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David Lloyd Gym Cancellation problems


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Hello there

 

I wonder if you can help me. I am also having trouble with David Lloyd and their bully debt collectors and solicitors.

 

I joined David Lloyd in April for 12 months but

 

 

due to sudden financial difficulties I called the branch in Eastbourne East Sussex in June to tell them I wish to cancel my membership.

 

 

Unfortunately, I called just a few days after my three month cooling period.

Nevertheless, I explained to someone in the office my situation

I was told they are unable to cancel unless it was for medical reason.

 

 

On 2nd July 2014, I wrote by recorded delivery to their head office in Hatfield Hertfordshire

which I found out was passed on to the Eastbourne branch and

 

 

a staff member called me to advise me that they will not be able to cancel my membership unless again it was for medical reason.

I decided I am no longer taking calls or making calls to them about this

and that every communication will be done via letters, recorded delivery.

 

 

On 12th July, I wrote back again to Hatfield Hertfordshire head office telling them my disappointment at the lack of understanding from their side.

I never received any response from David Lloyd except for harrassment calls from ARC Europe, a debt collector,

 

 

although my phone did not record or keep previous calls from this company,

I have registered all the phone numbers and blocked them

everytime ARC would call, it would be a new mobile number

I now have 13 mobile numbers in addition to the random 0845 numbers they sometimes call from.

I have not responded to any of ARC's calls because my dealings are with David Lloyd.

 

On 26th August, I received a letter from Stephen Empson, Group Central Membership Manager, based in Hatfield,

saying "they" had recently written to me which turned out to be via my old hotmail account

which had been hacked on 6th July and any emails sent to me from 7th July,

I have therefore been unable to open.

 

 

As Mr Empson's letter stated in his letter, they note the emails they sent remained unopened

and this was due to my Hotmail account being hacked and although it continues to receive,

me the user and owner is unable to access despite numerous attempts to recover the account but to no avail.

 

 

I have set up a new email account with Yahoo since and I explained this to Mr Empson in my letter of 22nd September

to which I also attached copies of my two previous letters to David Lloyd plus receipts of recorded delivery proofs.

 

In Mr Empson's letter, he asked that should I desire to end my mebership,

I am required to provide Club notification in writing of my intention to resign and serve the respective notice period

which includes completion of my initial commitment period.

 

 

Not only did I call my Club in Eastbourne but I also wrote to the head office on 2nd July

which was then passed on to the Eastbourne branch of my intention to cancel.

 

He clearly didn't even realised or was not informed about the two letters I already sent to the Hatfield head office explaining

and requesting cancellation of my membership otherwise he would have mentioned it in his letter but he was not even been made aware.

 

Around 6th September, I received a letter from ARC Europe demanding payment of £960.55 on behalf of David Lloyd.

There was no explanation of what this amount involved.

I assume it is for the remainder of the 12 months contract but seem much higher than what it should have been.

 

 

I have not responded to this letter but I mentioned to Mr Empson about it

and asked him to ask ARC Europe Ltd to stop their demands.

 

 

To date, I am still waiting for a response from Mr Empson to my letter of 22nd September.

 

In the meantime, yesterday, 6th September, I received a letter from a solicitor, Major & Co, based in Guildford Surrey d

emanding the same £960.55 and threatening to take me to Nottingham County Court plus an additional £226.84.

In their letter, they stated I should respond in 14 days if not they will go ahead with the county court proceedings.

 

What do you think I should do?

I don't want to go to County Court and pay all that money after I've given notice and explained to them why.

 

 

Do I write to David Lloyd first or directly with their solicitors who claimed I have not communicated with David Lloyd in any way,

obviously David Lloyd have not been communicating my letters outside to either ARC Europe Ltd or their solicitors.

David Lloyd is a horrible company and I swear never to deal with them again in future.

 

I would appreciate any help you can give me.

 

Kind regards

Jaydeeh

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Hi, welcome to CAG.

 

You are right to keep everything in writing. you need a paper trail of evidence, also keep a diary of events, and to save on cost, you can get ''proof of posting'' which is free from the PO counter.

