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Hi,

Can someone please help me with cancelling memberships with Bannatynes which I feel I have been mis-sold.

The reason I feel this is because when we went in for the intial chat and look around, I specifically asked:

 

1. Are the childrens clubs full ? (this is a huge thing for me as I didnt want to be paying £12.50 per month for my 5yr old daughter is going to be alone)

I was told "yes, they are really popular"

 

2. Are there any inflatables in the pool for my child? I was told.... "no, but you are more than welcome to bring your own"

 

3. So, we can attend anytime at the weekends and bring my daughter swimming?... "yes, of course you can"

 

4. The supervised swim sessions which run twice a week, does this mean I can leave my 5yr old daughter there to be supervised while I work out?....... "yes, thats correct"

 

So, I agree to memberships for myself, my husband, my 16yr old daughter and my 5yr old daughter.

 

Since then it has become apparent that:

 

1. My 5yr old daughter is nearly alone in the kids classes 95% of the time.

2. No inflatables are allowed in the pool so all my 5yr old can do is hold onto the side for the whole time we are in the pool as its too deep for her to stand up and she cant swim.

3. No children are allowed in the gym before 2pm anyday of the week. My daughters went there one Sat morning and were told they are not allowed in.

4. Supervised swim means the child has to be accompanied with an adult if they cannot swim. This does not mean that there will be someone in the pool with them, it simply means there will be a personal trainer walking aorund the pool at these times.

 

I really feel I have been mis-sold these memberships, so I wrote a letter to Head Office explaining this and had a reply saying that "as a goodwill gesture" they will cancel my two daughters memberships but not mine and my husbands.

 

I replied stating that I only joined due to the childrens facitlites and that I was led to beleive that we could work out every day for an hour while my child was in the "popular" kids clubs which run for one hour per day and also we were of the opinion we could swim all day everyday at weekends if we wanted.

 

They have today replied saying that "members are given the opportunity to ask questions relating to the contract until they feel comfortable to the obligations that they are about to commit themselves. It is ultimately the responsibility of the member to ensure that they understand all terms relating to the membership"

 

So basically, I am determined to reply, but I need to word it correctly and would appreciate any help please.

Thank you

Jen

xx

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Hi Jen and welcome to CAG

 

I think you should continue your effort to cancel m/ships for you and your husband. Also, you should cancel the DD mandate by contacting your bank immediately. Otherwise, the gym will continue to take the DD payments.

 

Write to the gym by Recorded Delivery but adapt my suggestion as necessary to reflect your case :-

 

Dear sir or madam,

 

I refer to your letter of xxdate. Your offer to cancel my childrens' memberships but not mine and my husband's is totally useless to us and we reject it.

 

We joined the gym as a family because we wanted to use the facilities as a family, visiting together. My husband and I wanted to enjoy the facilities, knowing that our youngest daughter would be happy and safe.

 

You said in your last reply, "members are given the opportunity to ask questions relating to the contract until they feel comfortable to the obligations that they are about to commit themselves. It is ultimately the responsibility of the member to ensure that they understand all terms relating to the membership"

 

We asked specific questions about the gym facilities with regard to my 5 year old daughter and decided to join based upon the answers given to us by your staff.

 

After joining, it is clear that the answers given to us before we joined were wrong and misleading. I have already said in my previous letter what we were told, and what we have subsequently learned to be the truth.

 

In summary, it was our desire to visit the gym as a family but to leave our 5 year old swimming or in kids' clubs while we worked out separately. We joined only because we were given specific answers to our questions regarding the kid's clubs and children swimming.

 

As a direct result of your staff misinforming us, we signed as members and this is contrary to Section 5 (1) and (2) (b) of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 :-

 

Misleading actions

 

5.—(1) A commercial practice is a misleading action if it satisfies the conditions in either paragraph (2) or paragraph (3).

 

 

(2) A commercial practice satisfies the conditions of this paragraph—

 

 

(a)if it contains false information and is therefore untruthful in relation to any of the matters in paragraph (4) or if it or its overall presentation in any way deceives or is likely to deceive the average consumer in relation to any of the matters in that paragraph, even if the information is factually correct; and

(b)it causes or is likely to cause the average consumer to take a transactional decision he would not have taken otherwise.

 

Accordingly, I hereby cancel our membership on the basis of your failure to provide the services which we were promised.

 

I have now cancelled the Direct Debit mandate. This matter is clearly in dispute and you should not demand any further payments, nor cause any third party to make such demands.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

Let us know how they respond.

 

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Hi Jen,

 

You're welcome and keep us updated.

