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    • had to remove all you picture uploads as they are too small to read pop them all into ONE multipage PDF file and upload that please.   read our upload guide carefully please   dx  
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Hi

 

To cut a long story short, my sister was mis-sold a gym membership by an employee of a well-known gym.

 

She was told, over the phone, that she would only have to pay a £1 joining fee

and that would allow her to use the gym on a pay-as-you-go basis and that she could cancel this whenever she liked.

 

I might also like to add that she was never read out any Ts & Cs (essentially because this contract didn’t actually exist),

made aware of a cooling off period and never signed any paperwork.

This employee was a ‘friend’ which is why my sister trusted this information.

 

Little did she know, she was actually signed into an 18 month contract at £33 per month

and only realising this when the first £33 was deducted from her account.

 

To date, my sister has never received a ‘membership pack’, doesn’t know her membership number

so as a result has never used the gym (she’s never even stepped inside it).

 

In order to stop the money coming out of her account, she cancelled her direct debit, of which resulted in letters from the gym.

 

We have spoken to membership services, who were extremely uncooperative and sent a letter back to the gym

which has resulted in another letter from ARC Europe Limited stating that they

“can now take steps to prepare a County Court Claim”.

 

Do you have any advice on what we should do next?

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Everything was done over the phone, so I'm assuming a signature wouldn't be needed?! Apologies, I mentioned that she didn't sign anything in the original post - I got confused.

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Hi Edaj,

 

Don't deal with this by phone at all. Keep it in writing only so you have a good papertrail from now on.

 

Don't worry for now about threats of court action. This is extremely rare with gym agreements and there are many ways to argue about the gyms fairness and/or the enforceability of any agreement that's been entered into.

 

1. What gym is this.

 

2. When did YS "join".

 

3. What was done to give the gym her bank details.

 

If she signed a DD mandate, that may well have included a m/ship agreement.

 

What may be of particular help to YS is that the agreement is for 18 months - ie 6 months longer than The OFT deemed fair to gym members.

 

Give us answers so we can help.

 

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Hi slick

 

Thanks for your reply. The gym is LA Fitness and membership commenced in February. Since February the only correspondence she has had, has been through one letter stating that she needed to re-instate her DD of £33. The next letter came from ARC Europe saying that she owed £624.80. As for giving the gym her bank details, these were supplied over the phone. Hope that helps?

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Hi Edaj,

 

Did YS sign any DD mandate ?

 

If not, I would ask the bank to confirm the nature of the £33.00 paid to the gym on xxdate, ie was it a DD or a CPA pay't. When this is known, you can decide if you should seek a refund by way of a Chargeback (for a debit card transaction) or a refund under the DD Guarantee Scheme.

 

I would also write to LAF simply saying, "To enable me to consider demands received from ARC, please supply me with a copy of my gym agreement and the related payment mandate."

 

It may be that someone "signed up" YS and entered her bank details using their computer system, as if she was in the gym doing it herself.

 

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Thanks for your help Slick, we will definitely send a letter to LAF requesting a copy of the agreement and payment mandate and in the meantime she will contact her bank too. Will keep you posted!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Slick Just a quick update on where we’re at. A letter was sent by recorded delivery to LA Fitness on 3 July requesting a copy of the gym agreement and payment mandate. This was received and signed for by them. We have since had no correspondence from them at all. However we have received another letter from ARC Europe. This time stating the following: “Despite our previous correspondence, we understand that the above balance remains outstanding. A County Court Claim can now be prepared against you and can be issued in Northampton County Court. If this matter is passed to our solicitors for issue, our client will claim the following: TOTAL £804.78. If you ignore this letter we may pass this matter to our solicitors to issue the claim without further notice.” Do you have any advice as MS is extremely worried that she is going to have to go to Court? It just seems that LAF don’t want to respond and are ignoring the letters we send.

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Sorry another update,

My sister just received a letter back from La fitness today with a copy of her contract and direct debit mandate. The letter states it is a 'web contract' to start with, but this was done over the phone. We have read through the membership agreement and they are requesting (before solicitor fees etc.) around £100 more than the contract is worth. There is no where on this contract that states my sister has agreed to anything and definitely hasn't signed anything. I don't know if it's important or not but also does not include a date this was set up. Does anyone have any advise on what to do next?

I also don't know if it helps that the membership has been signed up under my sisters nickname, not her actual proper name. The employee at the gym knew her by her nickname so has used this as her first name and all correspondence has been addressed to my sister under her nickname. Does anyone have an advise on whether this is still a binding contract?

Thank you

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Hi Edaj,

 

I suggest a reply to LAF as follows :-

 

I deny owing money to LAF and you should instruct ARC (Europe) to stop making demands in this matter immediately.

 

This gym agreement was set up without me having full knowledge of the Terms and Conditions. I was told I could use the gym when I wanted and would pay for each visit.

 

I was told I was being tied into an 18 month agreement which is, of course, unenforceable due to it being longer than the 12 months regarded by the OFT as being fair to consumers.

 

Also, the alleged agreement is not in my proper name as it was "set up" by a friend of mine who used my nickname and not my proper name.

 

Please now confirm that you will stop making further demands or the matter will be the subject of a formal complaint to Trading Standards.

 

Let us know how they respond.

 

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