Fine print can make gym memberships tough to cancel

Filled with the best of intentions, Ed Burns signed on with a Largo gym and a personal trainer last January.

But just weeks later doctors delivered devastating news: Burns was diagnosed with cancer that required 8 months of chemotherapy. Doctors said he would not be able to work out.

Burns showed us emails back and forth with the gym and the owner agreeing to cancel the membership. But in September the gym hit Burn's debit card with a $420 personal training charge.

Doug Templeton, who heads up Pinellas County's Consumer Protection Office says many gym goers don't check the fine print.

Members who find the contract is not being honored can file a complaint with state regulators here.

By law you have three days to look over the contract and cancel if you change your mind about the gym membership but you must do so in writing. Also look for gyms that offer month to month with no commitment.  And always pay with a credit card versus a debit card in case you need to file a dispute.

In Burn’s case he says there was no contract. We emailed the gym and asked about that $420 charge. Days later the health club credited his account the full amount.

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