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  1. Contracts at Bannatyne Fitness, David Lloyd Leisure and Fitness First deemed 'unfair' by OFT Three of Britain's biggest gym chains have had to change their contracts to make it easier for people to cancel, after the Office of Fair Trading ruled their terms and practices were unfair. Bannatyne Fitness, David Lloyd Leisure and Fitness First have all been forced to change their contracts after they were found to be making it difficult or impossible for people who were injured or made redundant to exit their gym agreements early. Members of the gym groups are now able to cancel their contracts early should their circumstances change in a way that makes attendance at the gym difficult or unaffordable. The gym groups have also had to reduce the notice period needed to cancel contracts that are longer than one year, and will no longer be able to describe membership as being of a fixed duration if the contract automatically continues on a rolling basis after the initial membership period has expired. Bannatyne's was also singled out for chasing gym-goers with "misleading" debt collection letters that sometimes threatened recipients with what appeared to be official-looking court documents, or making other unsubstantiated claims about action that had been taken. It will now stop sending these letters and is reviewing its other debt collection letters. "Millions of people are members of gyms, and a membership contract can easily be a financial commitment of more than £500 per annum," said Cavendish Elithorn, senior director of the OFT's goods and consumer group. "We were concerned that contracts could unfairly lock people in if their circumstances changed, forcing them to continue paying even if they had lost their job. "We welcome these changes from Bannatyne's, David Lloyd and Fitness First. As well as making contract terms clearer, the revised contracts also grant members, and prospective members, more flexibility." The action taken against the three gym chains is part of an ongoing investigation the OFT started in January 2012, and stems from a court case involving Ashbourne Management Services, which draws up agreements and collects payments for gyms. The judge in that case concluded a contract was unfair if it ran for longer than 12 months and did not allow the consumer to cancel with 30 days' notice and a moderate penalty. The OFT is looking at gym contracts in light of this ruling. It confirmed it is continuing its investigation into some other companies, believed to include LA Fitness, and will provide an update in the next few weeks. In January 2012, LA Fitness caused a storm of protest after an article in the Guardian told the story of Hannah, a reader from Billericay in Essex, who was seven months pregnant and wrote to the paper after her husband lost his job, leaving the couple living on benefits. Hannah and her husband, who were about to move 12 miles away from their nearest gym, had been LA Fitness members for seven years and asked the gym chain to reconsider their two-year contract. But the gym insisted the couple pay the remaining 15 months, a total of £780. A protest by thousands on Twitter helped persuade the company to back down, and raised further questions about the fairness of long-term gym contracts. Some gym chains made changes to their contracts once the OFT investigation started. The watchdog closed its investigation into Virgin Active in April 2012 after concluding the gym chain was not using any unfair terms. However, Virgin did agree at the time to give members who lose their jobs longer to cancel their contracts, and reduced the notice period for former Esporta customers on two-year contracts following discussions with the OFT. A spokesperson for Bannatyne's said: "Bannatyne Health Clubs are uniformly operating under contracts that meet the OFT recommendations with regard to length of contracts and provisions relating to cancellation due to illness. "As a major national operator we have never used external debt collecting agencies and our contracts have never been greater than the 12-month maximum term proposed by the OFT." David Lloyd Leisure said: "Following extensive discussions with the OFT, DLL introduced improvements to the flexibility of its membership contract terms and conditions from December 2012. "Primarily, DLL simplified – and further clarified – the ability for members to join either with short- or longer-term commitments and to switch between the two, as well as expanding those circumstances in which membership can be suspended or ended." A Fitness First spokesman said: "We have happily accepted all recommendations from the OFT to make contract terms more transparent, allowing more flexibility for our members." Linl: http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2013/mar/08/gym-chains-forced-relax-terms-contract-oft
  2. My business just been thumped with a £625 bill for advertising I never knew I still had. Having received no reminders or invoices prior to receiving a "Notice of Proceedings" letter I've contacted the firm in question and they have said that it's because we didn't cancel our contract with them and that "it's in their terms and conditions". Having looked at their terms, yes it is there but they are asking for a 12month in-advance cancellation of any contract prior to it rolling over to a renewal. On the basis that the contract was only for 2 years surely 12 months cancellation is unfair!? ... especially when they never even gave us any reminder or even issued an invoice. I've tried reasoning with them on this but they're having no of it and are demanding their money. I cannot pay nor do I want this new contract. When I signed the agreement I asked them if there was anything I should know and they explained nothing ... surely this should have been pointed out to me. What can I do? Surely the Unfair Contract Terms Act would apply here in some form? It turns out that this company are pulling the same stunt with many people up and down the country.
