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Virgin Active/Arc debt


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Hello people, I've read a few threads about people who have been badly treated by these two companies after trying to cancel their membership after 12 months, etc.

 

However, my case is very different so I thought it was deserving of a new thread. I signed up to a 12-month contract with Virgin Active but quickly realised after the first two months that I wasn't going to get enough use out of the gym to warrant paying the 40 odd pound each month.

 

I asked a few people what to do and was basically given some pretty awful advice that I wouldn't be seriously chased if I just cancelled my direct debit and ignored any correspondence from Virgin.

 

I did so for a number of months and continued to do some when it was passed on to ARC debt collectors, believing it wouldn't be worth them taking me to court for the money I owe (which has risen to over £400).

 

However Arc now claim I will receive a court summons in ten days so I'm understandably worried about things at last! I know I'm in the wrong and basically want to know whether I've got a leg to stand on or not.

 

What are my options realistically? There's no way I can afford what they are asking so so should I offer a settlement payment? Or maybe a small monthly repayment? Or would me agreeing to return to the gym see them end the claim? Or is there a chance I can get away with it altogether?

 

As I say, I'm fully aware that I'm in the wrong and aren't expecting any sympathy but I would really appreciate some advice on my rights and where I stand.

 

Thanks in advance.

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Firstly, hindsight is a wonderful thing.

 

When you signed up for the Gym, you entered into a contract, Virgin are seekeing to enforce the terms of the agreement since you didn't follow the cancellation procedure correctly

 

The Debt collection agency has no right to apply its own fees to your debt, unless it is specifically included in the agreement that you signed when you entered the agreement.

 

The wording of their letter is designed to get you to respopnd and/or open a dialogue between the two of you.

 

Don't telephone these "people" it's not worth the stress.

 

you need to contact the DCA (in writing) and tell them to prove that a. the debt is yours

and b. that they have a right to be collecting the debt.

 

once they have provided you with this information you will be in a better position to see what to do next.

 

send all letters recorded (registered is better) retain copies and get proof of posting.

 

post any replies etc on here and we'll see what best can be done

Hope this helps

 

 

If you feel that this site has helped you in any way please leave a donation if you can afford to do so.

 

If you feel that have been helpful please feel free to tip the scales.

 

 

The large print giveth, but the small print taketh away. ~Tom Waits, Small Change

 

 

Please note: i am not a qualified lawyer, any advice is offered in good faith and is based on my own and others experiences and a penchant for research and a desire to help others to empower themselves

 

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Thanks for that spamheed.

 

Bizarrely, within ten minutes of me posting on here I actually received a phone call from Arc! It was the first time I'd spoken to them as they've obviously been ringing me regularly at home and I'm usually at work.

 

Anyway, I told them that I didn't have a copy of my signed contract and asked them to send me one out. Arc certainly haven't got that at the moment but they said they will 'try' to get it from the gym and send it to me as soon as possible.

 

I presume they cannot make me pay without this proof that I entered into a 12-month contract?

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without an agreement they have nothing to claim and since you didn't agree to a debt collector applying any charges, they cannot do so, regardless of what they tell you.

 

It's in the OFT guidelines as well, which are supposed to govern the way DCAs conduct their business.

 

I would reiterate, don't speak to them on the phone EVER, refuse to answer their security questions. Your verbal request for the agreement will more than likely be ignored, put it in writing and refer to the request made over the phone.

 

You could also contact (in writing) Virgin directly to establish the exact outstanding balance and see what the DCA have illegally applied to your account. if you were able to come to an agreement with Virgin to settle the account, so much the better. at least the DCA will end up with nothing

Hope this helps

 

 

If you feel that this site has helped you in any way please leave a donation if you can afford to do so.

 

If you feel that have been helpful please feel free to tip the scales.

 

 

The large print giveth, but the small print taketh away. ~Tom Waits, Small Change

 

 

Please note: i am not a qualified lawyer, any advice is offered in good faith and is based on my own and others experiences and a penchant for research and a desire to help others to empower themselves

 

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Thanks again for your help so far.

 

The money Arc are asking for is strange really. They claim my current arrears are £381.60 which amounts to the eight months I haven't paid for at £47.70pm.

 

However the total figure they claim I will be liable for is £513.45, which works out at 10.8 months...so where that figure has come from is anyones guess!

 

As for talking to them on the phone, I didn't know who it was until I had answered but the bloke I spoke to wasn't in any way rude or confrontational to be fair. I'll give them 10 days to send out my contract and then take your advice by requesting it in writing if I've heard nothing.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi all, sorry to bring this thread back to the top but they have now sent me a copy of my signed contract so I'm wondering if anyone can tell me what options are available to me.

 

What are the chances of them writing off the debt with a part payment? Will they only accept the entire amount or is there a chance of negotiating?

 

And as I genuinely can't afford to pay the full amount, can I offer to start paying it back on a reduced monthly rate?

 

Also, I think I've read somewhere that the gym may write off the debt if I take out another agreement with them, is that right? That certainly wouldn't be my preferred option but it could be worth considering.

 

Thanks in advance for any more help.

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  • 1 year later...
  • 7 months later...

I implore you all to write to BBC’s Watchdog and it could feature in an upcoming programme, particularly at the moment in the ‘fitness season’.

Go to bbc.co.uk/watchdog/gotastory/

Click on Subject “Sport, Leisure and Entertainment”, then sub category “Health clubs and leisure centres”.

This is what I wrote:

Virgin Active gyms partake in a very unfair practice in the membership contracts. One of their membership packages the “Diamond Membership” requires that you sign a 12 month rolling contract. Therefore if you do not cancel the membership by "the seventeenth day of the twelfth month”, then you are automatically entered into another 12 month contact. Virgin Active do not send a reminder at the end of each 12 month period. The cancellation fee is the remainder of your 12 month contact. Therefore I am in a situation where I have been a member of Virgin Active Health Club for nearly 7 years and will need to pay in excess of £700 to cancel my contract. Do watchdog feel this is fair or acceptable? I am not alone on this issue, a quick Google search brings up many forums, e.g. [i gave them a load or links]

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i didnt bother paying them had a bit of hassle with letters and the like but still didnt pay, not heard nowt for a few months , dont care really if i get a ccj , got no money so what the hell.

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