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Unpaid Harlands Gym Membership

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Hello.

 

I stumbled upon this forums and read a lot. I found it very useful

and would like to share my issue here and see if I can get any help.

 

I joined a gym in May and agreed a Direct Debit with Harlands for a minimum of 6 months. Our agreement provides me with an option to freeze/cancel it if I move away from the gym ( a couple of miles). In July I left the country and told the gym that I want my membership frozen as I am going abroad for an internship, which ends in Sept, but I may stay longer and don't know when I will be back.

A few days ago I had my post forwarded to me by my ex flatmate. Apparently, the gym employee froze the membership only for Aug and Sept and it was reinstated in Oct. She did send me an email in July, but I just saw it as I thought that the matter was done at the time. I have never agreed to it or replied to it. In the meantime, Harlands sent me two letters, which were forwarded to me two days ago, that I owe them money, which were both after the date of reinstatement of my membership. I canceled my DD a few days after the collection date in Oct. There was no money in the bank for the DD to be collected.

 

Now Harlands claim that I owe them two months of membership + some admin charges of 25, a total of 215 and that if I do not pay them, they'll pass it to a debt collection agency. I argued with them, that they should have frozen the membership indefinitely, as per my instructions. Also I told them, that it is a bit sneaky of them to contact me via post, when they know that I am abroad, and that we have already established communication via email.

 

They also told me that I should have replied to that last email. However, I expressly said that I want my membership frozen and did not state any period.

 

What are my options? What can they do about it?

Edited by TicTacRulz

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Hi TicTac and welcome to CAG

 

How did you inform the gym that you wanted to freeze the m/ship - in person or by letter/email.

 

You actually had the right to terminate the agreement on the basis of leaving the country so, if Harlands want to play hardball, you can tell them that the agreement is to be treated as terminated from when you left the UK unless they agree to stop trying to add their admin fees.

 

You will be aware, from other threads, that we always advise that their admin fees are unenforceable penalties. So whatever happens, you should not pay their admin fees.

 

:-)


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In July, I sent them an email stating I want my membership frozen, as I will leave the country to start an internship abroad. I said that the membership ends in Sept. But I also said that I do not know when I will be back. My exact words were "I am not really sure when I will be back. The internship ends on 20th of September." I told them when the internship ended, only to indicate that that will be the minimum period. A few days ago, I saw that she did reply to my email in July saying

"Unless I hear from you, payments will resume again on the 21st October

so if you need your membership freezing further please let me know in

late September or by very early October."

However I have never agreed to or replied to this email.

 

Thank you very much for your advice.

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Hi TicTac,

 

Was your email sent to the gym, as opposed to Harlands.

 

And was the reply you received in July from the gym, or Harlands.

 

:-)


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It doesn't matter about you not replying to that email in July. If you were out of the country and busy doing other things, you had no need to correspond with the gym until you returned to the UK.

 

Do you want to start using the gym again, so long as Harlands agree NOT to try and collect any admin fees ?

 

:-)


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Wel,l I may when i get back. My flight is on the 16 of Jan. I will decide by then. I am only worried about the last email. Does the fact that I did not reply mean that I have agreed to it?

I am also worried about them claiming the 2 DDs for Oct and Nov. It was an MMA gym, so the fee was 70 per month. I certainly do not want to pay them. They did not get any of them as I had no money in my acc in Oct, and I canceled the DD immediately after I saw the failed transaction.

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Hi TT,

 

The fact that you failed to reply to the email in July does NOT mean you agreed to what the gym said. As I said above, if you were out of the UK working, you had no compulsion to reply to the gym's email.

 

The DD is cancelled so Harlands are unable to take any further fees using the DD mandate.

 

I would just reply to the gym by email saying :-

 

I have just been made aware that Harlands are making demands for gym fee payments and admin fees in respect of my frozen membership. I am still out of the UK and will remain so to the end of the year, and beyond.

 

I require that you ensure Harlands make no further demands.

 

When I learned that Harlands tried to take a payment in October while I remained out of the UK, I had to cancel the DD mandate as my account did not have adequate funds to pay the DD.

 

The DD will not be reinstated unless and until Harlands agree to cancel any admin fees they are demanding.

 

Let us know how the gym reply and ignore Harlands completely for now. If you hear from CRS, they are simply Harlands wearing their DCA hat and operating from the same office.

 

:-)


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I will send the email first thing in the morning and keep you posted.

 

Thank you very much for your help!

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Update:

 

Just got this email from the gym. Any advice on how should I act?

 

"Thank you for your email.

 

As you will see from our correspondence below, we agreed to freeze

your membership in August and September. If you needed to extend this

freeze, or indeed cancel your membership, I asked you to let me know.

If you had needed to cancel it I would have asked you for some proof

as to the change of your address - as stipulated in your contract.

You did not contact either myself or Harlands and hence your

membership resumed in October.

 

Because you did not contact me, or Harlands, the team at Harlands have

obviously gone to some lengths to try to contact you to ascertain what

your intentions were/are. As they have spent considerable time/costs

doing this I am afraid I cannot ask them to cease their work or to

cancel any administration charges."

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Hi TTR,

 

My suggested reply to the gym:-

 

I refer to your email of xxdate.

 

Due to my absence from the UK, I was not accessing emails and was unaware that you wanted to be told if I wanted the freeze extended beyond September.

