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Cancel Harlands & GYM membership -An epic journey about to start?


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Hiya, (Sorry for the long text, I apologise, I’m not strong in concise writing)

 

Where do I start. :)

on 01 February 2012 I joined a kickbox gym and signed a contract. (part of Harlands)

After 4 months of use, I’ve stopped.

(Reasons my tinnitus which is medical, Having found an amazing girlfriend and spending time with her, and just doing enough sports outside the gym)

I don’t really need a reason it's suffice to say I wanted to cancel my gym contract.

 

Reading the contract back then I saw minimum number 36 of DD payments NO cancellation options.

So (not knowing the current law and contract consumer proportional fairness)

I wrote a letter to my gym asking if we could work something out. On which I never got a reply.

I left it alone, courage sinking into my shoes that since the contracted stated this there was no way out.

But every day I reminded myself that’s 120£ a month. (Yep quite a hefty fee) that is just thrown away.

 

A month ago I got really upset about it and started reading and researching everything I could about contract laws

and the recent OFT investigations and High Court rulings.

Learning that my whole contract is largely unfair on almost every core term and thus void,

non binding and highly likely unenforceable and in breach with the law.

So I’m ready.

I wrote another email a week ago to my gym stating my contract is to be considered unlawful

and I want to immediately cancel my membership and direct debit.

Obviously no reply, which I expected.

Now I’m going to send the recorded letter.

 

Couple questions. (Since I had no reply of my gym its almost sure they are not cooperative in any way)

 

Do I send that recorded letter to both my gym and harlands, pre-emptive striking and showing Harlands,

though I took the kickbox gloves off when I stopped going to my gym, I’ve put them now back on to knock their head into the next century?

Since its a given it’s going to be passed to Harlands by my gym when I stop paying anyway? Or first the gym?

 

My contract, due to recent and precedent court rulings is unenforceable and in breach with the law.

 

However do I still need to abide by the 30days notice (which seems fair if I would have a fair contract in the first place)

once I send my recorded letter stating them I cancel my direct debit and membership? (which would mean the difference of another 120£ for june)

 

Or just cancel the direct debit after I've send my recorded letter and not even abide the 30days notice?

 

 

And lastly,

 

since its been advised by OFT and the court that gyms should change their contracts and INFORM their consumers of current unfairness.

Do I bother investigating if I could get money back?

 

I’ve payed 13months which totals 1560£.

IF I would be crazy enough to take this to court, and attest they failed their duty and obligations

(As set out by OFT and the High court recently in similar cases) of informing me that me not being able to cancel my contract is unlawful

especially with contracts that exceed an minimum term of 12 months.

 

Then my actual pay for 4months of use of gym +1month notice would be the only thing I would have payed. (which is 600),

the only reason I payed more is because I thought my contract was binding.

If my logic (is not totally insane which it very well could be) that means they could owe me 960£.

 

To be fair I’m not out for the money.

But I’m considering it if they play nasty.

(Please tell me if this last point is total wack and I shouldn’t even consider it)

 

Also

I’m still thinking should I keep my recorded mail short, or list all the points that make the contract unfair.

(Doing this to show I’m well aware of the law and possible pre-emptive stop the whole chain of empty threats that will follow)

 

I’m planning to update my post here as it unfolds.

 

(Not sure why the formatting of my post is broken. It was better when I posted?) :/

Edited by mfatal
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Hi Mfatal and welcome to CAG

 

Your gym agreement is not necessarily unfair and unenforecable, just because it's for 36 months.

 

It depends on whether it allows for you to cancel the agreement on grounds such as medical; loss of employment; relocation of home or job; or other circumstances.

 

However, knowing Harlands as we do, I would suggest you write to them saying you hereby cancel the agreement on the basis that it is unfair to you as a consumer due to the minimum period being 36 months. Tell them you have cancelled the DD mandate with your bank with immediate effect.

 

Then contact your bank and cancel it - do not rely on Harlands co-operation. If the DD remains active, they WILL continue to take payments monthly.

 

You're wasting your time writing to the gym as they are clearly ignoring your letters, or passing them on to Harlands, who are also ignoring them. Harlands will respond saying you're wrong for various reasons and will say you must continue to pay or they'll add admin fees.

 

They'll then contact you, pretending to be CRS (same people and same office) giving you final warnings.

 

Most of their threats should be ignored but keep us informed of all events.