 

All you need send this 'Major & Co' sols is a very brief letter stating that;

 

This account is in dispute with your client, which they are well aware of and fail to address, no correspondence will be entered into

with yourselves, if your client chooses to proceed with legal action then this will be defended robustly and all costs in doing so will be

claimed from your client.

 

Regards.

 

Did your employment circumstances change? Loss of job/hours?

 

Either way, if your financial circumstances have changed for the worse then they should be flexible, however, money is like blood to them.

What does your contract say regarding cancellation, length of it and any penalty fees/charges etc?

 

This seems a very high amount for a gym membership? Is there a reason why it is so high?

Who ever heard of someone getting a job at the Jobcentre? The unemployed are sent there as penance for their sins, not to help them find work!

 

 

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Hi Bazooka Boo

 

Thank you for your reply, I appreciate it.

 

I don't know what the amount involve as they have not shown a breakdown.

 

I signed up for 12 months on 9th April 2014 for me and my 10 y/o daughter.

 

At joining, I initially paid £139.56 :

 

£18.23 = pro-rata for my daughter

£54.23 = pro-rata for me

£36.00 = set up fee for me

£11.00 = set up fee for my daughter

£10.00 = 2 weeks guest ticket

£10.00 = 2 weeks guest ticket

 

A direct debit was set taking out £98.75 supposedly every month starting from 1st May 2014 but my bank statements showed my account was debited £98.98 for three months : May, June and July prior to me cancelling my direct debit as I didn't want my account to go into red and this was after I gave my notice to David Lloyd of my wish to cancel my membership both verbally and in writing.

 

At the back of my contract sheet (yellow) the guy who signed me up wrote manually "notice by 31/12/14, to finish on 12 months".

 

The actual contract says in heading "Ending your memberhsip" :

 

"You can end your membership only by giving us notice. Stopping paying your fees is not the same as giving notice. If you stop paying, but do not give us notice, you will continue to have to pay the fees.

 

Giving us notice means writing to us or sending us an email telling us that you want to end your membership."

 

I have not only called to give verbal notice to cancel my membership but I also wrote a letter, recorded delivery.

 

What more do they want?

 

I think hey have been very unprofessional. They have not acknowledged my letters at all. I am still waiting for a response directly from David Lloyd but all I've received are threatening letters from ARC Europe Ltd and Major & Co Solicitors.

 

What grounds do I have?

 

Your help and thoughts on this would be much appreciated.

 

Many thanks.

 

Jaydeeh

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No worries.

 

You have done all you have been contractually obliged to do, in respect of giving them plenty of notice in their required format.

 

Simply tell the Sol's that this is disputed with the gym, and they should either hand it back to them to deal with, OR, instruct court proceedings where you will defend in full and issue a counter claim.

Who ever heard of someone getting a job at the Jobcentre? The unemployed are sent there as penance for their sins, not to help them find work!

 

 

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Hi there

 

Yes I think I have but DL have failed not only to acknowledge my letters but they have not bothered to reply to any of them.

 

I hope BBC Rip Off Britain put them on the spotlight and their associated debt collectors and solicitors to highlight to people who might be thinking of joining their gym NOT to join to not fall in the same trap.

 

I have just written to the Sol informing them of my letters of cancellation as well as a letter in response to DL's Group Central M'ship Manager demanding payment but failed to mention any of my letters and asked them to stop demanding and threatening me otherwise I will report them to OFT. I didn't want to threaten back strongly though so I hope that is OK.

 

I told them the dispute is with DL and DL alone and I will deal only with DL in writing via post not email or text or phone call.

 

Any thoughts?

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Just to clarify, DL's Group Central M'ship Manager demanded payment per his letter of 26 August but he failed to mention any of my letters I sent to DL requesting cancellation of my m'ship.

 

I asked their Sol to stop demanding and threatening me otherwise I will report them to OFT.

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Hi Jaydeeh,

 

As this is a 12 month agreement, you cannot cancel before the 12 months is up expect for illness or injury, moving home or redundancy. Do any of these apply to you.

 

Even if you weren't made redundant, you could request a cancellation if your income was significantly reduced and you could show this with payslips. This would be at the discretion of the gym.

