Our work Gateshead Investigates Gateshead Investigates: Make sure getting fit doesn’t leave your finances out of shape, warns Citizens Advice National Citizens Advice reported its charities across the country had to help with nearly 3,500 problems concerning gyms, health clubs and fitness studies last year. This is why his year, before the mad January rush of fitness memberships start, where reminding you to do your homework to avoid becoming out of pocket. Remember it's your waistline you want becoming thinner not your wallet! Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline advised 197 cases a month concerning gyms, healthy clubs and fitness studios between November 2016-17. Over a third of these were complaints regarding substandard services including: Gyms remaining closed for a long time Classes running for less time than advertised People struggling to book prepaid personal training sessions Poor quality facilities (this included a fitness studio with no hot showers.) 1/7 complaints concerned terms and conditions - including many cases where people felt they were unfairly held in a contract. With 1/9 about misleading claims - for instance where people were promised bespoke exercise plans, which never materialised. With 60,000 people looking at the 'cancelling a gym membership' advice pages on the national charity's website. It's no surprise that offices like ours here in Gateshead, have also been providing face-to-face to help our community deal with over 1,000 problems with health, gym and sports club memberships. Kate Hobson, consumer expert at Citizens Advice, said: At this time of year we're bombarded with offers for health and fitness memberships, which can ask for a lot of money or commitment up front. It's really important to do your homework before you sign up to any gym, health club or fitness studio. Make sure you know how long you are committing for, how much it will cost you, and think about how often you'll need to use it for it to make sense on your budget. If you do have problems after signing up then get in touch with Citizens Advice for help. Believe it or not, an analysis of cases to the Citizens Advice consumer service between June and August 2017, showed 9 in 10 people were initially refused by the company when they tried to cancel their subscription. If you have any problems regarding your gym membership, don't hesitate, jog straight down to Citizens Advice Gateshead.