NORTH PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The new year is in full swing, and a lot of people are rushing to the gym to sign up for a new contract.

But what are the chances that while you’re working to get rid of that belly, your gym goes belly up?

A local man contacted Call 12 For Action after his gym closed, not once, but twice. The first time it happened, Mark Stickney said he heard the news from us.

“I flip on the TV – channel 12 of course – and there’s my gym on TV,” he said. “And they’re closed.”

When the same thing happened a year later, he called 12 for action.

“I go to the gym and there’s this ginormous wad of chain on the door with a big padlock on it,” he said.

According to Stickney, he had been at the end of his contract with Gold’s Gym in North Providence the first time. He said he was on a month-to-month payment plan at Cross Trainer’s in Pawtucket the second time – so he really didn’t lose much money.

But not all consumers are that lucky.

“I feel lucky that I didn’t lose anything. I know people out there did,” he said. “Entering into a contract, whether it be with a gym or anyone you’re doing business with, you’d like to know that they’re on stable, financial ground and that they’re not just gonna pack up and disappear the next day.”

According to the RI Attorney General’s Office Consumer Protection Unit, every gym or health club in the state is required to register with the office every year. The office also has all of the contact information for the owners of each club – and requires them to provide a list of complaints or legal actions against their gyms.

Still, the Better Business Bureau said last year alone, it received more than 200 complaints about health clubs and fitness centers in Rhode Island.

“Some things that you can look at is, have they been in business for a while, do they have a consumer base that will stick with them?” asked Paula Flemming, a spokesperson for the BBB.When signing a contract, keep these things in mind:

  • In RI, you have 10 days to cancel a new membership.
  • Make sure the gym is registered with the AG’s Office. If they’re not, your contract isn’t valid.
  • Read the fine print! Make sure your contract lists all services, fees and promises made by the gym.

If you want to find out if your gym is properly registered or for more information from the RI AG’s Office, click here. To file a complaint with the BBB, click here.