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Hi,

I decided to join a gym and when i looked around it had all the facilities that i required. the steam/sauna room was my main reason for joining and i was asked to sign a direct debt but no contract was mentioned.

 

The steam room broke down and there was never any hot water in the showers so i therefore asked them how i would go about cancelling my direct debt without incurring any charges they told me to give one months notice! i did this and now i have threatening letters from their debt collectors.

 

I sent them a recent letter which i will post below and i have just recieved a letter back not replying to my letter but just low and behold a copy of a contract that i signed that i assumed was my direct debit?

they have not written any reply to any of my letter just referring to the contract and i must pay the difference of the year with charges.

 

can anyone help please?

many thanks

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letter i sent.....I am writing to you with reference to your recent letter and to inform you that I shall not be paying the sum that you require as it is clearly unjustified for the following reasons;

• When I joined the academy I was told by the receptionist that there were no terms or contract limits. I have on several occasions visited and telephoned the Academy and they still confirm this.

• The only thing I was asked to sign was a direct debit and as I am intellectually illiterate I took the word of the receptionist that this was true.

• When I asked on two occasions how much notice was required to cancel my direct debt I was informed that to give a months notice would be suffice to not incur any extra charges. I followed this procedure as requested.

• The reasons for not attending the gym any longer were due to the sauna being out of service for a minimum of 3 months whilst I was still attending the gym.

• I have since been back to the gym and the sauna is still out of order and has been since I left the gym approximately 6 months ago and I was informed that it will not be put back into service due to licensing laws? It was getting fixed? There was no funding to get it fixed? And several other excuses!

• One of the main reasons for me going to this particular gym was due to the sauna and personally I feel that maybe you was not offering me the service that I was paying my direct debit for whilst the sauna was all or none of the above?

 

I would like this letter to be taken as serious as the threatening letters that your company are sending me and if this matter is not resolved immediately then I have no option but to let a magistrate make a decision.

 

Yours sincerely

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If the Direct Debit was actually an application for membership combined, then intellectually illiterate or not, you signed it and will be bound by its terms and conditions. You cannot and should never assume what anyone says is gospel, especially if you have to sign something. Providing you are over 18 (and you don;t have to be in sound mind) toy will find it impossible to challenge its validity on the basis you didn't understand it.

 

I'd also add setting up a Direct Debit also was a flawed idea - if it was the same amount each month, then a Standing Order was the way to go.

 

Whilst there are facilities and equipment that make you want to join the 'club' the lack of the provision of any of them is usually not a reason to cancel, and will usually be referred to in the T&Cs. You might be able to agree a suspension of your membership until the facilities you want are restored (so you don;t lose out), but if they stoop this low to mislead people into joining, I can guess what their response will be! Good luck!

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I'd say you may have an argument for being misled. The posting below has a link to the OFT guidelines for health & fitness clubs.

 

They are well worth a read and may be something you can quote to the Health Club in your dispute or even threaten to report them.

 

http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/legal-issues/173689-gym-membership.html#post1882183

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When it comes down to 'being misled' it is not sufficient to assert this without proof. A signed contract that states Terms of Membership along with a DD mandate would show where the misunderstanding arose, and I'm unaware of any successful challenge where the applicant has actually agreed to terms and signed acceptance of same.

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When it comes down to 'being misled' it is not sufficient to assert this without proof. A signed contract that states Terms of Membership along with a DD mandate would show where the misunderstanding arose, and I'm unaware of any successful challenge where the applicant has actually agreed to terms and signed acceptance of same.

 

I believe there are other issues involved here as well which may involve the suppliers non delivery of contracted services etc.

 

I would start looking at the contract terms very carefully and cross check with the OFT guide. To quote just a few things from the OFT guidelines on Health clubs :-

 

The following are examples of unfair exclusion and limitation terms:

4.‘The company will use its best endeavours to ensure that all equipment & machines

are maintained in full working order but the company shall be under no liability to

the member in respect of any failure or breakdown of any equipment, machinery or

service & such failure or breakdown shall not relieve the member of the obligation

to fulfil the payment terms as agreed above’.

 

2.4 ‘No Refund’ terms are likely to be considered

unfair, as they deny the member the right to

a refund if the club is in breach of contract. It

may be fair to refuse members a full refund

in circumstances where they simply do not

wish to attend any more. But if they cancel

their membership because, for example, the club is unhygienic or unsafe, then they

should be entitled to a pro rata refund. Likewise, we take the view that members

should be entitled to a refund if the club suspends or cancels membership

unreasonably. See also our views on Minimum Membership Periods at Part III.

 

4.2 Terms that deprive members of prepayments when they cancel should recognise

their basic right to cancel the contract if the club is in serious default. Terms that do

not recognise this are likely to be considered unfair. Where the member cancels with

justification, i.e when the club is at serious fault and the member has not received

anything of value, he may well be entitled to a full refund of any prepayments and

compensation as well. A term penalising member cancellations in any circumstances,

whether by loss of deposit or other means, is open to objection on this basis.

Please note that the right to reproduce any part of any post I make on this forum is restricted under copyright law and litigation privilege

 

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You may wish to consider a follow up letter, quoting the OFT guide on Health and fitness clubs and threaten to report the club to the OFT and Trading Standards if they don't come to a compromise / refund etc......

