership, so you'll have to ask for this information. Gyms and fitness centers need your dues to survive; the last thing they want you to do is cancel, even if you never show up to use the equipment. They can and will gloss over the cancellation details.
Take the time to read the contract fine print before you sign
The number one rule is to figure out what's necessary to cancel the membership in the very beginning. Politely interrupt the signup speech the gym associate is giving to ask where instructions for cancellation can be found. Read them right then and there. There may be a few tricky stipulations there that you were not expecting. You should sign the contract only after you're certain of - and comfortable with - its obligations. Don't let anxious gym representatives make you feel rushed. Remember, you're the customer. It's not their hard-earned dollars that will be tied up indefinitely if you choose to leave the gym.
Check the Web
Looking up gyms in your area online before you show up is best. Sometimes you may be able to find information on a gym's membership cancellation policies on its website. If you can't find help there, give the place a call. If the person who answers the phone is unhelpful, don't hesitate to ask for the manager or supervisor. Unfortunately, because some gym owners want you to come in to check the place out for yourself, the information regarding membership fees and cancellations are top secret until an associate meets with you in person.
Search for gyms with pay-as-you-go plans
They do exist. However, most gyms or fitness centers do require a 30-day written notice before you leave. If you leave earlier than that, your membership payment can still be automatically debited from your bank account or charged to your credit card.
It all comes down to one sage piece of advice: Always read a contract - any contract - carefully before you sign it.
Although physical fitness and exercise are on many Americans' minds, joining a gym or fitness center is not always an attractive solution. Many people go out and purchase entire home gyms so that they can work out in peace.