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Mis-sold membership Nuffield

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Hi there

 

I'd be really grateful for some advice about my gym membership. I see there are lots of other posts on here about being mis-sold memberships, but can't find anything exactly like mine - although I'm sure they are there!

 

I signed up with Nuffield in May 2012 for a 12 month contract. I was concerned I might not use the membership as much as I hoped as I am a stay at home Mum with a young daughter (now 18 months), and I wasn't sure whether I would have the energy to attend (she's exhausting), whether she would be happy at the creche, how often I would be able to fit a visit to the gym in with her routine, etc. Because of all these unknowns, I specifically asked the man who sold it to me whether I'd be able to cancel if it didn't work out. He said yes, I could cancel any time. I mentioned I'd be going to New Zealand for over a month during the year, and he said I could freeze the membership during that time.

 

Great! I signed up. I didn't read the small-print as I assumed he was not lying.

 

I contacted Nuffield before going to NZ to freeze my membership, and was at first told they couldn't. They eventually allowed it because the original sales person had said I could.

 

Well, the membership has not worked out well with my daughter's routine. The creche is only open in the mornings, and she always has a morning nap. She finds it very difficult to sleep anywhere but at home and it is plain mean to take her to the creche during her nap-time - to her and the creche workers! The creche is open until 3 a couple of days a week but it's just too difficult to get there in time after lunch when it closes at 3. If it closed at 5 it would be much easier.

 

So I blithely went in to cancel, expecting to be able to do it with maybe a couple of months notice. I had lost my contract so could not read up on it. I was told a flat no. I was flabbergasted, as must have been clear in my face, and explained it was not what I had understood when I signed up. The receptionist said this was the only type of contract they had, and you couldn't get out of it. She offered to get a manager, but I'd been taking by surprise and didn't feel like having that conversation right then. I returned a couple of weeks later to push it further, but was told all they could do was freeze my account, which is absolutely no help as I don't want the membership ever now esp. as I feel I've been done over. The receptionist spoke to the manager on the phone but I did not speak to anyone higher level in person. She said there was nothing to be done, I would have to pay. The receptionist asked if I wanted to cancel from May (the end of the 12 months) to ensure no more money went out after that, and I said I may as well. She gave me the managers email address.

 

My husband and I are struggling financially on one income. I do work a few hours at the weekends to make ends meet, and almost every penny of that goes on a gym membership I'm not using. Our finances are very tight and we simply can't afford Nuffield any more. Please tell me there is a way out! I am quite convinced I've been mis-sold a membership. I feel the sales person said yes to everything I asked just to get me to sign up.

 

I'd like to write a strongly worded email to the manager, but I'm not really sure what I should say in it, whether I have a leg to stand on, or whether I should keep paying the gym. Payments go out at the start of every month, so the next one is due in a few weeks.

 

Sorry for rambling post. I'd appreciate links to any other threads on the same problem, or advice on what my next move should be.

 

Many thanks!

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Hi BD and welcome to CAG

 

This is a story we hear all the time. They tell you anything you need to hear so you sign up.

 

Then, when you try to cancel in accordance with what you were told when you signed up, they say you can't !

 

If you are struggling financially, cancel the DD mandate immediately.

 

Write to the gym and confirm, as briefly as you can, what you were told when you signed up (that you were told you could cancel with no problems). And tell them you have cancelled the DD mandate with immediate effect.

 

Let us know what you tell them and how they respond.

 

:-)


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Thanks for your response. I've now cancelled the DD - that felt good! :madgrin:

 

How is this for a letter?

 

Dear Sir / Madam

 

I have cancelled my direct debit to Nuffield with immediate effect as I was mis-sold my gym membership.

 

When I entered the contract I was told, when I specifically asked, that I would be able to cancel the membership whenever I liked with no questions asked. I would not have signed the contract without this assurance, and I believed your staff-member. When I recently tried to cancel as I no longer use the gym, I was told I could not cancel until May 2013.

 

Please regard this letter as notice of my membership cancellation.

 

Yours Sincerely

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Hi BD,

 

That looks fine.

 

And, of course, contact the bank direct and cancel the DD mandate immediately.

 

:-)


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Hi there

 

I've had a response to my letter of cancellation. It seems they are wilfully misunderstanding or ignoring what I said. They have emailed in response:

 

 

We have received your letter in regards to cancelling your membership here with us at Nuffield Health Wimbledon.

 

Having looked into your membership it would appear that you have opted for an off peak discounted monthly option, your commitment with which was until the 01/03/2013.

 

It would appear however that your membership was suspended for the months of April and May last year which would have pushed your commitment forward until you had seen out twelve full calendar months, which has meant that your membership is until the 01/05/2013.

 

Therefore as it stands we will be unable to cancel your membership for any earlier as you have agreed to the terms and conditions upon signing your agreement.

 

Please let me know if you have any further questions or if there is anything further I can do to assist you in the matter.

 

Kind regards,

 

NAME

Commercial Manager

 

How would be best to respond? Do I just reiterate what I said in my letter above?

 

Thanks in advance.

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Hi BD,

 

I's reply saying :-

 

Dear sir or madam,

 

I refer to your letter of xxdate.

 

You are either missing or deliberately avoiding the main point of my letter - namely, that I joined on the basis of the assurance given to me by your own staff member at the time.

 

As stated in my last letter to you, I was told I could cancel my membership at any time without problems or penalties.

 

I am aware of the High Court ruling in the case of The OFT v Ashbourne Management Services heard in 2011. In accordance with the opinion of Mr Justice Kitchin, I am willing to be reasonable and offer you one month's membership fee as reasonable compensation for the cancellation. My offer is in full and final settlement of all sums due regarding the membership.

 

My offer is made for 14 days, after which, I will withdraw it.

 

Accept my offer and I will pay this amount within 7 days to end the matter.

 

Reject my offer and I will pay you nothing more and will exercise my right to ignore further communication from you. I will also refer the matter to the OFT as a formal complaint about the way your staff act in order to sign up members, without regard for the consequences of giving misleading information.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

:wink:


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Eeek I'm not sure I have the courage to send that letter. I have to think it over and maybe write a watered down version if I decide it's too confrontational. Feels a bit like waving a red flag at a bull! Tempting but not in my usual nature.

 

What is their response likely to be to the above?

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Hi BD,

 

I appreciate the letter is more confrontational than you may be used to. However, it is based upon many years of experience working here on CAG helping others with gym m/ship cases.

 

The letter is factual and aims to show them that you :-

 

1. Know what you're talking about

 

2. Are prepared to argue your case, despite the fact that they've chosen to completely ignore the main point raised in your first letter.

 

If you approach them half-heartedly, they'll sense weakness and harass you until you pay what they want.

 

The gym's DCA won't think twice about making all manner of threats when it suits them.

 

But the choice is yours - just let us know what you write.

 

:-)


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On talking it over with my other half I think I'll send the letter as you've written it. Your points above are quite right, it's a good letter.

Thanks for your help. I'll be back to say how it goes down.

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Good !

 

I try not to go overboard and avoid being rude or using too much sarcasm.

 

Lets see how they respond...........

 

:wink:


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