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Hi Guys!

 

This is my first post here and I am having a very similar issue as above.

 

I joined Xercise 4 Less in Hull at the end of January this year in my final months of university there. I am quite sure at the time of joining I was told I could cancel my membership at anytime.

 

I cancelled the direct debit in May as I was moving back home in the Wakefield area and the nearest Xercise 4 Less to me was completely sub-par with dated equipment, nothing like what I signed up for in Hull.

 

Today I received a letter from CRS claiming I owe £222.43, which includes £102.50 of their own fees, as my membership is in arrears despite previous letters being sent to me.

 

I imagine these letters had been sent to my university address in which I no longer live and so never actually received. I cannot understand how this company can get away with these extortionate fees and scare tactics and I am just wondering where I stand as I have no way of paying this money and feel that I should not have to!

 

I am just worried about further action that may be taken. Any advice on this matter on how to proceed would be greatly appreciated!

 

Alistair

Edited by slick132
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They wont do anything apart from send a dozen silly letters. Read this forum and youll see what you have to do,

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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Thank you for your reply. I have read many of the other posts and the answers do seem to differ with some suggesting ignoring them completely and some actually paying money directly to the gym. Is there anything more specific you could say with regards to my situation? Cheers

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Hi BGA and welcome to CAG

 

Your posts have been moved into your own thread. Please avoid posting solid blocks of text as it's far harder to read. I'll sort it this time.

 

You can cancel due to relocation but should pay 1 months fee after giving notice. If there's another gym within a reasonable distance, we'll have to see what's said in the T&C's about your options.

 

How far from your new address is the Wakefield gym.

 

1. Please confirm what complaints you have about the gym and/or it's equipment.

 

2. When did you last visit the Wakefield gym to see what they have on offer.

 

Don't worry about Admin Fees added by Harlands/CRS as we maintain these are unenforceable penalties.

 

:-)

Edited by slick132

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Sorry about that Slick. The nearest gym was maybe around 4 miles or so and I visited it before cancelling my membership in May.

 

My main complaints are simply that the equipment is the same as it was when the gym was under another name back in 2009 when I was a member there. It is outdated, nothing like the higher quality equipment at the Hull gym and is too busy for its small size.

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Hi Again,

 

You could send them an offer to pay a final month's fee based on this example letter - http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?424491-Harlands-and-Xercise-4-Less&p=4534616&viewfull=1#post4534616

 

The letter needs adapting to reflect your own case and you could add :-

 

I cannot use the Wakefield gym as it is usually overcrowded and the equipment is outdated and in need of replacement.

 

Put a draft here if you want si I can check it before you send it off. Also, it's important that they have your current address so you keep track of Harlands?CRS actions.

 

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Ok, so I have spoken directly to the Xercise4Less in Hull explaining the situation and the manager there offered me to pay them £106.47 and the matter would be dropped. I was also offered to pay in multiple instalments with no interest. She explained that they had to buy the case back from CRS and some of that charge goes back to them. Would I have more luck with your suggestion as obviously 9.99 is much better than £106.47 haha

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Hi Slick, how does this sound to send to the manager of Xercise4Less Hull?

 

 

Dear Sir or Madam,

 

I refer to the letter received from CRS on your behalf on 08/09/2014 and our subsequent phone discussion. Although I appreciate your offer of £106.47 to settle the matter I still feel that it is an unfair charge.

 

I initially planned to keep my Xercise4Less membership and use it at the nearest and most accessible gym to my permanent home address at Xscape, Castleford, however, I found the facilities to be sub-par, outdated and in need of replacement in addition to the fact that it is often overcrowded.

 

When signing up to the gym I was not aware of the need for 30 days notice of cancellation as this is not stated within the terms and conditions, however, I cancelled my direct debit mandate at the end of May 2014 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 Harlands/CRS.

 

Such demands may be reported to Trading Standards.

 

Yours faithfully,

Edited by BGA123
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Hi there,

 

Stay off the phone - you need proof of what's said so keep it in writing only. Also, you'll rarely hear anything that's of use to you.

 

Re the call to Hull, the Manager there would LOVE you to pay them £100+ as that's more than they'd ever get from Harlands. However, I suggest you do not have to pay that much - at least not yet.

 

Sorry but the £9.99 applied to the other CAG case. Whatever you paid per month, that is what you'll offer to pay Harlands.

