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council gym / harlands collection / need advice please


midebt
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hi there...

me and hubby have 3mths each left on a council gym membership @£25.95 p.m

after that - we can cancel.

 

however we are are financially a bit stuck and certainly cannot afford these last 3 payments each .= £155.70

and the d/debit was due on the 1st jan 2011 for the payment

so beacause there would not be enough cash in i cancelled the d/d ( both of them ) to avoid getting over drawn and charges etc etc

 

(we have not used the gym for at least 3 mths - with one thing or another - so even if we could pay at the end of the term we would cancel )

 

harlands collect the monies.

had 1st letter - requesting payment beacuase of failed d/ debit

 

been in touch with the gym ( membership dept ) and they suggest i request a freeze for 3 mths - but to do that i have to re-instate the d/debits - but the forms for freeze request have to be collected form the gym and sent to to the membership dept of the gym with reasons why etc etc....

 

ok things may be a teeny bit better in april - not to say that i would prefer not to have to pay the gym and pay other more important bills.....

 

can u please give me some advise on what i could do - am i really tied in for the last 3 mths and have to pay

 

thanks

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Hi mid

 

If there specific circumstances such as redundancy, medical problems etc. I would send them a copy of a redundancy letter or doctors letter etc. Send it Recorded and explain that

it's beyond your control. Some gyms send a letter confirming last payment and end of membership.

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Hi Midebt,

 

If you are short of money and have more important debts, cancellingl the DD was probably the best thing for now. This is far better than going o/drawn at the bank and getting hit by their bank charges. Ignore Harlands just now and certainly don't reinstate the DD for them. I you want, you can tell them you are suffering hardship and will resume payments when you can.

 

Next, you should find a copy of one of the membership agreements and put a copy of it here on your thread, after hiding your personal data. See here about scanning the document - http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/welcome-consumer-forums/107001-how-do-i-dummies.html If you don't have a copy

 

If you don't have copies of the m/ship agreements, ask Harlands for these, as proof of their authority to seek payments.

 

Folks can then have a look and see if it looks legally binding. 8)

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this is it -

 

TERMS & CONDITIONS

PRINCIPLE TERMS

1. This agreement commences :· once you have signed

2. Your membership starts immediately.

3. You will be entitled to all the rights and privileges exercisable for the Type of Membership chosen.

4. You cannot transfer this agreement to anyone else.

FEES AND CHARGES

5. The Total first payment amount is due from you to us, is due immediately and is payable on the 1st Direct

Debit Payment Date. This amount is not refundable in any circumstances.

6. The Direct Debit Payment Amount is due from you to us. You are obligated to make the Minimum Number

of Direct Debit Payments stated with the first one being paid on the 1st Direct Debit Payment Date, the

second on the Second DD payment date and then every month thereafter. For the avoidance of doubt, you

are obligated to make every Direct Debit Payment regardless of non attendance, whatever the reason for

non attendance may be.

7. If you fail to pay any monies due under this agreement or if any Direct Debit is returned unpaid or any

cheque is returned unpaid or if any other form of payment is not honoured for whatever reason, you shall

pay us on demand an administration fee of £25.

8. You agree to advise us immediately of any change to the Members Details provided.

9. If you fail to pay any amount due under this agreement for a period of more than thirty days, then we may

pass the debt to a third party company for collection. The reasonable costs incurred in employing the third

party company will be borne by you including costs in tracing you should you have changed your address

without telling us.

RENEWAL

10. In order to extend your membership after completing the minimum number of Direct Debit payments, we will

automatically continue collecting the Direct Debit Payment Amount every month. Your membership will be

extended by one month each payment. Each payment made is not refundable under any circumstances.

This Renewal Direct Debit Payment Amount may only be amended if we advise you in writing giving 30

days notice.

Please note – If your membership included the benefit of a Free Period then we will stop making collections

during that Free Period and recommence making collections when this free period has finished.

11. During this Renewal Period the only way to cancel your membership is by cancelling your Direct Debit

Mandate directly with your Bank.

GENERAL TERMS

12. You agree to comply with the Rules of Membership which are displayed prominently in the Club and relate

to opening hours, use of facilities and your conduct. We may make reasonable changes to these Rules at

any time provided we give you advance notice of the change.

13. If we take no action or let you off any breach of this agreement or give you extra time to pay or comply, it

will not stop us enforcing the terms of this agreement strictly at a future date.

14. We may assign the benefit of this agreement and our rights thereunder to a third party on notice to you.

Your rights under this agreement will not be prejudiced.