 

There are many other Harlands/CRS threads here to read and, from them, you'll get an idea of how Harlands work (or rather fail !! ).

 

No need for long letters so just stick to the basics. Leave the BIG letters to Harlands, who in one case here this year responded with a letter and enclosures that ran to 70+ pages !!

 

:-)

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Hiya Slick132,

 

And thanks for your reply! (You are one busy man!..or dog if I believe your avatar picture) :)

I'll abide by what you say and keep it simple and basic. (good thing about leaving the big letters to Harland made me chuckle)

 

One of the core terms of my contract:

Irrespective of attendance or change in personal circumstances, this agreement cannot be cancelled.

Also there is no mentioning of any form of cancelation, not a notice or any reasonable form.

If you want I can upload the contract form.

 

I'll draft my letter I'll send to Harlands and post it here before I send it. (To keep it informative for people who are in the exact same position as me)

 

Thanks again for the help! Much appreciated.

 

Kind Regards,

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Hi MF,

 

In the agreement, is nothing said about cancelling on the grounds I mentioned above (medical, etc) ?

 

Yes, post a draft here and I'll check it gladly.

 

Do take the time to read other Harlands threads, like I said. You'll learn loads !!

 

:-)

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Hiya SlickHero,

 

I've read through the contract to the point I can recall it word by word by now. :)

Its a 36minimum with NO cancel option what so ever. I could be abducted by angry Texans to the lone star state, I could be dead, nothing. Simply no clause for me to cancel. As I've mentioned before it states explicitely that I cant cancel by the Irrespective of attendance or change in personal circumstances, this agreement cannot be cancelled. (which is somewhat (irony) unfair and intrinsically unproportional to my detriment)

 

However I saw you asked in another thread if the admin fee was mentioned in the contract. In mine the following was stated:

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

Now I have no intention to ever pay them anything apart from when its decided so in court, and I am really ready to take it all the way into court. But legally what does this entail for me? Does this mean I would need to abide by the 25£ fee? Or even if they mention it on the contract is it still illegal? (I just want to know)

 

Off to work now. I'll draft my letter at lunch and post it here tonight.

(Ps Years ago I successfully fought off a solicitor agency and debt collecting bureau (that was in the same building) thanks to CAG. I donated to CAG after it. :) Just so you know I do appreciate the good work you guys offering to the people)

 

Kind Regards,

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Hi MF,

 

Their £25 admin fee is a penalty and, as such, is unenforceable at law. Accordingly, we also tell CAGgers to refuse to pay any admin fee, late payment fee, tracing fee, etc, etc, regardless of what they call it.

 

Nothing about your case will ever be decided in court. Harlands don't have a legal leg to stand on, with a 36 month contract that includes no provisions for cancellation.

 

At worst, you'll get a BIG letter from them and they may also put on their CRS hat to REALLY scare you !!

 

Here's one I made earlier :-

 

Dear Sir/Madam,

 

Membership at xxxxxxxx gym,

 

I refer to my 36 month gym agreement.

 

After the High Court ruling against Ashbourne Management Services Ltd in 2011, I am satisfied that I do not need to pay you any more in respect of the gym membership.

 

My agreement was for 36 months and the ruling made by Mr Justice Kitchin has set legal precedence for all such agreements. This is also confirmed by subsequent guidance in the matter from the OFT.

 

Accordingly, I will not pay you any more and you should not send me any demands.

 

Regarding any£25 admin charges, they are unlawful penalties and are not enforceable. They will not be paid.

 

If you, or CRS, continue to seek payments and make demands, I will report the matter to the OFT.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

:wink:

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Hiya Slick,

 

I think they heard the formidable Slick was on the case. (mixed with a complete insane mfatal) given disaster. As by miracle I got a reply on my very last mail written to my club last Friday.

 

I'm posting it here.

 

I've changed my names and names of my club, not because I'm very shock or fuzzed about privacy but I felt it was somehow the right thing todo. It doesn't take anything out of the value. Also I want to reflect some kindness after they finally replied in a very positive fashion.

 

In my original mail to them I tried to keep it still fair, friendly and very unconventional (as you probably will notice) my reasons was to focus on fairness and more the essence of being human and what's sensible instead of the letter of the law. Thinking what is balanced and proportional.

 

 

Reply from my gymclub:

 

 

 

Hi Mfatal,

 

 

 

After discussing your situation to my manager, we agreed to cancel yourcontract with us with no extra charges.