 

:-D

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Hi,

ok, Ive had a reply from Bannatynes, its quite long so I will copy it word for word:

 

We can confirm a thorough investigation has been completed in relation to your complaints and can confirm the following:

 

Prior to yourself and Rosie joining our Crewe health Club, you were invited to attend a childrens' swim session on Wed 11th April 2012. During the visit you made us aware that floats and games would be involved but during your visit, it was made clear that this was not the case. (not the case, yes, we did go for a swim before we joined but we were definetely not told we could not have inflatables and toys until after we joined)

 

We can also confirm that the supervised swim sessions are just that, swimming sessions which are supervised and chuildren are unable to swim should not attend for thier own safety. We do offer swimming lessons at our Crewe Health Club which you have previously been made aware of, which could help in resolving this situation (again, when we had our chat with the sales adviser, he did not tell us that the child would need to be able to swim when we mentioned it. I was told after we had joined and asked where the person was to supervise her in the pool on a particular day)

 

Joining members are provided with an avtivity timetable which clearly shows that children may only access the swimming area between 2pm and 7pm each day, this information was also provided to Derek Walker with the Kids Clubs times before he joined Rosie. We also confirmed this information with you on your first visit to our Crewe Health Club on 9th April 2012.

 

Unfortunately after questioning each member involved in the sale of the memberships no one claims to ahve advised that the childrens sessions are always full. (This I definetely dispute as this was definetely asked prior to joining as this is a huge issue for us) As our staff are aware, we have no way of confirming when a session will be full or empty as members book their children into these sessions as and when they require. (Children are requested to "book in" when they attend the classes so they wouldve know they are not well attended)

 

In conclusion we have answered the issues that you have raised against your claims that the membership was mis-sold and proved this is not the case. Your memberships will not be cancelled as you were legally and contrctually responsible for your membership fees each month for the minimum term of the membership agreement. Therefore please make a manual payment for Aug 2012 and reinstate your direct debits as soon as possible.

 

If payments continue not to be made then we will have no option but to raise invoices for the remaining contractual amounts and if need be persue this matter through the County Courts.

 

 

And thats that........ I hope you can help.

Jen

x

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Just one other thing about the 2pm admission times....

Following us joining the gym, my 16yr old daughter and 5yr old daughter went to the gym one Saturday at 1pm to go swimming (surely if we had been told they are not allowed in until 2pm prior to joining they wouldnt have made the effort to go there at that time on that particular day) and were told "They are not allowed on the premises before 2pm

 

Thank you so much for your help on this matter, its really annoying me that they are blatantly denying everfything they said now and making it out that we are lying when there simply is no way we wouldve joined if the correct terms had been explained to us in the neginning.

 

Thank you, you are a star xx

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Hi Jen,

 

I'm off out in a mo so will consider this more carefully later.

 

In the meantime, please confirm what YOU want to do about this in light of their response.

 

:wink:

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Hi Jen,

 

If you want to maintain your stance against the gym, I see no point in writing back to argue with the points they raise. This will only lead to another response from them saying basically the same stuff.

 

I think you should respond along the following lines :-

 

Dear sir or madam,

 

I refer to your letter of XXdate.

 

I see no point is continuing to argue with you over each and every disputed point.

 

I know exactly what I asked your staff about the facilities that were on offer. And I know exactly what responses I was given.

 

If your staff had told me, before I joined, the same as I was told afterwards, I would never have joined. Quite simply, your gym does not provide the facilities that I and my family require.

 

Accordingly, I maintain my previous stance, that our membership is cancelled because you are unable to provide the services which we were promised.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

:wink:

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi,

Hope you dont mind me returning for some more of your valuable advice?

Since writing to you last I have had another 2 letters from Bannatynes adamant that they dont feel any mis-selling is taking place and for that reason they want their money (as we now owe Augusts payment as direct debit was cancelled). I wrote back basically saying that I felt we would have to "agree to diagree" at this point but that I know what we were told before joining etc etc.

 

So Im just wondering what I do now to be honest, if they do send me invoices for the total amount what do i do? Do I respond with another letter or just not pay them?

 

Thank you

x

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Hi Jen,

 

If you've already replied to them, do nothing further for now.

 

They, or their DCA, will probably write further demanding the full years' fees plus some admin charges. But they have no powers to make you pay.

 

If they decide to take court action (which is unusual), you can defend. If they won a court case, you would have to pay whatever a judge decides is due and, if this is paid within 30 days, no CCJ will be registered against you.

 

Also, any admin fees they try to charge are unenforceable penalties and should not be awarded by a court.

 

But I must add that court action is very unusual and we would help you defend any such claim against you.

 

Let us know what they say if/when they contact you further.

 

:-)

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  • 2 months later...

Hello,

Well, I was hoping not to have to retrun here but unfortuntely Bannatynes have sent us invoices for the total amounts payable for the year, despite all my letters explaining I feel we were mis sold the memberships. So can I please ask what I should do now? I am not willing to pay and really thought they had accepted this as Ive not heard from them for ages, but obviously not :(

Thank you for your help

Jen

xx

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Hi Jen,

 

The fact that they sat on this for a further two months does not help their case. If they felt payments were due from you, they should really have pursued the matter promptly.

 

In any event, I suggest you respond to them saying :-

 

Dear sir or madam,

 

I refer to your letter of xxdate and have nothing to add to what I've stated in my previous letters to you.

 

If you make any further demand for payment, I will pass copies of all correspondence to the OFT who are currently looking into the collection activities of all gyms and their admin companies.

