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Hi,

Just wondered if anyone could give me any advice.

 

Joined Xercise 4 Less Jan 2013 - on a 12 month contract.

 

Didn't go very much - in fact I hadn't been since July 2013.

 

Realised April 2014 that they were still taking £9.99 month and cancelled the direct debit - directly with my bank.

 

Didn't realise the problems this would cause!

 

I have today received a letter from Harlands claiming they sent me a letter on the 22 April 2014

asking me to pay £9.99 outstanding subscription and £9.99 cancellation period

- plus now a £25 default fee

- because I didn't respond to the last letter

- which I never received!

 

I rang them immediately

- to say I hadn't got that last letter and while I might be prepared to pay 9.99 outstanding

(and even 9.99 for cancellation period) I was not prepared to pay £25 for default fees.

 

They then offered to drop this as a 'goodwill gesture' to £12.50.

I then asked to speak to a manager

-who told me the same thing.

 

They said their records show that this letter had been sent

- and it was my word that it hadn't!

 

I said that I would be getting some legal advice and so they have frozen my account for 2 weeks

- but if I don't pay them by the end of the month they will add another £25 to that.

 

I probably could afford to pay them

- as in we would do without some things

- but I am outraged that this happens!

 

They can charge me although I never received a letter?!!

 

For the principle of the matter I would like to know if I have to pay the £25 (or perhaps £12.50 they offered me eventually) - or if I can not.

 

I'm happy to pay the other £20 i apparently owe

- although I do think that it is rather unfair to be placed on a rolling contract

- when I only signed for 12 months

- but I presume this was in the small print and I should have been more careful.

Or maybe I should save myself the hassle and pay up before it becomes £50?

 

Many thanks for any advice:)

Sarah

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Stay off the phone. harlands are a bunch of muppets and really cannot do anything. They just like to yell a lot and hope you pay them.

 

Sit tight and we have a few regulars around that can advise when they are able.

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Hi Twinmum and welcome to CAG

 

When you cancelled the DD mandate, that effectively gave the gym or Harlands notice of your cancellation. They cannot argue with this as there was a High Court case which set out certain rules - The OFT -v- Ashbourne Mgt Services Ltd in 2011.

 

You should have paid a final fee for the month's notice they were entitled to. However, they are NOT entitled to any admin fee for cancelling, nor do you have to pay admin fees for late payments or "not responding to their letters". These are unlawful penalties and are not enforceable.

 

You could send this to Harlands :-

 

Dear sir or madam,

 

I refer to your letter of xxdate and our subsequent phone discussion.

 

I cancelled my DD mandate on xxdate and this was adequate notice of my cancellation of the gym agreement, as per the case of The OFT v Ashbourne Mgt Services Ltd in 2011.

 

I now realise I should have paid one further month's fee for the notice period and am willing to offer you £9.99 now. If you confirm in writing within 14 days that you'll accept £9.99 in full settlement of all amounts due, I will pay it promptly.

 

If you fail to accept my offer within 14 days, or if you demand any admin or cancellation fees (unlawful penalties), my offer will be withdrawn and I may ignore further demands from you and/or CRS.

 

Such demands may be reported to Trading Standards.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

See how they respond. :-)

Edited by slick132

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Thank you so much - I'm going to try and do this now. I imagine this must happen to a lot of people and they just pay - I nearly did as I was just scared of them! What can I do to try and raise awareness about this? Would writing to my MP help? Or another way?

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Sadly theres nothing you can really do as the government allows the cancellation industry to thrive. mainly because their benefactors make huge amounts of money off them. And that goes for ALL parties.

Any advice i give is my own and is based solely on personal experience. If in any doubt about a situation , please contact a certified legal representative or debt counsellor..

 

 

If my advice helps you, click the star icon at the bottom of my post and feel free to say thanks

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Hi TwinMum,

 

For the moment, concentrate on dealing with Harlands and all that they'll threaten you with (which will amount to nothing).

