There is no time limit on disputing the agreement.You are in dispute with the gym and the DCA have no legal right to pursue a disputed account. This is clearly detailed on many posts. Do not allow these people to bully and intimidate you with their deceit.
My suggestion would be to take the cancellation on medical grounds route. If I were you I'd suggest that you go to your doctor and get a letter from him/her detailing the injury you received and that he/she advised that you refrain from exercise. Inform the DCA that the account is in dispute on medical grounds and that YOU WILL NOT be dealing with them and consequently will not be making any payments accordingly while in dispute.
Contact your local Trading Standards Officer at your local council house and get them involved in getting these clowns to accept that you will not be intimidated and harassed into paying punitive charges and that you fully intend to contest any and all charges related to your account.
In the interim, adapt this letter to suit yourself and send them it:
Address of the loan company
Debt Collection Agency
Date (insert today’s date)
By recorded delivery
Reference or Account No: (Insert their reference or account number; this will be on the letter they have sent you)
I / We refer to your contact regarding the above account which you claim I / we owe. I / We am / are informing you that I/we do not recognise the debt and therefore it is DISPUTED.
Under the Office of Fair Trading Debt Collection Guidance (updated October 2011) it states that it is unfair to send demands for payment to an individual when it is uncertain that they are the debtor in question.
I / We would also remind you that the OFT states under their Guidance that it is ‘unfair’ to pursue third parties for payment when they are not liable and that it is deceptive and unfair in not ceasing collection activity whilst investigating a reasonably queried or disputed debt.
Furthermore, if you ignore and/or disregard claims that debts have been settled or are ‘disputed’ and continue to make unjustified demands for payment then this can amount to physical or psychological harassment, as detailed in the OFT Guidance.
I / We am / are also familiar with Section 40 of the Administration of Justice Act.
As I / we dispute this debt you refer to then I / we trust you will make no further contact unless you can satisfy me / us that this debt exists and that I / we am / are liable.
If you subsequently cannot prove I /we owe this debt and if you continue to act in this irresponsible and unprofessional way then I / we will have no other alternative than to report you to Trading Standards and the Office of Fair Trading. I / we will also lodge a complaint with the Financial Ombudsman Service and your trade association, if appropriate, the Credit Services Association.
If I / we receive any communication from a / another debt collection agency then it will be evident that you have sold this debt on with the knowledge that it is disputed. Should this occur then I / we will report you to the government bodies and trade association detailed above.
I / We now await written confirmation that this matter is now closed, you are not to contact me / us by telephone, instead by letter only.
I / We look forward to your reply by return.
(Insert your signature)
(Insert your name)
You now need to post this letter if you send it recorded delivery to guarantee postage then you can trace the letter at the following website:
Remember to change all the colours in this letter to black and delete anything that is not needed before printing and sending. Check the I/We & me/us & a /another
Time to call their bluff, in my opinion.