 

I do not know of a 3 month cooling-off period with DL m/ships. Uniquely however, DL requires a lengthy 3 month notice period when you want to cancel, but you can only cancel once the initial minimum m/ship term is up. Most other gyms require one month's notice when the minimum m/ship term is up.

 

:-)

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As BBoo says, the briefest of letters to Major should see them off for the time being.

 

Any complaint about them would be made to Trading Standards or the SRA. The OFT no longer exists.

 

However, from what I have read so far, I fear it may be you that is in the wrong. :-(

 

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That 3 month cancellation period is now unfair and was deemed as such by the then OFT, I'll try and dig out the exact

document which states this.....

Who ever heard of someone getting a job at the Jobcentre? The unemployed are sent there as penance for their sins, not to help them find work!

 

 

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Hi BBoo,

 

I'm not aware of any ruling or guidance about DL's harsh 3 month cancellation requirement.

 

They're the only mainstream gym requiring 3 month's notice but I recommend that CAG users challenge this item of the T&C's that DL use.

 

If I'm wrong and there IS some guidance that suggets DL is acting unfairly, please confirm as there are many CAG users who will use this.

 

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Ha ha, I must have dreamt that little piece of info, as I can't find hide nor hair of it!!!

 

This is the only bit of archived info I have from the OFT (now FCA) and it seems that DL are no strangers to being hauled over the coals for their unfair terms.

http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20140402142426/http://www.oft.gov.uk/news-and-updates/press/2013/21-13

Who ever heard of someone getting a job at the Jobcentre? The unemployed are sent there as penance for their sins, not to help them find work!

 

 

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Hi slick123

 

I asked to cancel due to unexpected sudden financial difficulties and had to cut on a lot of things to help me back on track and to me, logically, the gym is one of the obvious cuts to help me.

 

Re the three month "cooling period"… when I called to ask to cancel my membership, the woman I spoke to said they could've cancelled it had I called earlier because apparently I just missed that three months and so I will have to wait for the rest of the 12 months to finish and that's when I followed it up with letters.

 

Am I in the wrong here? They have not offered me alternatives as I have not received any letters from them in response to those I sent?

 

What do I do?

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Ha ha, I must have dreamt that little piece of info, as I can't find hide nor hair of it!!!

 

That's still a useful link even though it doesn't say DL's 3 month cancellation requirement is unfair.

 

In particular, it says the OFT got the gyms to agree to :-

 

Extended rights for members to cancel their contracts early should their circumstances change in a way that makes attendance at the gym difficult or unaffordable - for example if they lose their jobs or suffer an injury

 

I see no reason why this can't be used to argue about a reduction in income being valid grounds to cancel. We've recommended this before.

 

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I don't have payslips to show as I am not working at the moment.

 

I have written a follow-up letter to my letter last month to DL's Group Central M'Ship Manager and I will also send a letter to Major & Co for now. Hopefully, DL will reply back. I'll let you know.

 

Have a good day, all :-)

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Hi Jaydeeh,

 

It's not about whether you're in the right here. To my mind, this is about you needing to give the gym enough info so they can use discretion to release you from the agreement. And we can work on this.

 

The gym doesn't have an obligation to "help" you or even to reply to letters, emails or calls. One would reasonably expect them to reply to communications, up to a point. But, unless you've moved, been ill or injured, or made redundant, DL have the right to try to hold you accountable for an agreement that you made with them.

 

In real terms, if you have to cut back on expenses because of financial difficulty, a gym agreement is an obvious target.

 

Can you please confirm, have you suffered a reduction in income or an unexpected increase in outgoings, that you could prove. This would help in making an approach to DL seeking to cancel on the grounds of Financial Difficulty.

 

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Just seen your post #15 above.

 

Can you confirm if you've suffered redundancy since joining.

 

Or maybe you're self employed and income has dropped.

 

If you give us some info, we'll do our best to help.

 

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Hi slick132

 

I am not working at all at the moment and my boiler packed up and radiators which all needed replacing and took a huge chunk of my small and only savings as a result and that's what made me look at my current financial situation and thought I cannot afford things like gym m'ship until I can get back on track financially again.