 

If needs be, we may suggest you make a formal complaint to Trading Standards. This may not help your individual complaint but it WILL help build a bigger file about the shoddy way Harlands operate.

 

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I was looking for my contract to just check through some of the details. I think I threw it away because I thought my contract was through. Just found this online at Xercise4Less website though -

(It won't let me post the link to the page I found)

Under fees and charges:

6. If you fail to pay any monies due under this agreement or if any Direct Debit is returned unpaid 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 (which we require

to cover our costs of seeking to pursue such payment from you).

 

-Does this mean I do owe them the administration charges?

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Hi TM,

 

No !! The admin charges are effectively penalties and, as such, are unlawful and not enforceable.

 

Just because it is written in their m/ship agreement does NOT alter the fact that the charges and penalties.

 

We always tell CAGgers not to pay such admin fees and we help them fight the gyms and their admin companies about the fees.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Received this letter today:

We thank you for your letter dated 5th May 2014.

We write in relation to your membership with Xercise 4 Less -

 

Please note that cancellations for your membership are dealt with directly by Xercise 4 Less.

 

Please contact Xercise Health and Fitness and meet the requirements for cancellations using the details below.

 

(Giving me details on how to contact my nearest branch)

 

You are currently in arrears of £22.49. We have been informed by your bank that your Direct Debit has been cancelled.

 

Please call Harlands helpline 0870 250 1424 to bring your account up to date over the phone.

 

Please call no later than the 6th June 2014.

 

We trust you find this in order

 

etc etc.

 

 

- How should I respond to this? Have they now dropped the 'admin' charges they were asking? Do I cancel as they require by contacting my Xercise 4 Less Branch? And then when I call them will they require the £22.49 + admin fees (which will be £50 by 6th June)

 

Any advice gratefully received:)

 

Thank you:)

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Hi TwinMum,

 

I have no idea why Harlands sometimes say they cannot deal with cancellations and you have to contact the gym. If Harlands run the admin for the gym, then you were quite correct to write to them about this.

 

I suggest you reply to Harlands :-

 

Dear sir or madam,

 

I refer to your letter of xxdate.

 

If Harlands deals with the administration of memberships for Xercise4Less, then my previous letter about cancelling was correctly addressed to you.

 

If, for some reason, you feel unable to deal with the matter, I suggest you refer the matter to the gym and explain to them that my offer to pay a further months fee has expired.

 

In response to your request that I call you, this will not happen as I have no need or desire to discuss anything by phone. As far as I'm concerned, I made a reasonable offer to pay a final amount and resolve this matter. You failed to take up my offer and it is now withdrawn.

 

I do not owe you the amounts you claim, hence I will not pay them.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

That's all you need to send for now. Do NOT call Harlands or the gym. You have no need to speak to anyone and certainly no need to discuss paying any of their ridiculous admin penalty fees.

 

If they want to add more fees, let them. Don't worry about this aspect as the fees cannot normally be enforced.

 

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  • 1 month later...

I have been away for 3 weeks and while I have been - I have received from Harlands 2 more letters and another from Credit Resolutions Services!

- Dated 11th June (Harlands)

 

We are disappointed that you have not responded to our previous correspondence.

 

The June installment has now been missed, resulting in further administration fee of £25 being added. The total is now £57.48

 

Call Harlands to pay etc.

 

If you do not call us by 21 June then the collection of your membership fees will cease to be administered by Harlands and will be passed to a debt recovery company. This may incur you significant additional fees and ultiumately result in court action.

 

 

 

- 12th June (Harlands)

 

We thank you for your letter dated 1st June 2014.

 

We write in relation to your membership with Xercise 4 Less.

 

As previously advised cancellations for your membersip are dealt with directly with Xercise for less. Harlands only administer the direct debit payments and cannot authorise cancellations.

 

Please contact Harlands to pay etc.

