Dear Consumer Ed:

The gym I want to join is asking me to sign a two-year contract. I’ve heard bad things about gym contracts. Should I sign it?

Consumer Ed says:

In Georgia, health clubs are required by law to have contracts with their members.  However, the individual gym can choose how long its contract lasts – from one month up to 36 months.  When you are deciding which health club to join, keep in mind that a shorter contract puts you at less risk in the event that you lose interest in your exercise regime or the health club goes out of business. 

You should also make sure you get a written copy of the contract at the time you sign it, and read it thoroughly.  Under Georgia law, health clubs are required to include certain provisions in their membership contracts.  A list of those provisions can be found on the Georgia Department of Law’s Consumer Protection Unit's website.  If a contract you have signed does not comply with the provisions required by law, you may legally cancel the agreement.

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