Planet Fitness’ ‘No Commitment’ Claims

March 29th, 2018

It’s 3 a.m. and you must be lonely because you just housed an entire box of ice cream sandwiches. There are two ways this can go from here. You can either get your life together, go to bed and join a gym in the morning, setting yourself on a path toward redemption. Or, you can dig yourself into a deeper hole and make a move for that second box of ice cream sandwiches in the freezer.

Let’s say you go with option No. 1. But which gym to join?

Planet Fitness has lots of locations spread across the country and right now has an enticing offer on its website that prices membership at only $10 a month. The best part? No commitment. So say your motivation to become a “better you” dissolves after a month and you return for that second box of ice cream sandwiches — you’ll only be on the hook for $10.

Well, that actually all depends on which Planet Fitness you decide to join because some, perhaps even a significant number, carry annual commitments and annual fees. This is true of the five Planet Fitness gyms closest to TINA.org headquarters in Madison, Conn., all of which reveal in an easy-to-miss disclaimer on their individual membership pages (emphasis added):

Plus applicable taxes. Billed monthly to a checking account. Annual Membership Fee of $39.00 plus applicable taxes will be billed on or shortly after May 1st. Membership can only be used at this location. This offer requires a 12 month commitment.

Thus $10 a month turns into $39 a year plus the cost of 11 additional months unless you can get out of the annual commitment, which seems unlikely based on an FAQ on Planet Fitness’ site:

Please remember that your cancellation request is subject to any obligations of your membership agreement.

Now, to backtrack a little, you may have noticed an asterisk affixed to “No Commitment” in the screenshot of Planet Fitness’ memberships page at the top of this page. That asterisk corresponds to text further down the page disclosing “Participating locations only. See club for details.” But like the disclaimer on the gyms’ individual membership pages, the text doesn’t exactly catch the eye.

All of this probably leaves consumers thinking that when they click “Find a Club” under the words “No commitment” and the $10 monthly rate, they’ll be able to close on a Planet Fitness membership for that price with the option to cancel anytime, when that’s not necessarily the case.

On the bright side, the membership may still be active the morning after the next late-night ice cream sandwich craving comes around.

TINA.org reached out to Planet Fitness for comment. Check back for updates.

Find more of our of coverage on fitness here.

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