  3. Hi, I wonder if someone can take a look at this. I requested the CCA from the DCA, and they sent me a copy of the application form. However, there were no T&C's and the creditor hasn't signed in the box. Is this enforceable? Thanks
  4. Just found this whilst browsing the web Mortgages - Legal Mortgage Deed Related information Challenging unfair terms in financial contracts Reporting unfair contract terms Changes made to contract terms See how to protect your finances Related links Consumer Direct Complaints about personal loans, hire purchase, credit cards and other credit products Financial Ombudsman Service The independent service for resolving disputes between consumers and financial firms London Scottish Mortgages We reviewed two terms in this contract. Term 1 What did we think was unfair? A term appeared to give the firm extensive freedom to impose charges on customers. It also said that customers would pay the cost of any enforcement proceedings. Why did we think it was unfair? The term appeared to allow unreasonable freedom to impose charges. It also appeared to make customers pay for enforcement proceedings even if they began because of the firm’s negligence, or the firm lost those proceedings. What has the firm done? The firm agreed to make the term more reasonable and reduce its freedom to impose charges on customers. Also, the firm will not pass on the costs of enforcement proceedings unless they are rightfully started. Old term 'You must pay on a full and unqualified indemnity basis all fees, expenses, taxes, liabilities and legal and other costs... in: (a) the preparation, completion, registration, administration, protection and enforcement (including the costs of any proceedings) of this mortgage…' New term 'You must pay on a full and unqualified indemnity basis all fees, expenses, taxes, liabilities and legal and other costs …reasonably incurred by the Lender in: (a) the preparation, completion, registration, administration, protection and rightful enforcement (including the costs of any proceedings) of this Mortgage…' Term 2 What did we think was unfair? In the mortgage terms and conditions there was a term stating that early repayment charges may be payable. There was no such term in the Legal Mortgage Deed. Why did we think it was unfair? Customers reading the Legal Mortgage Deed might think early repayment charges do not apply. What has the firm done? The Legal Mortgage Deed now includes a cross-referencing clause so customers know that terms covering early repayment charges are in the mortgage terms and conditions. New term 'Should you wish to pay the Secured Amounts early, the Lender has the right to make an early settlement charge. The charges that will apply are set out in the Offer and the terms that will apply in relation to early settlement are set out in clause 6 of the Loan Terms and Conditions.'
  5. Hi All, Getting a bit stressed on this one, seems like they always have the upper hand. I've posted bits about this in two other sections but I guess I need to put all the problems into one post and decide the best way forward. History: I have a car on HP. Broker put the deal together for the finance company in 2008. Within 14 days of signing the paperwork I noticed that the purchase price of the car was incorrect by £1300. It should have said £4200 but instead the agreement was set up for £5495. I raised the issue with the finance company but they said it's the brokers problem to solve. I've gone back and forth with the broker for the last 4 years with no success what so ever. I have an invoice for the car to prove the price should have been £4200. I recently attempted to send the car back (as you can with a HP agreement) but was told I would still have to pay the full amount of loan (another £4000 left to pay) as they had already terminated the agreement 2 years ago. I knew nothing about this. Never received a termination notice and I do not have a default on my credit file relating to any termination in the past. Plus I still have the car and receive letters from time to time reminding me of my right to terminate??? When I found out about the termination I went back to check the terms in the paperwork and discovered that when the broker emailed the agreement to me, they forgot to add 3 pages of the terms and conditions. So, I have a signed HP agreement which states the wrong purchase price by £1295 too much, 3 pages are missing from the terms and finally I have lost the option to give up the vehicle and walk away as the finance company claim they terminated 2 years ago even though I never received the termination notice or default notice nor did they report a default to the CRA's I am now expected to pay them another £4000 cash despite already handing over £7000 for a £4200 car. I have written to them recently to complain and they have subsequently wacked a default on my file as of the 9th September in retaliation. HELP!!!! Cheers, 1970.
