CHICAGO (WBBM) — Joining a gym after New Year’s is popular, and that trend unfortunately has prompted some facilities to try and take advantage of new clients.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Mary Frances Bragiel reports, 298 complaints were filed against health clubs in Chicago and elsewhere in northern Illinois, according to the Better Business Bureau.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Mary Frances Bragiel Reports

The complaints were made by people who claimed they were scammed after signing up for a membership.

Chicago Better Business Bureau president and chief executive officer Steve Bernas advises those interested in joining a health club to inspect the facility personally beforehand, and know the terms of the introductory offers and possible price changes before signing the contract.

The BBB suggests five questions you should ask the staff at the gym before signing up for a membership.

• What are the terms of any introductory offers?
• Will my membership renew automatically?
• How can I get out of my contract?
• What happens if I move?
• What happens if you go out of business?

The BBB also suggests that you consider for yourself what your fitness goals are, whether the location is convenient, and whether you can really afford monthly payments for a gym – particularly because dues often go up after introductory periods end.

The BBB also says if don’t give in right away if you’re feeling pressured to join, and make sure you get everything in writing.