 

I just wanted DL to offer alternatives to resolve and get round this problem but I have not received any response from them. I wondered what is the point of them asking members to write to cancel if they will not or cannot acknowledge anything, at least to say they received my letter.

 

I don't like their tactics of going straight to debt collectors and solicitors rather than communicating with members directly. It is very unprofessional. Here I am thinking and awaiting their letter but turns out to be threatening letters from other people working with them.

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Hi JD,

 

Ouch, new boiler and rads !! That's a chunk of money to find !

 

I get what you're saying - DL could have dealt better with your communications. But if they're not offering you any solutions, you have to find them for yourself.

 

Firstly, do not be intimidated by contact from ARC. They'll threaten plenty but it's mostly hot air and hardly any gym cases ever go to court. We also maintain that admin fees added for late payment are not lawful or enforceable. Write to them to confirm you are trying to reach agreement with the gym and they should stop collection activity to allow this. Just send a copy to Major & Co and that should see them off as well.

 

Secondly, if you're not working now, can you confirm if you were made redundant or unable to work within the last 12 months.

 

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Hi slick132

 

Yeah a big awful hurtful chunk of money out of pocket but you know in this country one needs heating! Even DL needs heating otherwise they won't have any staff or members!

 

I have not been working for awhile being a single mom myself.

 

I have written to Major & Co separately because they threatened to go ahead with Court proceedings if I don't reply within 14 days of their 03 October letter and without further notice. In their letter this is what they outlined as far as fees are concerned:

 

£ 960.55 = DL balance

£ 70.00 = court fee

£ 80.00 = Major & Co's fees

£ 76.84 = annual interest (to be adjusted pro rata)

----------

£1187.39

 

Then they added that the issue of Court proceedings will mean that the amount "I owe DL" will increase by £226.84.

 

What do you think of that?

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Hi JD,

 

Don't worry about Major & Co's demands for now. We've not seen a single case of theirs go to court ! You may not even get a reply from them.

 

Let's concentrate on DL instead ..............

 

I think a letter from you, or better still, from the CAB should be sent to DL's Head Office. No need for so much detail as referred to above - better off to keep it really short and simple. You could say something like:-

 

I am a single mother with no earnings and I rely on State Benefits for living expenses.

 

When I signed with your gym at xxxxxx [Location], I could just manage to pay for this each month relying partly on a small amount of savings.

 

However, due to the huge and unexpected cost of replacing my boiler and radiators, I am now unable to afford the DL monthly fees. CAB advised me to cancel the gym agreement as it is not a necessity at a time when I'm falling into debt. The DD Mandate was stopped around xxdate.

 

I have tried my best to explain my situation and have written to DL no less than xx times. Indeed, I still await a reply from Mr Stephen Empson, Group Central Membership Manager to my letter of 22nd September.

 

The only communications I have received are demands and threats from ARC Europe and Major & Co.

 

I now request that you release me from the gym agreement on the basis that I cannot afford it on my limited income. In view of the previous failures to communicate with me, please let me have your response within 7 days.

 

What do you think ?

 

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Hey slick132

 

Thank you so much for your help with this matter.

 

I will seek advise from CAB tomorrow, if I can speak or see someone asap.

 

I shall then write the letters bearing in mind your guidelines above.

 

I don't want to panic but am very wary of solicitors with their threatening tactics.

 

I hope they don't send me another letter. I don't wish to receive a County Court judgement or even go there.

 

Kind regards

JD

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Hi JD,

 

Major &Co and ARC want you to panic, which is why they act as they do.

 

We've been dealing with many similar cases here for years and I can assure you this is a very long way from any court or a CCJ.

 

If CAB can't write a letter for you, let us know and we'll do it for you as a personal letter to DL.

 

:-)

Edited by slick132
typo

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Hi slick132

 

I wrote a follow-up letter to DL's Group Central M'ship Manager and copied both ARC & Major & Co.

 

Hopefully that will stop them harassing me. If only DL will reply, they are making a small situation complicated unnecessarily. They don't even have the logic or sense in that, instead of using all the money they spend paying their debt collectors and solicitors, they can improve their facilities or better still reduce their membership prices to make it more affordable for people like me and everyone else.

 

I'll let you know what happens next.

 

Kind regards

JD

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