 

Send your letter to Harlands, not the Hull gym. I've amended slightly about the T&C's which everyone knows about, or they should do ! :wink:

 

Dear Sir or Madam,

 

I refer to the letter received from Harlands/CRS making demands for payment.

 

I initially planned to keep my Xercise4Less membership and use it at the nearest and most accessible gym to my permanent home address at Xscape, Castleford, however, I found the facilities to be sub-par, outdated and in need of replacement in addition to the fact that it is often overcrowded.

 

I cancelled my direct debit mandate at the end of May 2014 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 £xx.xx now for the final June payment. If you confirm in writing within 14 days that you'll accept this 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 Harlands/CRS.

 

Such demands may be reported to Trading Standards.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

Fill in the correct monthly amount and send the letter to Harlands as you'll end up dealing with them one way or another.

 

:-)

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Thank you very much! I was also paying £9.99 per month so the same applies to me. Hopefully this will settle things. I can't be doing with this situation. I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks again Slick!

Edited by slick132
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Hi BGA and I note your remarks about the £9,99 monthly fee.

 

In other circumstances, I may have suggested dealing with the gym direct but they would never let you get away with paying just the one month's fee. So you'd have invested time and effort dealing with the gym and then they'd say, "We don't accept what you're offering so you'll have to deal with Harlands anyway."

 

Keep us updated. :-)

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Yeh, I see what you're saying. I'll send the letter recorded delivery tomorrow (as I hear these companies have a tendency to 'lose' letters) and I'll let you know of the outcome in due course.

 

Fingers crossed this will resolve matters. The last thing I want is these guys turning up at my door.

 

Thanks again Slick!

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Hi Slick,

 

I have received a text this morning from CRS reminding me they sent me a letter one week ago and that I need to call them to discuss it. As you've said it is pointless calling them so shall I just wait for them to reply specifically to the letter I sent?

 

 

Regards,

 

BGA

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Hi BGA,

 

Harlands and CRS are one and the same, so CRS should be fully aware of your letter in post #9 above.

 

Ignore their text completely and wait to see if/how Harlands reply.

 

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Hi Slick,

 

Had two missed calls and a voicemail from CRS today. I didn't pick up because I didn't trust the look of the number that showed up, after a quick google it showed it was them. Is this just them upping the ante or should I answer next time?

 

BGA

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Hi BGA,

Is this CRA upping the ante ?? I wouldn't credit CRS with that much of a system ! :lol:

 

If you don't recognise the number calling, ignore it if you can. If you answer and it's CRS, refuse to answer any security questions and tell them to put anything they have to say in writing. Then hang up.

 

Certainly do NOT answer them on purpose.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey Slick,

 

Received a reply from CRS today complete with bad punctuation and spelling. Just so you can get a full picture of what they're trying to say I will type up the full letter below.

 

 

"Dear ....

 

CRS Ref No XXXXX

Xercise 4 Less Hull Ref No XXXXX

 

Further to your letter of 8th September 2014 we wish to advise that we cannot accept your statement regarding the facilities at Xercise 4 Less to be valid as Xercise have been voted by an independent body to be the best budget health club in the country for the past two years in a row.

 

With regards to Mr. Justice Kitchin's ruling, we believe you have misinterpreted his comments in regards to acceptable methods for terminating a membership agreement. This statement does not appear at all in Mr. Justice Kitchin's 240 point judgement outlining his thoughts on the case but instead only in his much briefer 32 point Penal Notice issued specifically to Ashbourne Management Services Limited, John Clayton-Wright and Dawne Clayton-Wright advising them of what action they should and should not take in light of the ruling. It is our understanding, therefore, that this only applied to Ashbourne Management Services Limited, John Clayton-Wright and Dawne Clayton-Wright, and has been ordered specifically because contracts 1-13 examined in that case (manufactured, recommended and supplied to Ashbourne Management Services Limited's clients by Ashbourne Management Services Limited) were found to be unfair and thus unenforceable. Any action which indicates a desire to end a membership entered into via one of these contracts should therefore be considered acceptable, as any attempt to hold a consumer to a contract deemed unfair by a judge is in itself unfair practice. Xercise 4 Less' contracts have not been supplied by Ashbourne Management Services Limited and have, to our knowledge, never been deemed unfair by a judge. There is, therefore, no reason to believe that terms which seek to limit when and how a member may terminate their agreement will not be enforceable in other instances.

