Watch out! Weight loss scams are a trend this time of year.
According to the Better Business Bureau, they receive complaints all the time about unreliable businesses.
Some of the most common complaints include: never getting the product your ordered, not getting the results that were advertised, and products that hurt you instead of help you.
Before you open your wallet check, here is what you should lookout for:
Avoid products that claim to help you lose weight without diet or exercise. Doctors, dieticians and other experts agree that losing weight takes work. Pass up any product that promises miraculous results without any effort.
Be skeptical of claims that you don't have to give up favorite foods or reduce the amount you consume. Try filling up on healthy vegetables and fruits so you can resist high-calorie treats. However, eliminating all your favorites could set you up to fail. It's better to limit portion size or how frequently you indulge.
Determine your fitness goals. It's hard work to lose weight. Find a program you can stick with, and preferably one that you enjoy. Does a weight loss plan require you to buy special foods? Can you cancel if you move or find that the program doesn't meet your needs?
Find a health club or exercise facility that is convenient and that offers times that fit your schedule.
Visit the facility before joining. Check on cleanliness, adequacy of space, machines and instructors. Ask if you can try the facility out before you join. If the facility closes, can you transfer your membership to another facility?
Consider your budget. Ask the health club about "joining" or enrollment fees and ongoing monthly costs.
Read the entire contract. What's included in the monthly fee and what will cost you extra? What is the total cost, including enrollment fees and finance charges?
Understand your rights to cancel your contract. Missouri laws give consumers the right to cancel a health club contract within three days of signing it. The law says three business days, but if the facility is open on the weekends, those days may count as business days.
Ultimately, the BBB says watch out for companies that make unverified claims.