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This New Year, recognize the perils of gym membership


Around the same time, every year, we all start to make our resolutions, promises and goals for the upcoming year. Spending more time with family, getting the promotion at work and the most common of all, lose that 10, 15 or 20 pounds that just seems to be hanging onto our belts.

With this in mind, I would like to bring to the attention of your readers the financial perils, dangers and risks of gym membership.

Offering low introductory rates, that often increase rapidly, or offering personalized plans and trainers, for additional fees, are just some of the ways they can sell their products to those looking to better themselves. Although gyms, in general, have helped many people we may know, please consider the following before signing on the dotted line.

Have you ever wondered why gyms donít send out monthly bills or accept cash payments? Itís simply because if you stopped going, youíll stop paying. However, place a credit, debit or check card on file and watch the reoccurring charges add up, long after youíre eating birthday cake and hot dogs at that July party. When you do realize what is taking place and try to cancel your membership, out comes the fine print.

In November, there was a civil small claims court case in the village of Arcade (Chilson v. Arcade Fitness) presided over by Acting Justice Brian Lane.

In the case, Mr. Chilson had sent several emails and had a lengthy telephone conversation with the owner, who shall not be named personally, about the cancelation of the reoccurring payments for membership.

The initial cancellation notice through email was in January, yet he received charges directly to his account until October, when a suit was filed.

Arcade Fitness held a position that, even though there was an obvious intention to end membership, the email and phone conversations were not sufficient notice and justified them in attaining an additional $192 after the initial notice.

The Electronic Signatures Act holds that ďa signature, contract or other record relating to such transaction may not be denied legal effect, validity or enforceability solely because it is in electronic form.Ē However, it would appear that in the case at hand, the verdict was for the defendant and Arcade Fitness was allowed to keep the funds obtained.

Let this be a warning to the community, about the knee-jerk resolutions of getting healthy and fit in this upcoming year by joining a gym.

Take a walk, jog, maybe find a nice used treadmill or Stair-Master to begin your workout regimen, before you give a gym your card.

Garrett Chilson


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