Trading standards warn over contracts

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LET’S face it, many of us are positively wobbling around our homes and offices right now wishing we had put that second drumstick down and eased up a little on the roast potatoes.

A determination to get back in shape is all well and good, but equally important is taking care about signing contracts before studying them as if you had to pass an exam on the contents.

Gym contracts have been getting a bad press of recent and in 2011 a High Court ruling decided that it was unfair to keep a customer bound by a contract for more than 12 months at a time.

And many gyms fell under the unappreciative gaze of the Office of Fair Trading which went on to take action against them last year for tying customers in to minimumn membership periods with limited rights to cancel despite possible changes in circumstances.

Jennifer Hampson of East Renfrewshire council’s trading standards team had this to say: “This is the best time of the year for gyms to attract new members.

“They show you around the facilities and then give you a copy of the contract as they continue to talk to you, meaning that you don’t have the time you need to read the contract and compare prices with another gym.

“If you are going to join, try to do as much research beforehand as possible: look online to see if there are any special deals.

“If you do find that you have signed a contract which you are not using and cannot get out of, contact trading standards or Citizens Advice Scotland.

“The aim is to lose weight, not money.”