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Problems with Harlands again


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Hi, I am new here I hope someone could help me.

As many other people I have signed for 12 months direct debit contract with Harlands, when I was signing for it, woman who was working in my gym told me I could cancel it any time I wanted (yeah right) I am a student and I don't have any proper income, however I do manage to pay for the gym each month, last month I was late with payment by 1 day (I didn't have any money on my bank account) so they charged me administration fees of £25 + normal monthly payment of £20.

 

I did some research and I have sent them this e-mail:

 

"Dear Sir/Madam,

 

I am referring to my 12 months membership at Feelgood Fitness,

 

I refer to your demand for a £25 administration fee.

 

This is effectively a penalty and, as such, it is unlawful and not enforceable.

 

It does not matter whether the admin fees are contained in the gym’s T&C's. They remain unlawful.

 

If you insist that I pay any admin fees, I will cancel my gym agreement direct with the gym immediately. The grounds for cancellation are breach of contract on your part, by trying to charge me fees that are unlawful, thereby failing to treat me fairly as a consumer.

 

If you agree to waive this £25 fee, I will be happy to remain a member at the gym. I will also do my best to see that future payments are made on time.

 

Accordingly, I will not pay you any more and you should not send me any demands regarding £25 administration charges, they are unlawful penalties and are not enforceable. They will not be paid.

 

If you continue to seek payments and make demands, I will report the matter to the OFT. I also demand refund of all the other £25 administration charges that has been debated from my bank account since the beginning of my gym membership as, as I have mention before, they are unlawful penalties and are not enforceable."

 

To which they have replied:

 

"Thank you for your email,

 

In line with point 6 of the Terms and conditions of your agreement;

 

'If you fail to pay any monied due under this agreement or if any Direct Debit is returned unpaid, you shall pay us on demand an administration fee of £25.00'

 

The charges are outlined in the Terms and Conditions and therefore they are not unlawful. The payment of £45.00 is due to be debited from your account on the 30th April 2014.

 

Failure to make this payment, or cancelling the Direct Debit within your contracted period may result in further charges being incurred, and the membership eventually being sent to a third party Debt Recovery company if the payments are not made.

 

If you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact us.

 

For all Enquiries Call Harlands : 0871 25 0 24 23 * (* Calls to this number cost 10p/minute including VAT from a BT landline. Calls from other operators and mobile phones cost more.) Quote Reference : 31918882 / EM

 

Office hours: Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm

 

Yours sincerely"

 

Is there any possible way to get back my money or am I in hopeless situation?

 

Thank You!

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Hi Rarss and welcome to CAG

 

Have they already taken the £25 admin fee, or are they saying they'll take it when they take the DD at the end of April, ie £20 gym fee + £25 admin fee.

 

Did they take the March gym fee successfully on the 2nd attempt.

 

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Thanks for reply Slick123,

Yes, they have already taken £20 + £25 on 30th April as they said they will in the letter, they have taken all of the administration fees successfully since the beginning (as I recall correctly there were 3 times including this time when I wasn't able to pay on time because of lack of money), they are also quite rude over the phone, I was trying to cancel my contract in september and they said that it is impossible but they did agree to freeze it for 2 months, so now my contract ends in August if I'm correct. Also, I received a letter recently that I have to let them know before end of my contract to end it because if I won't they will renew the contract.

 

I only signed up for this as I had holidays from university so I couldn't go to my uni gym, woman who worked at the gym ensured me that I can cancel it anytime, my uni gym costs only £75 for a year, hence I wanted to cancel this in september but I couldn't.

 

Thanks again

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Hi Rarss,

 

Sorry, I forgot we're already into May now !

 

I would write back saying you require that Harlands agree to refund ALL admin fees they have charged you immediately or you will claim your money back under the Direct Debit Guarantee Scheme.

 

And that you will also consider the agreement terminated immediately due to their continuing to charge you penalties that are unlawful, despite them being mentioned in their T&C's.

 

Can you tell us what months they charged you admin fees on top of the gym fee, so we can consider what you should ask the bank to do to remedy this situation.

 

Am I right in thinking you want to end the Harlands agreement immediately if you can.

 

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Hello,

I've just checked and there were only two times I didn't pay on time (including this time) they charged me admin fee on 30 April 2014 (just recently) and previously on 26 July 2013.

 

As for ending Harlands agreement, I would be happy to stay with them until August if they give me my money back, because until August I won't be able to use my university gym anyway, and on my current contract I pay £20 on direct debit, if however I ended the contract and pay cash monthly it would cost £40 per month, hence it will be cheaper to stay with Harlands even tho their "rules" are horrible

 

Thanks for help Slick132

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Hi Rarss,

 

As you want to remain a member if possible until you go back to Uni, I would write to the Feelgood Fitness Head Office as follows :-

 

Dear sir or madam,

 

Feelgood Fitness in [Town]

 

I have been a member at the above gym and want to continue.

 

I am a student, money is very tight and in July 2013 and April 2014, Harlands charged me an extra £25 both months because the DD was not paid exactly on time.

 

I am aware that such Admin Charges are effectively penalties and are NOT enforceable at law, even though the charges are referred to in the m/ship T&C's.

 

Accordingly, I will be happy to remain a member if you instruct Harlands to refund me the £50 extra they have taken.

 

Otherwise, I may have to reclaim the full amounts of the gym and Admin fees with the Direct Debit Guarantee Scheme. I would also have to terminate my m/ship immediately, based on Harlands attempts to extract money from me by way of their unlawful fees.

 

I look forward to hearing from you.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

I suggest you send this and see how they respond. If they refuse to budge or refuse to make Harlands budge, you can then decide if you want to stay on as a member or leave.

 

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Thanks again for help,

 

Is there any way to contact Harlands directly? I was trying to get help from the owner of my gym (who is a "friend" of mine - as its a small town) I was told that unfortunately I have to deal with Harlands directly.

 

Maybe there is a way to really push Harlands through e-mailing them directly to get that money back, I would prefer to deal with Harlands instead of pushing Feelgood fitness in my town, because if I stay at the gym, or if I ever come back to this gym in future (this time paying monthly in cash for sure) I wouldn't want any problems etc as it is a small town and every one pretty much knows everyone

 

Kind regards,

Rarss

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Contact with Harlands will be totally futile and frustrating. That's why I suggested trying to deal with this via the gym's head office.

 

If YF can't help on a local level, ask for details of Feelgood Fitness head office so you can send the letter above.

 

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