  6. Hi I have a one year assured shorthold tenancy agreement. It contains no prohibition on keeping pets in the flat, as has been confirmed by my letting agent. However, I have received notice that, should I wish to renew the tenancy in July, the new lease agreement will contain such a prohibition. Are landlords/letting agents allowed to change terms and conditions other than rent on a renewal? Is there any legislation on this? Many thanks.
  7. I've used ParcelMonkey a few times recently; most recently I was arranging a return for the boss and PM came out cheapest on their bulk rate. No great surprise there, but what did pique my interest was the definition of 'perishable items' in their T&Cs -- as well as their no-compensation and prohibited items list. In their T&Cs (parcelmonkey.co.uk/terms-and-conditions) it reads (emphasis added): I couldn't believe it when I read that they'd defined designer clothing, apparel and accessories - over £250 in value, no less - as a perishable item! How is this justifiable? Subsequent Googling of other couriers' T&Cs with regards to perishable items yielded only the standard fare; foodstuffs, livestock or stuffed animals, etc. In addition, PM's "no-compensation carriage" list is bizarre (parcelmonkey.co.uk/prohibitedItems.php) and includes a mixture of reasonable and completely bizarre specifications with no promise of compensation should they be damaged. (Even if they're packaged correctly?!) This all strikes me as overly optimistic on their behalf and vastly overreaching; of course you have to consent to the T&Cs before you book a courier - so should a complaint ever arise over an item damaged or nondelivered they can just fold their arms and say "well, as you agreed, we hereby refer you to the response in Arkell v. Pressdram" and subsequently ignore you. Now whilst any company's entitled to state what it wishes or does not wish to carry on behalf of customers, if the individual couriers' own T&Cs are less restrictive than the third party broker (Parcel Monkey) would it not be arguable that their own T&Cs are unenforceable as the additional restrictions are arbitrary and, in some cases, punitive? I can't afford to send a laptop hoping it'll get broken to then file a test case, so I'm interested to hear what people think of all this from a purely academic standpoint. Are there any relevant precedents?
  8. Hiya, I apologise in advance if I am posting in the wrong thread. I'm just wondering... Does a company have to provide you with a copy of something proving you agreed to T&C's before you purchased something online if you request it or can they refuse to do this? Thanks in advance
  9. Not only will they take 20% of 'your' money plus another 20%vat on top of that, they spend some of that money they take from you paying Indian spammers to spam forums. They also conveniently do not have their Terms & Conditions showing saying there is a problem with the page but admin have been informed. Well admin must be on holiday because it's been like that for a long time. What have they to hide, what is in their T&C they don't want you to know. http://uknationalforums.com/showthread.php?1035-Claiming-Back-PPI
  10. Hi - if one had a secured loan with PPI would it be statute barred from claiming back the mis-sold PPI after 6 yrs (as claimed by the lender)? Also, amongst othe things wrong with it the cover is for only one person yet a joint loan - this is wrong isn't it?? thanks in advance:)
  11. Hi Can anyone let me know whether MBNA has broke credit agreement. Last year I opted out of an interest rate rise which froze account so that they could no longer increase my interest rate and I only pay off minimum amount every month. But it seems they have been taking minimum amount + £10 on top, this was never agreed with me. So question is have they broke terms of credit agreement, if so where do i stand. Thanks
  12. Hello, I'm looking for some advice please. Sorry in advance for what maybe quite long winded. I have a substantive contract with the NHS and I work Monday to Friday 9-5. I have worked for the NHS since 1997. I also have a zero hours contract with the county council for whom I receive a payment as long as I participate in a rota. The work I do for the council takes place during my NHS working hours. (I started this role about 3 years ago). The council pay my particular department to provide and manage this service. It is what is called a joint integrated service. Some of my colleagues that are on the rota are employed and paid by the council but are managed by the NHS so they have 1 contract of employment. I and 2 others have 2 contracts. The problem is that like everywhere, there