so this is an interesting one,
I joined a gym.. locally.. online.. they had a separate finance firm ‘Debit Finance Collections’’, and it’s a local trust gym..
to cut a long story short,
just after joining I went on a course at work and was out of the area for a while and pretty busy, when I got back I realised I just wouldn’t have time to use the gym and to be honest there’s one closer to my work which is better placed..
I called up DFC (bearing in mind I haven’t set foot in the gym, picked up my card, had a letter.. nothing..) and that was when I was told, as I was two days over my cooling off period, I’d have to pay the full £450+ cancellation charge... I did try and reason but no dice..
I then contacted the gym as they do have the power to allow you to cancel early.. aaand again ‘sorry sir but our terms state that outside the cooling off period you owe the full years fees’..
now, as I’ve never been picked the card up, been in there or actually had any service at this point, I’m tempted to cancel the DD, speak to the finance company and say it had been set up fraudulently / mistakenly by someone else.. and deal with it like that.. or is there a better and more legal option?
I don’t want to affect my credit rating or have DCA’s chasing me so any advice would be appreciated.. my contact with Debit Finance Collections has only been a quick call where they told me I couldn’t cancel.. below is the terms from my one email confirmation, thanks in advance!:
Terms & Conditions
Definitions: Service Provider = "we", "us" or "our"; Customer = "you"; Debit Finance Collections Plc = "DFC"
Terms of your Contract
PERIOD OF COMMITMENT
-You are agreeing to subscribe monthly for the services provided by the Service Provider and contracting to remain a subscriber for the minimum period of the contract ("Minimum Period").
-Once you have completed the minimum number of Direct Debit payments we will automatically continue to collect the agreed Direct Debit payment amount on the frequency chosen at the time of setting up the Direct Debit Instruction. Your contract will continue until terminated in accordance with these provisions.
-You may cancel the automatic renewal of this contract at any time by providing at least 1 Months notice in writing or by e-mail (email@example.com..uk) to the Service Provider or to DFC.
COOLING OFF PERIOD
-This contract commences once you have indicated your acceptance in the Declaration section of this contract. You have 14 full days after signup to cancel this contract for any reason. To exercise this right, you must inform us of this by post, email or telephone using the details provided. Alternatively, you can notify DFC in writing or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.. If you exercise this right to cancel, we will reimburse you all joining and subscription fee payments received from you using the same means of payment you used for the initial transaction. If you have used the service before requesting to cancel, then we will reduce your subscription fee refund by a pro rata amount equal to the number of days from signup to the date cancellation was requested.
-Your subscription starts immediately.
-You will be entitled to all the rights and privileges extended to you for the type of subscription chosen.
TERMINATION OF SERVICE, LIMITED RIGHTS TO CANCEL
-During the Minimum Period you may cancel the contract only:
1. If we fail to maintain the standard of service you would reasonably expect.
2. If we alter the operating hours of the services unreasonably resulting in you being subsequently being unable to access the services.
3. If you develop a medical condition which prevents you from using the services on an ongoing basis. An appropriate medical practitioner must provide written evidence that this is so. *
4. If you move away from the area by a distance which we consider, at our sole discretion, to be too far to travel to the services for regular use. We shall require evidence that such a move has taken place. *
5. If you lose your employment and are subsequently unable to keep up your repayments under this contract. You must produce documentary evidence and we may, at our discretion, suspend your payments for two months. We will then review your financial situation with you. *
6. If you become pregnant. You must produce documentary evidence and we may, at our discretion, suspend payments for three months. We will then review your situation with you. *
PLEASE NOTE: points 3-6 require documentation, this can only be accepted from the date of receipt.
TERMINATION PAYMENT FOR EARLY CANCELLATION
-If you cancel your subscription during the Minimum Period, other than in the circumstances set out above, we shall be entitled to a termination payment ("Termination Payment").