 

Please call no later than 25th June.

 

- Very strange to have 2 different dates to ring them by!!

 

As it is, I have only just arrived back in the last hour and have missed both those dates.

But I have another letter:

 

- Credit Resolution Services (27th June)

 

Outstanding Balance: £92.47

 

We have been advised by Harlands that you have stopped making payments under your membership agreement with Xercise 4 Less.

 

Your balance is now £92.47 and due to be paid now later than 7th July 2014.

 

Ring Harlands to pay etc.

 

Harlands would like to resolve this matter before further action is needed. However, under your agreement with Harlands you have promised to pay this debt. If you continue to refuse to honour that commitment, Harlands will have no option but to take legal steps to collect the outstanding balance.

 

Sincerely Robert Smith

 

 

- I am a little scared now. What does legal steps mean? The sum has increased alot:(

 

Any advice appreciated - thank you:)

Edited by slick132
added colour to highlight date of letters and who they're from
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Read the forums to get an idea of what to do. You dont have to pay any of those charges

Any advice i give is my own and is based solely on personal experience. If in any doubt about a situation , please contact a certified legal representative or debt counsellor..

 

 

If my advice helps you, click the star icon at the bottom of my post and feel free to say thanks

:D

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Hi TM1 and you have NO reason to be scared.

 

Have Harlands replied to your letter in post #12.

 

If not, please just ignore the latest threats from Harlands and CRS. They will not take legal action in 99.9% of cases and this is simply hot air.

 

Do not respond to them at all, until they have the good grace to answer your last letter.

 

They can add on all the admin fees they want but this does NOT make the charges lawful or enforceable. They are penalties, regardless of how many they pile on.

 

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They replied with a letter dated 12th July. It read as follows:

 

 

We thank you for your letter dated 1st June 2014.

 

We write in relation to your membership with Xercise 4 Less.

 

As previously advised cancellations for your membersip are dealt with directly with Xercise for less. Harlands only administer the direct debiticon payments and cannot authorise cancellations.

 

Please contact Harlands to pay etc.

 

Please call no later than 25th June.

 

-But it came just after a letter dated 11th July - that I showed above.

 

So I guess they kind of have? Saying that I need to contact Xercise 4 Less to cancel membership again - but if as you say, my direct debit cancellation is sufficient for this, then I don't need to do that?

 

Thank you slick132:)

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Hi TM1,

 

I love how Harlands continue to surprise me, even after dealing with them for too many years !!

 

The Harlands letter of 11th June is probably a template letter chasing for money. Their letter of 12th June is the reply to your letter in post #12. And the letter from CRS - well !! Who cares !! :wink:

 

They're wrong and you can cancel via Harlands if you wish. If they feel unable to "authorize" cancellations, they can obviously refer the matter to the gym concerned. The High Court judgement in The OFT v AMSL gives you all the backing you need.

 

I think no reply is needed from you at all. However, please let us know what further comm's you get from them ................

 

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  • 1 month later...

Good news so far but don't be surprised if they contact you further.

 

The longer the gaps between them writing to you, the better for you.

 

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Oh dear, I spoke too soon! Received another letter from CRS today:

IMPORTANT - PLEASE CALL US TODAY ON 01444 449165

Re: CRS Ref No: *****

Xercise 4 Less Ref. No: *****

We've been employed by Xercise 4 Less as your membership remains in arrears despite previous letters being sent to you.

 

As a result of this our fees totalling £65.50 have been added. Therefore, your account balance now stands at £158.97

 

WE WANT TO REACH AN AMICABLE RESOLUTION WITH YOU!

In order that we can do this, please ring our non-premium number - 01444 449165

 

WHAT ARE THE OPTIONS?

1. You want to continue your membership - The club wants nothing more than for you to get the full benifits of your membership. Providing you can pay your arrears and set up a new DD with us for future payments, then their happy to welcome you back in.

