In July of this year me and my partner felt we would like to switch to a new gym which was much better suited to our needs, from our then current gym Xercise4less. We know that when you cancel a membership there tends to be a contract to honour or a notice to fulfill, so we decided that we would not make the switch until payments had been sorted with Xercise4less. Money is tight and we are frugal, so we would not have two memberships running at the same time.
We went in to our local branch in St Helens and spoke to a young man on reception, who's etiquette left a lot to be decided, distracted by mates and such. To be fair to him they seemed short staffed. However, he categorically told us that as we had only signed a 12 month contract and had been there for 18 months, so we were free to cancel our membership and there was no notice or fee or anything. He took down our names and looked on the system and told us that as the cancellation would take a few minutes, he would go through it on the computer and we were free to go home.
We were a little surprised it was that easy, but he categorically told us the above facts so we had been given the green light to sign up with the new gym. We cancelled our direct debits the next day to be on the safe side, because we had heard stories about Xercise4less (Harlands) continuing to take payments.
So we have been at our new gym ever since, when out of the blue this morning, we both received texts telling us "You cancelled your direct debit, so your account has gone in to default". I enquired on the phone number given on the msg, and the agent told me that I was supposed to give them a months notice, so that Harlands could take a final payment of £9.99. As the DD was cancelled, I have incurred a £20 admin fee since. So I owe them £29.99.
I explained that their Xercise4less colleague had wrongly informed us of the terms, and had we known, we would have absolutely not joined the new gym till a month later. He agreed and put a notice on my account that I was wrongly informed and told me there was nothing he could do, but I needed to speak to the general manager of the St Helens branch to see if they could reason with me.
I rang up the branch and the man on the phone told me they had no general manager until October. I have to say the phone call was quite blunt and the staff in that gym are generally not the most professional people.
Not sure what to do next then. I have to admit I hate these situations, I am not a confrontational type, I am very shy and I went in to the gym today for answers, but when I saw there was no staff on reception I bottled it.
Any help would be appreciated.