 

 

 

KarmaaClub Team wishes you all the best.

 

 

 

Kind regards.

 

 

 

XXXX

 

 

 

 

 

From:

 

Sent: Friday, May 17, 2013 8:25 AM

 

To:

 

Subject: Important message concerningmembership

 

 

 

Hiya XXXX,(Please pass this on to management)

 

I already wrote about this in the past, asking if we could work something out or what can be done. I never got a reply. This time I’m going to follow it up and see it through. I still wish we can resolve this easily and fast. This time I don’t want to work something out I just want to to cancel my membership and direct debit (120£ a month) as soon as possible. (this is in the name of XXXXwhich is me).

 

I pretty much stopped going to the kickbox classes after June 2012 which equates to 4months of actual use. Due to many circumstances it just wasn’t viable for me to attend classes anymore. I’ve now paid for longer then 12months(1560£). Partially because I felt paying a year was the right thing to-do, so Idid. However I feel I’ve done my part and paid my debt more then enough.12months seems to be an agreeable minimum term in most contracts. 1560£ has been a very fair deal for you, not so much for me. I do not however like the foresight of paying another two year (3year lock-in contract, which is unenforceable btw) for a service I’m not using (amounting to a further 2880£),that just doesn’t seem fair at all. And quite frankly I need that money formore important things. (If I have to loose that money might as well use it forlegal pursuit.)

 

Now this cango many ways:

 

You guysthink yeah this Mfatal chap is alright he paid 1560£ for a year, which isnearly triple the normal gym cost, he didn’t use any of our facilities, take upany instructor time. We got 1560£ and can deck some of our students out in goldplated sparring gear now. And you reply sure Mfatal we will cancelyour membership you go ahead and cancel your direct debit with immediate effect.

 

Me: Sweetthe guys at Karmaa got great Karma. You are alright in my books!

 

Or you decide to get some more money out of me on top of the 1560£, which isn’t a beautiful warrior thing todo.

 

Me: Damn that’s bad karma Karmaa. And quite frankly I’m going to be upset. Furthermore because I know the current contract I have is deemed very consumer unfriendly and not enforceable by law. (As ruled by high court and OFT in precedent casesand setting a standard for future cases)

 

I honestly hope this can be all done nice and tight and fore-mostly quick for both yoursake and mine. Keep in mind if I don’t get a reply from Karmaa in the comingdays. I’ll send you guys a recorded letter. (But If I have to spend time doing that, (I have a thing with traditional mail, I don’t like it) I’ll go the extra mile and initiate further actions even to the point of retro-active refund. At this point I’m in contact with OFT for informative reasons but haven’t initiated anything concrete). Purely because I really prefer this to be done and over with quick and still friendly if possible. And right now I feel you guys got a very good deal for the past year, but sensibly it really needs to end especially since it’s not conform with consumer friendly laws. And you also(if you haven’t already done so) really really need to change your contracts to reflect more proportional fairness for your consumer.

 

Hope to hearfrom you soon,

 

Sincerely,

 

CrazyMfatalGuy

Edited by mfatal
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Anyway that's me cancelling my direct debit tonight online.

 

But I'm not naïve. I think its great and honest my club replied like this and doing the right thing. But somehow I feel this does not exempt me from Harland to still initiate their cycle of harassment and empty threats and downright stupidity. Maybe it will. Since right now there is LOTS of momentum on investigating and hunting down unfair practices and contracts completely out of balance for the consumer. I mean the OFT is practically advertising for people to contact them if they have unfair contracts in relation to gyms.

 

We shall see.

Slick if I would have overlooked anything please do let me know? I have your letter saved for the future when Harlands would start their *throwing toys out of the pram* routine.

Thanks again! Do I change the subject of this thread to fixed? or fixed for now? :)

 

Kind Regards,

Mfatal

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Hi Mfatal and I'm delighted at the result you've achieved with the gym. :whoo:

 

Cancel the DD mandate by contacting the bank in writing, if you've not already done this. Alternatively, cancel using the bank's online system.

 

Knowing Harlands, they may still come back to you and say either :-

 

1. The m/ship agreement cannot be cancelled by the gym as the agreement is with Harlands, or

 

2. The agreement must run for 36 months and you must continue to pay, or

 

3. We'll let you out of the agreement but you must pay us £xxx for cancelling without notice.

 

I hope you hear nothing from Harlands but, if you do, let us know.

 

:-D

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