are a lot of changes taking place and the main one is that they want the rota to cover 24 hours which will mean that I have to perform standby duties, and I have been told that I am required to accept this change. There logic is that there has been a consultation period and everybody's views have been heard and taken on board but the changes will take place. I have asked questions regarding pay and other issues which have not been answered. The management have informed us that they have clarified my contractual relationship with the council as they pay me separately for the extra role, they also ad that it has an 'Unequivocal' relationship with my wider contractual obligations with my main role (with the NHS). They make the point that if I withdraw from my extra role with the council that it would be seen as me withdrawing from my substantive role with the NHS. - Nowhere in my council contract does it talk about any links with my main job. It is very clear in the contract that it is a stand alone zero hours contract where I will receive a payment for participating in a rota during 9-5 Monday to Friday. What I have been told is that I can only leave the rota if they allow me to and only with good reason, and if I refuse to participate in the rota and accept the new working conditions this would affect my main employment. They say that they have received advice from a barrister regarding this! I'm not convinced they have a leg to stand on as they are essentially forcing a dramatic change on me which I don't seem to have much say in. Especially as I have not a lot of choice in the matter. Any ideas please?
  13. Hi, I was wondering if anyone could help understand the exact payment dates implied by the following clause in a contract: "Fees are monthly into your UK bank account five working days after the end of the pay period. The period is monthly from the first to the last day of each month." Does this mean that for July the pay date would be the 6th (Friday), or the 9th (Monday). Thanks in advance for your help, Sam
  14. Lloyds Banking has agreed terms to sell 630 of its branches to the Co-operative Group resulting in rival bidder NBNK Investments announcing plans to close. The pair have agreed on the commercial terms of the transaction and are now proceeding in exclusive talks for the sale of the Project Verde business. In an announcement on the London Stock Exchange yesterday, Lloyds announced it has ended talks with rival bidder NBNK, which will now be wound up. In a statement NBNK Investments said there were no other UK banking assets available which would meet the company’s objective and has begun to take steps to wind-up the company. Gary Hoffman, chief executive of NBNK Investments, says: “We are disappointed that the door has now been closed on this opportunity, with the result that we will be unable to deliver our vision of banking, bringing a vibrant new challenger to the high street, devoted to providing the level of service that customers want and deserve.” The Project Verde business has almost five million customers and represents 6 per cent of all bank branches in the UK. If combined with the Co-op business, it will have 7% of the total market for current accounts in the country. This deal for the Project Verde business is subject to agreeing satisfactory documentation, the approval of the respective boards of Lloyds and Co-op, and further discussions with the FSA, the Treasury and the European Commission. Co-op has been the preferred bidder for the Project Verde business for some time, however it lost its exclusivity agreement with Lloyds last month. The FSA has reportedly had concerns with the Co-op deal, citing the complex structure of the group. There have also been reports that the regulator may call for the Co-op to hold an additional £3bn of capital at group level. Lloyds’ branch disposal, named by the bank as ‘Project Verde’, is a requirement by the European Commission as part of Lloyds receiving state aid in 2008. Link: http://www.mortgagestrategy.co.uk/latest-news/lloyds-agrees-terms-with-co-op-for-630-branches-nbnk-set-to-close/1053756.article
  15. Ihave been advised by my bank that they have changed my overdraft terms and cut the amount I had by £250. well I was surprised to say the least and as I am getting married next month I was relying on this over draft facility. The bank said my spending pattern has caused this change . can anyone advise me what to do please?
  16. When you buy the cover, Is all the mumbo jumbo they staple to your receipt the complete T&C's ...? Could someone please point me to the FULL T&C's many thanks
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