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What you need to know before signing a gym membership contract

Many people are excited to begin exercising in the new year, however many don't know exactly what they're signing up for / Eric Mock (WGXA)

Forsyth, Ga. -- As we make our new resolutions, losing weight is usually at the top of the list. For many that means signing up for a gym membership.

President of the Better Business Bureau of Central Georgia Kelvin Collins warns that too many people rush in without fully knowing what they're signing up for.

“In January we’re all fired up we want that gym membership but come February and March we decided that this is not an expense that I’m getting my money’s worth and you want to cancel,” Collins said.

General Manager at the newly opened FitCo gym in Forsyth Emily Crawford says many people start to stop coming after three months.

"Eighty percent of people start dropping off at that point everybody stops seeing results and they end up staying home," Crawford said.

Collins says many times gyms will require a very specific method of cancellation in the contract that you might not be aware of unless you read the contract entirely.

"We’ve seen gyms that require a certified letter mailed to them. We’ve seen it where you just had to provide something in writing, and you’ll be surprised a lot of times if you don’t follow the guidelines, they’ll continue charging your bank account or your credit card,” Collins said.

Collins says often gyms use a third-party company to do their billing. You might have to pay the price if your gym doesn't communicate your cancellation to the billing company.

"If they’re not communicating with the outside source, then you could be charged a couple months before they get it stopped,” Collins said.

Collins suggests members to read the contract in its entirety, and if you can't live with the terms: don't sign it.

Crawford offers a little advice though if you want to make that membership count.

"If you wake up late and you don't have time, if you maybe have five minutes, go to the gym, and just keep that routine of going, getting out of the house and walking into the facility," Crawford said.

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