 

To be clear, the addition of these charges in such circumstances is stipulated in the terms of your agreement. It is our position, based upon legal advice, that our charges are lawful and in line with all relevant guidance.

 

For the above reasons, we shall not be able to accept your offer of £9.99 as sufficient to settle your agreement, however, we can confirm that we shall be willing to negotiate on this balance and can make the following counter offers:

 

Initially, we shall be able to accept the sum of £170.75 as final settlement of the balance if paid in full within 30 days of this correspondence, which would still entitle you to use the facilities until 26th January 2015.

 

Secondly, we note that you have moved, and can confirm that it if your new address is more than fifteen miles from the club (the Hull branch, not just the nearest Xercise 4 Less) then you have the contractual right to terminate your membership by providing evidence of your current address (such as utility bill, bank statement, mortgage or tenancy agreement etc.

 

Thirdly, we shall be willing to accept payment of either the full balance (or a reduced balance after termination on the ground of relocation) in weekly, fortnightly, four weekly, monthly or quarterly instalments of any amount you can afford (subject to evidence of your income and expenditure if offering less than £10.00 per month), however, additional amounts may be added to your overall balance to cover our costs in working on the debt for a longer period of time. These depend on the method of payment and value of your instalments but typically would be as follows:

 

Payment by Direct Debit: £15.00 one off set up fee, £2.50 handling fee per instalment

Payment by any other method: £25.00 one off set up fee, £3.00 handling fee per instalment

 

Please note that we will never collect more than you agree to pay and that the set up and handling fees will be collected as part of that amount. Consequently, the higher the instalment amount, the lower the overall charges."

 

 

 

AAAAAAAAND BREATHE!

 

 

Sorry it is such a huge chunk of writing but it is a long letter. Basically, I'm wondering where I stand now as surely with me reply to correspondence at my address is proof enough that I live here and it is over 4 times the 15 mile distance away from the club they state which is part of the reason I cancelled in the first place! As for the offer to pay and use their facilities... I DON'T WANT TO! THAT'S WHY I CANCELLED!

 

It's like talking to a brick wall! Anyway, advice on what to do next would be greatly appreciated.

 

BGA

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Hi BGA,

 

You could reply to Harlands as follows but only say what YOU are comfortable with :-

 

I refer to your letter of xxdate.

 

I do not dispute whether you were voted best budget health club in the country for the past two years. I simply stated that the standards at the gym local to me after my recent move were unacceptable for the reasons stated.

 

I believe the AMSL High Court case set precedents which can be applied to similar cases. I therefore stand by my offer to pay you £9.99 to end this matter. I will leave this open for a further 14 days only.

 

If you are unwilling to accept my offer, do not bother writing to me as CRS, or asking a "legal" firm to make demands for you. Take court action so we can test whose beliefs are correct about the AMSL case.

 

I will pay you £9.99 and nothing more.

 

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Hi BGA,

 

I suggested this based on our experience with Harlands over the last 5+ years when I cannot recall a single court case made against our site users.

 

If you aren't comfortable inviting them to take court action, you could use this alternative for para.4 :-

 

If you are unwilling to accept my offer, do not bother writing to me as CRS, or asking a "legal" firm to make demands for you as I reserve the right to ignore further demands about this matter.

 

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Hi Slick,

 

I don't deny that you definitely know your stuff on the matter of CRS and I do like to entertain the idea of calling their court bluff. Maybe for now I'll write the bit about ignoring their demands and if they reply threatening court I'll call their bluff then. As you say though, in my past experience of A level law, I was under the impression these precedents do apply to similar cases and not one single case as they're stating. Also, they seem to be claiming that their fees and penalties are legal as they're in the terms and conditions but this is also not true is it?

 

BGA

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Hi BGA,

 

You should write what you want and are comfortable with.

 

Also, they seem to be claiming that their fees and penalties are legal as they're in the terms and conditions but this is also not true is it?

 

Correct ! The inclusion of penalty fees in the T&C's does not make such fees lawful or enforceable and we at CAG continue to maintain our stance on this issue.

 

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How about this as an alternative to paragraph 4?

 

"If you are unwilling to accept my offer, do not bother writing to me as CRS, or asking a "legal" firm to make demands for you. If you wish, take court action so we can test whose beliefs are correct about the Ashbourne Management Services Limited case. If not, I reserve the right to ignore further demands from yourselves about this matter."

 

It offers court action without being too abrasive?

 

BGA

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Yup, that looks fine to me ...........

 

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