AG’s office issues gym membership warning
Published 7:00 am Tuesday, January 3, 2017
The Mississippi Attorney General’s Office issued a warning recently about new gym memberships when fulfilling your New Year’s resolutions.
“Health clubs nationwide will be doing big business in the next few weeks as consumers look to make good on their New Year’s resolutions,” Attorney General Hood said in a press release. “It’s important that we all stay financially fit, too, so I hope that consumers do their research to find the right gym at the right price for them. Consumers also have the assurance that state law provides them some protections when they enter into health club contracts.”
The release states that Mississippi law protects health club consumers from fraud and misrepresentation by requiring all for-profit heath clubs to provide written copies of membership contracts and maintain a five-day cancellation period after purchase.
State law also requires health clubs to show comprehensive lists of membership plans, and prohibits companies from selling any plan not included on that list, the release states.
Consumers cannot be obligated to sign a contract that extends beyond 36 months, and cannot be signed under false pretenses of misleading information, according to the release.
Misleading information can include staff qualifications, equipment availability or testimonials of other consumers through the gym’s programs, the release states.
These laws are known as the Health Spa Act and are punishable by up to a year in prison and a $2,000 fine, the release states.
When looking for a facility to achieve New Year’s resolutions, Hood recommended consumers shop around for the best deal, ensuring the facility’s hours and equipment suit your needs.
The release also recommends watching for additional fees for classes or other amenities like lockers or registration fees.
Some employers or insurance companies may also offer discounts if you purchase a membership with a specific company, according to the release.
For more information about state laws regarding health clubs, contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 800-281-4418 or visit http://www.ago.state.ms.us//.