With more people seeking out gyms and fitness centers to meet New Year’s health resolutions, the Better Business Bureau warned residents to shop smart for a workout facility.

“You want to shop and compare,” said Helen Moore, the BBB’s regional director. “Decide what you are looking for in a fitness center and what your budget is. Check out what is available in your area,” before agreeing to a membership.

According to information from the International Health, Racquet and Sports Club Association, there are more than 30,000 health clubs in the United States with more than 50 million members, stated a news release from the BBB.

Complaints to the organization against gyms increased during the last three years, the release stated. The BBB processed more than 3,200 complaints against gyms nationwide, which is 20 percent higher than 2012 and 40 percent greater than 2011.

Most of the complaints stem from contracts and billing issues, stated the release.

“We do receive complaints against (local) fitness centers, so we want people do their research before they sign their contract, and know what they are committing themselves to,” Moore said.

Those filing complaints nationwide had difficulties canceling memberships after unforeseen personal circumstances, were charged additional fees and were still charged after they canceled memberships.

To avoid such issues, people should avoid high-pressure sales asking for immediate signatures on contracts, Moore said.

They also should read the contract’s fine print and tour the facility to know what they’re getting.

People looking to enroll at a fitness center should also seek reviews of the business from bbb.org or other websites as well as ask friends and neighbors for recommendations.

mcanales@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7554

Contact Mason W. Canales at ​mcanales@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7474

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