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Gym membership cancellation ***SUCCESS***

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Hi

 

Question 1.

I've just been looking at the sticky above (Sticky: Ashbourne Management Services Ltd - Contracts longer than 12 months(1 Viewing) ) which seems to say that all gym contacts over 12 months are unfair - is this the case ?

 

I ask because I was 'pressured' into signing an 18 month contract with my local gym (not AMSL).

 

Question 2.

I KNOW I should have read ALL the small print but there was so much of it!.............

 

I had to sign-up 'there and then' as it was (supposedly) the last day of the membership deal.

I specifically asked about suspending membership.

I was told it was possible with a doctors note (a condition I have met) - but no other conditions were mentioned..

Now that I need to do this, I discover that I have to pay an 'at-home' fee every month

I was not told about crucial points in the small print when I asked - if I had been I would not have signed up.

Since I did ask, do I have a complaint - or is it simply 'buyer-beware' ?

 

Thanks, H

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Hi Leicester and welcome to CAG

 

Can you tell us what gym this is and if there is any admin company that deals with m/ship matters.

 

Please also confirm :-

 

1. When you joined.

 

2. When you became unable to attend and told the gym.

 

3. Is the medical condition likely to continue for a while.

 

4. What's said on the contract about cancellation or suspension of m/ship on medical grounds.

 

5. What is the normal monthly fee.

 

6. What are you paying for the "at home" or suspended fee each month.

 

I think you should be able to cancel on the basis of the initial contract length but I'd like the other info so we can consider the matter fully.

 

:-)


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Thanks for swift reply.

 

When I left work in March 2011, I started playing badminton 2 or 3 times a week at Parklands Leisure Centre, in Oadby, Leicester. I was paying as I played (at group sessions )

The centre is run for the council by Harpersfitness (can't post url])

 

On Thursday 23 February 2012 I was cold-called by the membership ‘officer’ saying it would be cheaper for me to join and pay monthly. She said she couldn’t explain the deal over the telephone and that I would have to meet with her on Saturday 25th Feb if I wanted to get the deal as it was the last day of the deal (I found out later that it wasn’t). It is an 18 month contract.

 

At the meeting I specifically asked if it was possible to suspend membership if there was a medical reason. She said yes – with a medical ‘certificate’. She didn’t mention

a. that it was at the manager discretion

b. I had to give a full months notice (how is this possible with illness/ injury?) My bank (First Direct) said they can suspend DD in 24 hours (instantly if I requested it over the phone)

c. there would still be a monthly fee (OK – its only £5 a month BUT I get absolutely nothing for this).

Had I been told these facts (when I asked) I wouldn’t have joined.

 

I last played badminton on 6th June as I have developed Tennis Elbow in my playing arm. Physiotherapy didn’t help and after an MRI scan an Orthopaedic surgeon injected it (with steroid) on 24th August. The injection did not cure it and I have another appointment on 12 October. He may give another injection (with 6 weeks to see if it works) or recommend an operation with a recovery time of 3 months. Neither is guaranteed to fix the problem an allow me to play badminton.

 

My consultant sent me an email to print and take to Parklands “I can confirm that X is under my care with a tennis elbow. At present she is unable to play badminton and this will be the case for the foreseeable future.”

 

I was hoping for a fix that would allow me to return to badminton so I didn’t phone Parklands until 19th Sept. I was told to take in the medical certificate and they would suspend membership. No mention of any constraints. I took in the certificate on 20th Sept – again no mention of any constraints and plenty of time (I thought) to suspend the DD (starting with the Oct DD)

 

On 27th Sept (ie a whole week later) I received an email “I have received a request for freezing of your membership. Please can you confirm for what length of time this is required for? I can freeze for up to three months with this doctors note. Please note that to freeze your membership your direct debit reverts to £5.00 per month instead of your usual £24.99.”

 

I emailed to complain that this was not what I’d been told when I joined (at a prearranged meeting with the membership officer – not ‘any old’ member of staff who mightn’t be expected to know all the rules). They avoid commenting on this verbal ‘agreement’ (neither denying or accepting it) and simply emailed back that I’d signed accepting the terms and conditions.

 

I accept that I did sign the agreement (I NEVER will again) but I think it is unfair. The small print is so small it’s hardly readable (much smaller than any other writing on the other side of the form). I did ask and wasn’t told information that was crucial to my decision to join.

Why does it take so long to suspend/amend the DD (they took the full Octobers amount) ? (10 days should be plenty)

Why do I have to pay a monthly fee when use of facilities is suspended?

 

I’d be grateful for any advice - I would happily cancel the contract if I could, as I believe it was mis-sold to me.

 

Thanks in advance, H

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Hi LH,

 

The summarised answers to my Q's above are :-

 

The gym is Parklands Leisure Centre, Leicester, run by Harpers Fitness

 

1. Joined on 25/2/12.

2. Last used the gym on 6/6/12 and took Dr's Cert to gym on 20/9/12.

3. Condition likely to continue for the foreseeable future.

4. You didn't confirm above what the contract says about cancelling although the gym has said you can freeze the m/ship for 3 months with a Dr's Cert. I'd be interested to know what the contract says about cancelling on medical grounds.

