Joining a fitness club, gym or health spa usually requires a signed contract and should be treated like any other investment decision. Please consider the following information before signing any contract.
State Regulations for Fitness Clubs & Health Spas
Oregon law provides certain protections for consumers who use gyms, fitness facilities, tanning salons and what are commonly known as health spas – places that offer whirlpools, massage, steam rooms and saunas.
- Pricing information must be in writing.
- Fitness clubs and health spas are required to provide a written list of prices for every service or plan offered. They are prohibited from providing any plan or service not on the list.
- Contract terms must be specific and in writing.
- Contracts for the sale of health spa and fitness services must be in writing and include certain information, such as a description of the services provided, facility rules, the length of the contract and the cancellation policy.
- You have the right to cancel within three days without penalty.
- You have the right to cancel fitness or spa services, without penalty, by delivering a written notice within three days of signing the contract.
- Facilities that fail to open when promised must issue full refunds for upfront payments.
- If you pay upfront and the facility fails to open on the expected date, they are required to issue you a full refund within 10 days.
Despite these protections, there are still facilities that will try to use high-pressure sales tactics, misrepresent their services or make it difficult to cancel your contract. Problems can also arise when clubs suddenly change hands or go out of business.
Choosing a Fitness Club or Health Spa
- Shop around.
- Compare the services and prices offered by different companies and at various locations.
- Drop by the health club or spa during the hours you would normally use it and check out the equipment.
- Try before you buy.
- Take advantage of a free trial period if it’s available.
- Ask about initiation fees, costs for classes, fitness evaluations, personal training and other special services.
- Ask the right questions.
- For example:
- What is the duration of the contract?
- When and how will I be billed?
- Is the membership transferable to other locations?
- Do you offer discounts for family members, or credits for referring friends?
- What are my rights if the club comes under new management?
- For example:
- Don’t be hasty.
- Before you sign a contract, take a copy home with you and read it through carefully. Make sure you understand every term before you agree.
- Think ahead.
- Ask about any cancellation fees and details included in the contract. Find out exactly what it will cost if you terminate the contract prematurely, move to another area or sustain an injury.
- Background check.
- Find out whether other consumers have filed complaints against a particular health club or spa by searching the Oregon Department of Justice’s online Consumer Complaints Database.
If you experience a problem you cannot resolve with your club, complete an online Consumer Complaint Form » or contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Hotline at 1-877-877-9392.