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Want to Join a Gym? Adam Putnam Has Five Tips for You

As many prepare to shed some of those pounds gained during holiday feasting, Florida's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services released Friday five tips to Floridians soliciting the services of health studios (e.g., gyms). They are:

"1. Shop around. Many health studios allow prospective members to use the facility on a trial basis. If the health studio offers this option, consumers should consider trying out the health studio to determine whether it is the right health studio to help them meet their fitness goals.

"2. Find out what you get for what you pay. Many health studios offer different memberships at different rates depending on the amenities offered or the length of membership.

"3. Ask about the cancellation policy. Consumers have the right to cancel a contract with a health studio within three days of signing it (exclusive of holidays and weekends), but it must be in writing. If a person becomes physically unable to use the facility, a contract can be canceled and/or a refund issued for the unused time.

"4. Know your rights. If a health studio closes or moves its facilities more than five miles away, it must designate an alternate facility of equal quality within five miles of its original location at no additional cost to its members. If the studio goes out of business or does not designate an alternate facility within 30 days, members may cancel their membership by notifying the health studio in writing.

"5. Research the health studio. Call the Department's consumer assistance center at 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) or 1-800-FL-AYUDA (352-9832) for information regarding the health studios registration, complaint history and whether it has posted a bond for member refunds."

The Department also published a pamphlet on the subject, here.

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