5. £24.99 pm.

6. £5 pm.

 

I think you have good grounds to cancel the m/ship agreement on health grounds, on the basis that your condition has been ongoing since June and is not likely to be resolved in the foreseeable future according to your Consultant.

 

However, I think your best course is to cancel on the basis of the initial m/ship period exceeding 12 months. Cancel the DD mandate via your bank to avoid any further pay'ts being taken. I suggest a letter to Parklands (or to Harpers if they have been dealing with the matter) as follows :-

 

Dear sir or madam,

 

Membership at Parklands Leisure Centre, Leicester

 

I refer to my membership which started on 25th February 2012 with an initial minimum period of 18 months. The membership is currently suspended due to an ongoing medical condition which will continue for the foreseeable future.

 

I have no wish to continue paying £5 a month for not using the gym and assume this will go back to £24.99 a month after 3 months suspension.

 

I therefore cancel the membership with immediate effect and have cancelled my Direct Debit mandate.

 

Although you may suggest I should continue with the membership, suspended or at full price, I will not on the basis that the initial contract period was in excess of 12 months.

 

Following the High Court ruling made against Ashbourne Management Services Ltd on 27th May 2011, Mr Justice Kitchin issued a Penal Notice on 12th August 2011 to AMSL which included the following terms :-

 

"Minimum terms [membership periods] in new contracts should not exceed 12 months; if they do, the member will not be bound by any minimum membership period and will be free to bring the agreement to an end at any time."

 

The court case was specifically against AMSL but, because it was a High Court ruling, it sets a precedent that can be applied to similar situations.

 

Accordingly, I now exercise my right to cancel with immediate effect.

 

If you make any further demands, charge any admin fees (which are unenforceable penalties) or pass the matter on for collection by an admin company or debt collector, I will report you to the OFT who are currently investigating gyms and their admin companies.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

Send the letter off by Rec'd Del'y and keep the receipt. Let us know how they reply.

 

:wink:

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Thanks for reply. Its my birthday today so doing more fun stuff than dealing with them!

Will sort it tomorrow and reply more fully to you.

Many thanks, H

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Hi Leicester H and many happy returns. :whoo:

 

Have a Fab Day and we'll deal with this when you're ready.

 

:-)


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Hi,

 

More info as promised.

The T&Cs state

"8. At home membership.

The at home membership allows you to suspend full membership provided that this is due to illness, injury or pregnancy and is at the managers discretion. A payment of £5 per member per month is payable when activated. The at home option can only be considered if you give us at least 1 months notice in writing before it is required."

No mention of the 3 months referred to in the email.

 

I can't see anything about cancelling on ground of illness - the only things about termination are

a. within the first 10 days

b. "You may terminate your monthly membership on giving 1 months notice of termination in writing to the Harpers facility at which you joined as a member such notice to begin from the end of the month in which the written notice is given"

- not sure how this works with the "In signing below I accept that I have read, understood, and agree that I am entering a 18 month contract as detailed on the reverse of this form." ??

- I can't see anything about 18 months on the reverse of the form

On front of form it does say "Active 18 M Min Cont P R £24.99"

 

I assume none of this alters the advice given above ?

 

Many thanks, H

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Hi LH,

 

So it looks like the "freeze" of 3 months may be what the manager, at his his discretion, has decided is appropriate based upon the Dr's Cert that you sent in. That could be extended, depending on what you send the manager as further proof of any ongoing condition, but again at the mgr's discretion.

 

In any event, I'm now happy that you can send off the draft letter above without alteration.

 

See what comes back.

 

:-)


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Hi

Letter sent last friday (recorded delivery) - simply cut&pasted your suggested text (thanks)

Am having Operation on elbow tomorrow so will be 'off-line' for a few days but I will let you know if/when I hear anything.

Haven't cancelled DD yet but can do instantly.

Thanks for all your help, H

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Hi LH,

 

I suggest you cancel the DD immediately, as per post #4 above.

 

Hope the elbow op goes well for you.

 

See you when you're back up and running (as it were) !!

 

:-)


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Hi

cancelled DD.

Sent letter Recorded 1st class - checked after 2 weeks if it had been delivered and signed for - post office have no record of trying to delivery it and don't consider it to be lost until 15 working days after the expected delivery date!

So printed duplicate and got friend to hand in to gym.

Later that day, they phoned to say they'd cancelled the contract !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I asked for written confirmation which they sent.

 

So am very pleased - when arm more better and I'm more 'with-it' I shall be making a small donation to this site as a thank you so that you can continue to help people caught out unfairly.

 

THANKS so much for your help, H

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PS

Wanted to edit title to include "RESULT" but I can't see an edit button ?? (is it because I am a new user??).

If someone else can edit it appropriately, please do so.

H

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Hi Leicester and thanks for the update.

 

Congrats on your result. :whoo:

 

Title changed to reflect your win (only Site Team can do it).

 

Your site donation will be much appreciated and help us stay here for consumers.

 

:-)


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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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