Please note that the right to reproduce any part of any post I make on this forum is restricted under copyright law and litigation privilege

 

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Hi Corcorans,

 

While you say you signed the DD, you don't say if you think you may have also signed a contact.

 

As they are demanding money from you, write and ask for a copy of any contract which they say you've signed and which compels you to pay.

 

In the letter to them, mention that the main service for which you joined, ie the sauna, has been and is likely to remain unavailable. It is for this reason that you decided to cease using their facilities. Also mention the disfuntional showers.

 

If the Sauna and showers are not functioning properly, you should be able to cancel as they have failed to provide basic services which were previously available.

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Hi all,

 

will post up the contract asap, when you look at it you will see that the date i signed it was 9/2/08, but they dated it the day before?? also the 12 month contract could have actually been put in at anytime?

 

thanks for all your comments will await any replies before i send off

any reply

 

thanks

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did you notice they "countersigned it" the day before you signed it ?

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yes but only notice it when they sent me the copy two days ago.

I was handed the form empty and just filled in my direct debit details and only my name and address.

 

the "MEMBERSHIP TYPE AND PERIOD DETAILS" where obviously filled in after I left the form with her.

 

that is why i thought that it was a direct debt form only.

 

thanks

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You left yourself open to trouble in signing this before they'd entered all the details on it. How can you prove what was entered before or after you signed.

 

My suggestion is to accept that you signed for the year, but to refuse to continue to pay on the basis of their clear failure to provide the services for which you joined.

 

Write to the DCA (which one is it) confirming that you will pay them no more, any why.

 

Tell them they are welcome to take you to court over this, where you will take the opportunity to vigorously defend your position and counterclaim for any fees paid when the sauna, etc was not working.

Edited by slick132
typo

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There's no template for this so try this......

 

Dear sir or madam,

 

I refer to your demand for payment dated xx and must confirm that I owe no such debt to your company.

 

When I signed the direct debit on joining the gym, the contract (which has only been sent to me this month) was blank. I was told by your staff to complete the DD details. I was foolish to sign the blank form but was assured by your staff at the time that I was only required to give one month's notice to cancel and there would be no cancellation penalty.

 

Details about membership duration, etc were added after I'd signed but, given the reassurance from your staff, I was comfortable with joining. You will note the discrepancy in the dates where I and your staff signed on the contract.

 

The main reason for my cancelling membership and stopping DD payments was the withdrawal of the sauna facility, which was the main reason for choosing your gym. At first, I was told the facility would be reinstated, but later learned that the facility would remain unavailable.

 

There were also problems with the showers having no hot water.

 

I have now taken advice n this matter and, if you wish to take this matter to court, please do so. I will vigorously defend my case and will counterclaim for the return of monies paid.

 

You should be aware that the OFT has investigated gyms with regard to difficulties in cancelling, unfair terms and conditions in contacts, etc.

 

I consider the withdrawal of the sauna facility to be a significant breach of contract on your part, and will pay you no more money.

I require from you within 14 days written confirmation that:-

 

1. You will cease all collection activity in this matter.

 

2. I owe you no more money.

 

3. You agree the matter is closed.

 

If you continue to demand payments, I will make a formal complaint to local Trading Standards citing Sections 2.8(i) and 2.8(k) of the OFT Debt Collection Guidelines.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

Amend the letter as necessary and enter any dates to help it make sense.

 

Send it Recorded Del'y or get (free) proof of posting at the PO.

Edited by slick132
last sentence

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I hope it's better than yesterday.

 

I'd done the whole letter above, decided to make it a different colour, and deleted it irretrievably. :eek:

 

So had to start again from scratch. :mad:

 

Hope it gets you a result.

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  • 4 months later...

We confirm after discussion with Harlands, whom advise, that all Clubs have had sufficient training in completing the Agreements, and fail to see how anybody would complete their Direct Debit details, and then sign, a blank agreement, agreeing that they have read the Terms and Conditions, the club are aware that they give all members a copy of the Membership agreement immediately after signing.

We have no doubt as to the validity of this agreement

We confirm that this debt is valid and due, the best we can offer to you would be a settlement figure payable in one payment of £185.00 payable within the next 10 days, if you do not wish to take the settlement figure up, please call us on 01444449165, whereby we will be happy to accept monthly instalment payments, however there will be a small handling charge each month for this facility.

Yours sincerely

For Credit Resolution Services

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Dear sir or madam,

I refer to your letter of xxdate.

I note your opinion about the circumstances of my signing the agreement and can only reiterate my previous comments which you will find in my last letter to you.

You have completely ignored my remarks about the failure of the gym to provide adequate facilities including the sauna and hot showers.

As I said before, if you wish to take the matter to court, please do so and I will defend and counterclaim vigorously.

This matter is clearly In Dispute and any further collection activity taken, by you or any other party, will be reported to the FOS for breach of OFT Debt Collection Guidelines.

My last letter (copy enclosed for reference) sets out how I require you to resolve this matter.

I require your reply within 14 days, after which I will consider the matter closed.

Yours faithfully,

:)

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Also Corcorans,

Have you read here - The Consumer Forums - Announcements in Forum : Barclaycard

 

:cool:

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