 

I reserve the right to ignore further demands from you.

 

If you consider your demands have merit, you will no doubt take court action. This will be vigorously defended.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

I can give you contact details so you can make a formal complaint to the OFT. Although they won't intervene in your personal case, your complaint will be logged alongside all information being considered by the OFT in their review of gym contracts and their admin company's collection activities.

 

Keep us informed please.

 

:wink:

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I think you should take slicks offer up and complain to the OFT. Gyms do IMHO bully people into paying when payments are not due, and the people who are strong enough to fight their bullying should also pass details of their complaint to the Office of Fair Trading, so at least they can see the unfairness of these gyms actions, and tighten up the rules and help people who are intimidated into just paying.

If in doubt, contact a qualified insured legal professional (or my wife... she knows EVERYTHING)

 

Or send a cheque or postal order payable to Reclaim the Right Ltd.

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Good Morning,

 

well, Bannatynes are still keeping up the fight. In reponse to the letter I sent the other day (the one I copied and pasted) I have now received a response already saying:

 

As you are aware, the contract is signed to say that you have read, understood and agreed to all the terms and conditions set within which states that membership is for a minimum of 12months with all monthly subscription fees being due irrespective of use or change to personal circumstances, the reamining period of which you have been invoiced, as per @Section 5, Paragraph (b).

 

Then they state that I owe £435.00 and my husband owes £653.27 (my husband and son on joint membership and this is the reason this amount is higher) both payable in the next 14days in order to prevent further action being taken.

 

Please help as I dont know how to make them understand that I am not willing to pay for a gym that didnt provide the services promised?

Thank you

xx

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Dear sir or madam,

 

You continue to address the wrong issue.

 

I am fully aware of what I signed and this case is not about me failing to pay when I didn't use the gym facilities. It is about me not paying because your gym failed to provide the services that your staff told me would be provided.

 

Your actions will now be formally reported to the OFT and I will not reply to any further letters or demands from you. Further demands will be regarded as harassment and I will make a formal complaint to the CEO about your conduct.

 

As I stated previously, if you believe your case has merit, take me to court.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

If you want the OFT contact info, let me know and I'll fwd it to you.

 

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I'll send the OFT contact details to you by PM.

 

It's not the OFT's remit to assist or comment on individual cases so they won't offer you any direct help. But your complaint will be taken into account if/when this gym's consumer dealings are looked at.

 

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Although I think slick132 has covered a lot here, I went to look around bannatynes gym before joining nuffield.

One issue we had was regarding kids in the pool and when there was kid free times were.

What they told us and what the truth was were completely different. In fact I have found this of most gyms. I found Esporta also lied to us while trying to get us to sign up, stating kids were only allowed in the pool at certains times, yet when we came to use the pool during our trial (which was in the specified kid free times), it was full of kids. When we questioned this, we were told by the person 'Oh, sorry it was only for certain days, today the times are different'.

 

All they seem to be interested in is getting you to sign on the dotted line.

 

Out of all the gyms, the one I found to be the best in terms of cancelling, doing as they say, etc.. was DW Sports,

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Hi,

Bannatynes are still keeping up the fight and have responded to my last letter with:

 

As previously advised we have answered the points raised and can find no evidence that your memberships were miss sold in anyway. Despite your contractual responsibilities you refuse payment and therefore we will continue our collection process as normal.

 

your account details have now been passed to our Legal Department in order for the outstanding contractual fees to be pursued further.

 

Do I now ignore this and await a letter from the collections dept?

 

Also, all correspondence has been sent to OFT as advised

 

Jennifer

x

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Hi Jennifer,

 

I'd ignore this and wait to see if they have any new or interesting to say next time.

 

Then I'd maybe respond once to their "Legal Dep't" saying I have nowt further to add, beyond what I've already said.

 

:wink:

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, here I am again..... Bannatynes still wont give up on this one, me and hubby have both received a "pre-court letter demanding payment within 7days due to us breaching the contract", if it is not receieved then court proceedings will begin.

Do I respond to this?

Thank you

x

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What a horrible bunch. A letter before action should mean that they will submit a claim. Does it say 'letter before action' at the top?

 

The fact that you have letters on file proving you have been disputing all along is very valuable imo.

 

Wait for slick or another adviser to come along.

 

It's you choice but if it was me, id love to get into a court battle with these muppets. In my opinion, this is a desperate attempt to get money off you. The debt is 1k and would cost a lot more than that to take you all the way to court. Wouldn't be surprised if they discontinue if you enter a defence and then they will owe you wasted costs.

CAG has helped me so much since I joined. Based on what I have learnt from others on here and my own experiences, I try to chip in and help others from time to time. I am not an expert and give my opinion only. Always check with the more experienced CAG members before making important decisions.

:-)

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Hi Jennifer,

 

It's just a letter, like so many others.

 

If they DO actually follow it up with court action, we'll deal with that as necessary at the time.

 

But it's by no means a certainty that they'll do this.

 

Keep us informed.

 

:wink:

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