Disputes over the financial details in contracts at gym chains are the top consumer complaint, New Taipei City Consumer Protection Office official Wang Chih-yu (王治宇) said on Wednesday last week, adding that people should research whether establishments are trustworthy, read the fine print in contracts and think twice before signing up for a membership.
City residents often choose a gym near their home, but can get cornered by the aggressive sales pitches of some establishments, especially gym chain outlets, Wang said.
Some gym chains push people to buy courses or to buy time with a personal trainer, he said, adding that this tactic often results in consumer complaints once members hit a “fatigue period” in their membership.
Disputes can also result from an establishment refusing to reimburse a member after their personal trainer quits the gym, he said.
The Executive Yuan’s Consumer Protection Committee has instructed gyms to cut back on overselling their products and to set up suitable periods in which members can use up the hours they have purchased, he said.
Gyms must clearly inform people that they cannot break the contract after the trial period, he added.
If people sign up for two programs that share the same time slot, the second program should only begin after the first one has concluded, he said.
Gyms are also responsible for informing people when their membership is about to expire, especially if the memberships renew automatically, he said.
People should not waste their membership fees, Wang said, adding that they should set aside the time, or even force themselves to go.
Wang urged people to do their homework and research their local gyms before committing themselves.
Students and office workers should carefully calculate the amount of time they have to commit to gym workouts before they sign a contract, Wang added.
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