15. This agreement is governed by English Law.

16. We may terminate this agreement with immediate effect on notice to you if you are in breach of the Clubs

Rules. In this event you will not be liable to pay any further Direct Debit Payments, provided such breach is

not deemed by us to have occurred primarily in order to qualify you for a refund.

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i have just rang harlands and spoke to someone - she says i have to go to the gym to apply for a freeze - there are no hardship cases....

 

 

''i asked her .......so if your in complete hardship and cannot afford the money to pay the fees you will see people go under in hardship and into debt'' ?

 

she replied.....'' yes''

 

with that i hung up....

 

 

going back to the t&c's

 

section 6 = the agreement is with oldham council gym and not harlands /was never informed that a 2nd party would be collectin monie via d/debit or otherwise - on the direct debit form it just states - pay oldham community leisure !!

Edited by midebt
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Hi Midebt,

 

In s.6, it says, " ..... You are obligated to make the Minimum Number of Direct Debit Payments stated ..... " but nowhere in the above terms is that minimum number defined.

 

Is the minimum number defined on the actual document that you signed.

 

8)

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yes its states overleaf 12 payments ( written on by the clerk )

so i reckon we gotta do the 12 right ?????

 

we can apply for a max 3 mth freeze - thats an option ?

but then i have to re-instate both d/debits ?

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There may be other aspects of the agreement that make it unenforceable. Read around other threads in this forum as there are many cases where a third party administrator is somehow involved.

 

I would not reinstate the DD anyway as they may then try and collect their "£25 admin fee", on top of the monthly m/ship fee. This admin fee is an unlawful penalty and is not enforceable at law.

 

You could go to Consumer Direct and ask if your case is at all similar to those being considered by the OFT regarding Ashbourne Management. Read the Stickies at the top of this forum for more info.

 

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You could of course send them a tenner and tell them that is all you can afford monthly and that they will receive payment of the same each month until either you are in gainfull employment or the bill is complete whichever comes first.

 

Just don't be intimidated by them.

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They will argue the point so don't make it an offer as such, send them a cheque or postal order and tell them that is all you can afford at present. As long as you keep ;up those payments and on time with the first payment, there isn't a lot they can do.

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Speak in Person to Gym Manager who has the Power to cancel any Direct Debit with Harlands . I had agreed to contract with Harlands but not signed agreemant , before the Direct debit was even starting I received Threats from this company . The Gym Manager phoned them with me present and cancelled it .

My advice is be Pushy . Harlands are mainly a Credit co and will use bailiffs to recover any debt they perceive owed

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Harlands are mainly a Credit co and will use bailiffs to recover any debt they perceive owed

 

Not strictly true. You would need a county court judgement against you before bailiffs were allowed onto the scene and even then only if you 'refused' to pay.

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ok this is where im up to now as of 15th jan....

 

on 5th jan i recieved a ltter from Harlands stating that the d/d had failed and thy require the payment of 1 mths gym membership + 20£ admin fee due to the unpaid amount for the january.

( i owe 3 mths left jan /feb / march )

 

thy say i have to ring them by 19th to discuss the '' payment of £44 which includes 1 mth + admin fee.....:evil:

 

i am able to pay 1 mth ( januarys) .....

 

so i will ring them but i will not reinstate any d/d - ---- im going to ask for the admin fee to be taken off and in due course will pay feb and march...and THEN close the gym membership

what do u reckon ??????

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If you can do that to get them out of your hair, then by all means do it.

 

The admin fee is just an arbitrary amount and not based on any costs incurred. Get that in first, 'if you withdraw the demand for an admin fee then I should be able to make the normal payments to clear the account'.

If they refuse to withdraw the admin charge, then I would go ahead with the £10 per month payment to them and just ignore any further empty threats or cleverly worded letters designed to intimidate you.

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Not strictly true. You would need a county court judgement against you before bailiffs were allowed onto the scene and even then only if you 'refused' to pay.

 

I was talking of final outcome after court . All this could be cut out if You Go to club Director or Manger in Person explain you situation and ask them to cancel Agreement , Of course there will some who want but most will listern to reason. This is a real problen nationwide and needs more exposure.

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thanks for above post ..i have spoken to the manager and was not interested in cancelling...im goingto write to head of leisure services...

but harlands have accepted my payment....and taken off the charge......so i will pay and just get rid of the contract in 2 mths

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Glad to hear this is now sorted.

 

Ensure you cancel the DD after you've made the last pay't.

 

Try and get Harlands to confirm, in writing, whatever agreement you have reached.

 

:-)

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