 

In any event, the charges that Harlands seek to impose are unlawful penalties which are unenforceable at law.

 

If you do not tell them to waive these charges, I consider the gym and Harlands to be in breach of contract and terminate our agreement forthwith.

 

Alternatively, if you tell Harlands to waive their fees, I will contact you on my return to the UK with a view to unfreezing my membership and reinstating my DD mandate.

 

Let me know what you decide.

 

:-)


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Just got this, rather rude email lol:

"I am so sorry that you didn't understand the following key sentences,

"Just to confirm, I have asked Harlands to freeze your membership in

August and September. Unless I hear from you, payments will resume

again on the 21st October so if you need your membership freezing

further please let me know in late September or by very early October."

 

It is not possible for Harlands to freeze students' memberships for an

indefinite period which is why I asked you for dates that you would be

away and wrote the above.

 

The agreement you signed is quite clear and perfectly lawful although

I am sorry that you have not taken on board some of its finer points.

 

I have copied in the team at Harlands and, as previously requested,

please direct any further queries to them. "

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The gyms fobbing you off, or more so the muppet who thinks he knows better than your rights.


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 TTR

 

What a shocking way for the gym to deal with you, their customer. Your reply to them could be :-

 

I refer to your email of xxdate which was unnecessarily rude and unprofessional. I assume from your attitude that you do not care if I resume my membership or not.

 

Accordingly, I will deal with Harlands from now on and will not be re-attending the gym.

 

Then, just let us know when you hear from the charmers at Harlands.

 

:-)

Edited by slick132

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Hey,

Thanks for the help so far.

 

I did send the gym the proposed email, and got back an email from Harlands

saying that, if I do not contact them before 10. Dec, further action will be taken on my account.

 

What does that even mean? More ridiculous £25 charges? Any advice/ideas on what should I do?

 

Thanks :)

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Hi TTR,

 

You could now respond to Harlands like this :-

 

I refer to your email of xxdate.

 

I have already made the gym aware that my membership was to be suspended from August 2014, due to my absence from the UK which continues to date.

 

The gym has now referred me to Harlands and I understand they have copied you in on correspondence to date.

 

Due to the gym now refusing to deal with me, and due to the imposition by Harlands of admin fees that are unlawful and unjustifiable, I consider the membership to be terminated with immediate effect.

 

If you contact me as Harlands or CRS making further demands, I will make a formal complaint to Trading Standards.

 

You must not pass this matter on to any other party such as Zinc or Major & Co. Such referral would be a clear breach of the OFT Debt Collection Guidelines and reportable to Trading Standards.

 

See how they reply. :-)


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Thanks slick.

 

I will send the email first thing in the morning and keep you updated. I appreciate the help :)

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Update:

 

Got this email today, I took them some time, usually they reply within a couple of hours.

 

"We can confirm that your membership will not be terminated as you are still within your contracted period.

 

Your are more than welcome to seek legal advice on the matter. "

 

Any ideas? I can get proof of address from my bank, stating my new address abroad, if anyone thinks that will help.

Also I can't help but notice that they do not mention anything about any fees, charges etc.

 

Thanks for the help!

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Hi TTR.

 

My reply to them would be :-

 

I refer to your email of 8th December.

 

In view of your intransigence, and for reasons already made in my earlier communications, I will not be corresponding with you further.

 

Further demands from Harlands, CRS, Zinc and/or Major and Co will be referred to Trading Standards by way of formal complaint.

 

After that, I'd be inclined to ignore them, apart from giving them your address once you've returned to the UK. If you fail to do this, there's a tiny chance they could start court action which you know nothing about because they used an old address. If you failed to reply, they could get a CCJ against you in default of your response.

 

:-)


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Will do slick.

Any idea what are the chances of them obtaining a CCJ against me? Also, should I send them proof of address just in case, attached to the email?

 

Thanks for your help!

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Hi TTR,

 

If you follow the advice and ensure Harlands/CRS have your current address when you return to the UK, chances of any court action are approximately zero.

 

:-)


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Hello Again, So the story continues.

 

I came back to the UK on the 16th. I just got a call from CRS. They told me that I owe them around 380 pounds. I explained that I am not paying that, and that Harlands fees are unenforceable etc. The lady told me, that she does not have my correspondence with Harlands and does not know what I am talking about.

 

I gave them my new address and that I am not paying anything. She said I should make written submissions to collection@creditresultion.co.uk and that they will pursue the matters further.

 

Any advice on what should I do?

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Hi TTR

 

Write a brief letter to Harlands now saying :-

 

Further to my last letter, I write to confirm my new address which is :-

 

5, High Street,

Town

County

Postcode

 

As previously advised, I will not make any further payment to you as this matter is in clear dispute.

 

Do not call me again, as Harlands or as CRS.

 

If you continue your collection activity, your actions will be reported as a formal complaint to Trading Standards.

 

Send by RM Signed For post, or get a free Certificate of Posting from the Post Office, so you have proof of posting.

 

If Harlands/CRS call again, or if Zinc call you, tell them to keep contact in writing only, then hang up the phone !!

 

:-)


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Hey guys, heres an update of my circumstances.

just got a letter from Zinc saying I have an outstanding amount of 387.60 ( has raised a lot since last time).

They are also offering me a one off payment of 290.70.

 

Any advice on what should I do?

 

Thanks,

Kris

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