COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Many people make resolutions in the New Year to be healthier and more active. As the time ticks closer to 2014, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine offers tips to residents planning on spending time at the gym.
"Joining a gym or fitness center can be a great way to improve your health, but it's also important to make good choices as a consumer," Attorney General DeWine said. "Remember to read a contract carefully before signing it and make sure you understand the cancellation policy."
DeWine says his office received nearly 125 complaints in 2013 involving fitness centers.
The most commonly reported problem involved cancellations, including residents who had trouble cancelling their membership and those who said the business continued to charge them after they cancelled.
Under Ohio's Prepaid Entertainment Contracts Act, residents have three business days to cancel contracts for gym memberships. If a new facility has not yet opened for business, you have seven days to cancel after the first service under the contract is available.
Cancellations must be in writing and must be postmarked by midnight of the third business day after the first service is available. Consumers should send a cancellation notice via certified mail, with a return receipt requested, to receive proof the business received the notice.
Here are tips from the AG's office when looking for a gym membership:
Search for complaints with the Ohio Attorney General's Office and Better Business Bureau before signing a contract.
Read the contract carefully. Make sure verbal agreements are included in writing. Determine the total cost, including any extra fees for fitness classes or personal training.
Find out if payments will be withdrawn or charged automatically.
Understand the cancellation policy and whether your contract will renew automatically.
Check the length of the contract. It should not exceed three years.
Keep a copy of the contract, cancellation notice, and other correspondence for your records.