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I have had a similar experiance and was wondering if anybody could help me. I joined SimplyGym in swansea however I wasn't using it and conceeded that i couldnt cancel until my 12 month contract was up.I gave my notice and I paid my last installment (albeit a few days late), and now Harlands are chasing me for administration charges even though my contract is up and i am no longer a member of the gym. I have cancelled my direct debit and sent them an email which is below along with thier reply.

 

Dear sir or madam,

Simply Gym in Swansea

I refer to our discussion on 27/03/12 when you said that June 13th would be the last installment of my membership as I wished to cancel it. I have paid the £15.99 for this month, the authorization code for this is 561096. This payment was late and I have since received letters stating that I would have to pay administration charges amounting to £65.99. I have received legal advice and I am advised that you have no right to charge these disproportionately high administration fees as it is punitive and a penalty and thus unenforceable at common law.The amount of the admin charge exceeds any genuine pre-estimate of the damage which was suffered by the gym or Harland’s as a result of my bank not paying the £15.99 monthly fee.I have therefore cancelled the DD mandate with immediate effect.I wish you to give me written confirmation that you will not seek to charge such admin fees now or in the future.If you fail to give me such written confirmation and insist on charging unlawful penalties, then I suggest you are in breach of the agreement between us, due to your failure to conduct yourselves properly.

I look forward to your reply.

THIS WAS THIER RESPONSE:

 

Dear Mr Taylor,

 

Further to your email.

 

The agreement you have signed for is a minimum of 12 Direct Debit Payments of £15.99 per month. One of the terms of this agreement, which you have agreed to be bound by, is that "If you fail to pay any monies due under this agreement or if any Direct Debit is returned unpaid or if 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."

 

The administration charge of £25.00 is the amount deemed by our directors as representative of our costs in dealing with the administration involved with a missed or returned payment. When we submit for a payment by Direct Debit which is then returned, we are charged by the bank. This amount does not amount to £25.00, however, and we understand that the cost of the paper, envelope and franking of the default letters does not make up the entirety of the rest of the sum, however as a business we have to pay overheads for staff wages, whose employment would not otherwise be required if it were not for the missed or returned payments and furthermore pay overheads for office space and increased usage of utilities to accommodate these staff and the processes involved with the administration involved with missed or returned payments.

 

As a gesture of good will, half of the latest administration charge was removed. As the administration charges were added as per the terms and conditions of your contract, no further charges can or will be removed.

 

You are currently £37.50 in arrears, this is for administration charges incurred. These are due to be paid under the terms and conditions of your contract with Simply Gym, and we will continue to pursue for this payment.

 

Failure to make this payment by 19th July 2012 will result in administration charges being incurred and action being taken to recover the balance owed.

 

Payments can be made by cheque or postal order made payable to Harlands, or by calling the Harlands Helpline on 0871 25 0 24 23 to pay by credit/debit card.

 

We look forward to receiving your payment by the above date.

 

 

 

 

Do i have to pay these charges?

What should be my next move?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Hi Bledd and welcome to CAG

 

Harlands are a pain in the rear and amaze me by the time and trouble they spend writing BIG letters to folk explaining why they must pay this, or that.

 

Harlands are also fools who fail to grasp the simple principle that a penalty charge, however it is made up and whatever they call it, is not enforceable.

 

Our forum here is littered with cases where they continue to chase for payments and there are many examples of letters you can use. However, I think the best plan with Harlands and CRS (who pretend to be a DCA but really share the same offices !!) is to tell them the bottom line and then ignore them.

 

If they continue to pester with letters and/or calls, you can report them to the OFT.

 

Write to them now saying:-

 

I refer to your continuing demands for payment and must inform you that I will not be paying you another penny. I have paid all that I have to for the year's membership.

 

You are now seeking money from me because a payment was received late incurring admin fees, which are effectively penalty charges Accordingly, they are not enforceable in law.

 

Whether you call them admin fees, or whether you say they were included in the T&C's or whether you say the charges are justified and approved by your directors - all these points count for nothing. You are trying to charge penalty fees and I will not pay them.

 

Further letters from you or your DCA about the same subject may be ignored but will be kept to pass on to the OFT.

 

:-)

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Hi Bledd,

 

At worst, Harlands will argue the toss a couple of times before unleashing CRS, their pet DCA who actually operates from the next desk !!

 

Once they realise you'll not be bullied and intimidated, they'll reduce the frequency of their threat-o-grams.

 

They have no basis in law to take any court action to collect penalty charges and, despite all their threats, they'll not go near a court.

 

Nor will they post any adverse credit data about this.

 

:wink:

We could do with some help from you

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Hi Bledd,

 

At worst, Harlands will argue the toss a couple of times before unleashing CRS, their pet DCA who actually operates from the next desk !!

 

Once they realise you'll not be bullied and intimidated, they'll reduce the frequency of their threat-o-grams.

 

They have no basis in law to take any court action to collect penalty charges and, despite all their threats, they'll not go near a court.

 

Nor will they post any adverse credit data about this.

 

:wink:

 

I sent the reply you suggested. I have since had a letter in the post stating I have incurred a further £25 charge and that my membership agreement is legally binding (underlined & bold) , I risk court proceedings, and that I must still honour the terms of my contract even if I have stopped using the service.

 

Should I reply?

 

Continue to ignore?

 

It says I'm currently £62.50 in arrears.

 

Any help greatly appreciated.

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Hi Bledd,

 

Underlined And Bold - they sure know how to write scary letters !! :!: LoL

 

Another £25 admin charge that is NOT enforceable - why do they bother. :???:

 

Just ignore them now, but let us know if you get any more snot-o-grams.

 

:wink:

We could do with some help from you

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                                            Have we helped you ...?  Please Donate button to the Consumer Action Group

 

Please give something if you can. We all give our time free of charge but the site has bills to pay.

 

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Hi Bledd,

 

No, not personal experience but I've been assisting CAGgers in dealing with Harlands for the last few years here.

 

:wink:

We could do with some help from you

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EVERY POUND DONATED WILL HELP US TO KEEP HELPING OTHERS

 

                                            Have we helped you ...?  Please Donate button to the Consumer Action Group

 

Please give something if you can. We all give our time free of charge but the site has bills to pay.

 

Thanks !:-)

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