-The Termination Payment will be the total of:
1. Any arrears;
2. Any accumulated late payment charges that have been or will be incurred; and
3. The monthly subscriptions that would otherwise have fallen due before the end of the Minimum Period.
-You will be given credit for early payment, and this will be in the form of a discount applied against the total that you have to pay. For details of how the discount is calculated, please contact DFC.
-If you miss two payments, you will be deemed to have breached your contract.
GIVING NOTICE TO CANCEL
-DFC will continue to collect your monthly subscription after the Minimum Period. Should you not wish to continue subscribing after the Minimum Period, you must give notice to cancel the contract at least 1 calendar month before the final payment of the minimum period. If you wish to cancel the contract at any time after the Minimum Period, you must give at least 1 calendar months notice. The notice should be in writing or by e-mail (email@example.com) and sent to the Service Provider or DFC.
COLLECTING YOUR MONTHLY SUBSCRIPTIONS
-DFC is our agent for the collection of your monthly subscriptions. DFC will collect your subscription monthly in advance on our behalf by Direct Debit.
-If you fail to make a payment on time, you will incur the following charges:
1. Fail to pay the subscription on the due date £15.00.
2. Fail to pay the missed subscription within 7 days of the date of a reminder correspondence £30.00.
3. Fail to pay the arrears and accrued charges within 7 days of the date of a Final Notice £45.00.
- Late payment charges become payable immediately when they are incurred.
-Other Charges include:
1. Payment other than by Direct Debit £5.00.
2. Any cheque returned unpaid by your bank £10.00.
-DFC is also our agent for serving notice and collecting any Termination Payment which becomes due. Any notice served on you in accordance with the terms of this contract, will be deemed to have been delivered to you the next day after it is despatched by us, or our agent.
-If you would like to make a complaint with the service you have received from DFC, this should be in writing or by e-mail to (firstname.lastname@example.org). You may also request a copy of our complaints handling policy.
If you fail to pay any amount due under this agreement for a period of more than 30 days, then we may pass the debt to a third party company for collection. The costs incurred in employing the third party company will be borne by you including the costs in tracing you should you have changed address without telling us.
PRIVACY AND DATA PROTECTION
We take great care to ensure that any information we hold about you is kept safe and secure. This section explains how and why the Service Provider and DFC use your personal information.
The Service Provider and DFC need to collect and process personal information in order to be able to provide you with the services. The personal information required includes:
- your personal details (such as your name, address, date of birth, telephone number and email)
- financial information (such as bank account details)
- medical information (which is provided to the Service Provider)
- ethnicity (which is provided to the Service Provider, but which is completely optional)
Your details and financial information
DFC requires this information in order to collect and process payments. It will also use the information for related purposes, e.g. keeping records of financial transactions for a number of years (as required by law and the Direct Debit Indemnity) or to pursue unpaid debts. DFC may anonymise and aggregate data (so that it no longer identifies you) and then use it for analysis and reporting purposes. Some of the information DFC collects and processes will also be shared with the Service Provider (e.g. details of a missed payment)
In order to take out a subscription the Service Provider needs to know a bit about your health and any conditions or injuries you suffer from (this is to make sure that you can make use of the services safely and without risking injury). When subscribing via DFC's online portal you will be asked to provide certain sensitive personal data about your medical history. This information is provided on the basis of your consent, and you do not have to provide it. However, if you choose not to then the Service Provider won't be able to provide you with its services (e.g. gym membership).
If you do decide to provide this information it will be sent to the Service Provider (DFC will not store or have access to it). You can, of course, withdraw your consent to our using this sensitive personal data whenever you wish. However, by withdrawing your consent you will also be cancelling your contract with the Service Provider (as it will no longer be able to provide you with our services). If this cancellation takes place during the Minimum Period, you will be liable to make a Termination Payment (as set out above).
The Service Provider will also be provided with details of your ethnicity (if you choose to provide this information). for its own equality monitoring.. This information is completely optional and there is no need to provide it (and it you can ask for it to be deleted at any time without consequence to you).
For further information on how and why the Service Provider and DFC use your personal information, and details of your legal rights (including the right of access) please visit: Removed