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Before you join ...

1 Work out the cost Add the one-off joining fee to the subscription cost and take into account additional costs for classes and parking. Then see if you can afford it.

2 Deals Check for special offers, family deals and off-peak prices if you're flexible. Opt for a short membership period if you are uncertain but bear in mind the monthly cost may be more.

3 Read terms and conditions Especially the part about leaving. Does the contract automatically renew and do you have to give notice of a month or even three?

4 Cancelling Remember that cancelling your direct debit doesn't mean your membership is over, notify the gym according to those terms and conditions.

5 Complaining If you have a problem complain to the gym first. If you think their terms are unfair contact the National Consumer Agency. consumerconnect.ie

Irish Independent