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Priapus

Direct Debit Trouble

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Hey. First time poster, hope you guys might be able to offer some advice. I started a gym membership about a year and a half ago. The contract was a month to month rolling contract of £25 per month via direct debit. After about 6 months I moved away from the area and cancelled the direct debit at my bank. However, only recently (due to me being charged £76 for going over my overdraft limit) have I realized that the payments had been restarted and going out every month for almost a year. Now, I think this isn't cricket. However, I'm unsure whether due to me not informing the gym personally that I was cancelling my membership and only stopping the direct debit at the bank that I will be entitled to any sort of refund. The gym state that as I hadn't informed them that I was cancelling the membership they aren't liable. Are they legally allowed to restart a direct debit that I have cancelled without informing me?

 

Any advice would be very much appreciated as I'm completely penniless.

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Absolutely not. Under the direct debit guarantee you are entitled to a full and immediate refund by the bank if either the beneficiary or the bank makes a mistake, although getting a bank to admit this is like drawing blood from a stone.

 

How did you cancel the direct debit; in writing, on line, in the branch etc?

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Ah! That's very reassuring. I cancelled it in person at my local branch. What action should I take? Angry emails/letters to both bank and gym?

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Calm e-mail/letter to your bank requesting a full and immediate refund under the direct debit guarantee of all the amounts that have been wrongly taken.

 

Alternatively, go into the branch and ask them personally. They'll lie and tell you you have to take it up with the gym but just keep on at them to tell you what the direct debit guarantee says. The bit that you're interested in says "If an error is made by or your Bank or Building Society, you are guaranteed a full and immediate refund from your branch of the amount paid."

 

You may also be interested in the link below at the FOS site. The first case study appears to be very similar to your problem

 

http://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/publications/ombudsman-news/27/27-directdebit-guarantee.htm

Edited by bedlington83
Include link. Doh!

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Thankyou so much. You've really saved me a massive headache. I thought this was a lost cause. I (tragically) wasn't even aware there was a direct debit guarentee. I promise to make a kindly donation to this site if everything works out. Again, thankyou.

 

edit: Oh, and the bank did indeed say that it was the gym that was at fault, repeatedly telling me that it wasn't a bank error. Bloody Natwest...

Edited by Priapus

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