You may be entitled to a discount if your able to settle your account balance in one payment.

 

2. You may believe you've cancelled your membership -We understand the numerous reasons why people stop going., We'll listen to your reasons and do everything we can to resolve your account in line with the terms of your membership.

 

3. You're experiencing financial difficulties - We know times are tough and therefore have a variety of possible solutions to assist you, including monthly payments plans etc.

 

We'll cease letters for 7 days, so please call us on 01444 etc.

 

Yours sincerely

Rob Avery

Collections Manager

 

- I haven't received anything from them for 2 months - so what exactly are these fees of £66.50 for? And anyway, that is expensive for a letter!

- Do I just keep on not replying as before? I'm a bit scared every time that some collection person is going to knock on my door!

 

Many thanks for all your help:)

Edited by TwinMum1
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Hi Mum,

 

Just continue to ignore CRS for now but let us know if you get further demands.

 

The fees they are adding are unlawful penalties and are not enforceable.

 

You will NOT have anyone visit you about this. Even if you did, you would simply tell them you will not discuss anything with them and they must leave immediately. Then close the door. Doorstep callers have absolutely NO power or authority. They are NOT bailiffs.

 

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I've just also had a text from them saying:

'Please call C R S on 01444449165 between 9 and 5pm. We sent a letter a week ago and need to discuss it with you. Thank you.

 

Are they allowed to send me text messages?!

What happens when bailiffs come?

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Hi mum,

 

I've just also had a text from them saying:

'Please call C R S on 01444449165 between 9 and 5pm. We sent a letter a week ago and need to discuss it with you. Thank you.

 

Are they allowed to send me text messages?!

What happens when bailiffs come?

 

As per my last post, there will be NO BAILIFFS. Bailiffs could only be involved after court action and that is NOT going to happen.

 

Ignore the CRS texts and letters for now but keep us updated.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Received another letter this morning:

Following our initial letter, we are disappointed that your account for Xercise 4 Less is still in arrears and our fee has not been paid.

We would still like to reach an amicable resolution to this, however, if you fail to respond to this letter, we will have no option but to commence further action to recover the monies owed. The options available to us are:

1. Legal action

We believe you are in breach of a legally binding contract with Xercise 4 Less because you have not paid your membership and fees. We may pursue a claim under this contract through the Courts. If we do so the following process would apply:

-We will write a formal letter explaining what we are demanding and give you a final opportunity to pay/rely;

-If this failed to settle the matter we would issue proceedings against you in the County Court;

- You could then either

a) Make payment, ending the legal process, or

b) dispute some or all of the amount that was owed.

-If you dispute the amount was owed the Court process would continue, at the end of which the Court would make a decision on our claim.

- A strict Court imposed timescale would apply in relation to the Court process.

 

Were we to be successful in our claim, or if you ignore the claim, a County Court Judgement may be registered against you requiring you to make payment. You may also be liable for our costs of pursuing legal action and interest on the amount owed.

 

If you then fail to pay the amount covered by the CCJ we would take the next steps required to enforce the judgement. To do this we would have to make an application to Court.

 

2. Outsource to External Agents.

Your account would be passed to another Collection Agency who will take further action to recover the monies owed.

 

YOU CAN AVOID THIS HAPPENING IF WITHIN THE NEXT 10 DAYS YOU CONTACT US ON 01444 449165 TO ARRANGE PAYMENT WITH US.

 

Yours sincerely

For Credit Resolution Services

Rob Avery

(An extremely badly photocopied signature!)

 

While alot of this does seem hot air ('we may pursue a claim' etc) and from what I see elsewhere on this forum it seems they employ Zinc services as the 'external agents' - I would love your advise about how to respond to this! Do I write another letter to them? Do I ignore this one? Should I find a lawyer?

Also, what is the 'further action' that external agencies will take to regain the money they say I owe them?

 

Many thanks for all your help:)

Twinmum

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