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Clueless Dan

CRS/Harlands Hone Gym misleading information

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Hi everyone, I’ve been having issues with Harland/CRS and have had a few correspondence go back and forth with the help of this forum but I’m a little stuck with what to do next now and would love some advice. I appreciate that this is a little long winded but I didn’t want to leave anything important out…

The story so far;

After visiting Hone Gym is and chatting to a staff member they informed me that I could pay £20 for a months membership with no obligation, I made what I believed to be a one off payment with the website being what I perceive now to be heavily misleading. I didn’t realise until 9 months later that they had continued to deduct £20 from my account every month. I immediately cancelled the DD, had my bank raise an indemnity claim and thought no more about it.

 

Roughly a month later on the 23/07/15 I received a letter from Harlands stating I had ignored their first letter (which I never received) and that the £179.91 that had been refunded was now £204.91 to include their admin fees. I replied with the following;


 

Re; Hone Gym Membership

Ref No: edited

 

Regarding your statement that a letter dated 3rd of July was sent to me at my address, no letter was received. Please forward a copy of this letter.

 

An indemnity claim was made as I had only authorised one payment to be debited from my account, not nine.

 

The Hone Gym website has demonstrably been updated a number of times and has subsequently changed its wording to make it clear that further payments will be automatically debited. This was not the case when I approved a registration payment and a one month membership payment to be taken and goes against what I was told by senior staff at the gym. Namely, that I would have to action the payment each month and that I would receive a new pin for entry.

 

As I was provided with misleading information regarding the ongoing deduction of funds from my account and the terms of the membership I consider this to be a breach of Section 5, CPUTR 2008.

 

Please respond within 14 days or a complaint to the OFT will be made without further notice.

 

Kind Regards

 

Clueless Dan

 

On 14/08/15 CRS sent a letter covered in bold red lettering stating they’d been employed by Harlands and I now owed £278.68.

 

This was my reply;

 

Dear Mr Avery

 

Re; CRS Ref No: edited

Harlands Ref. No:edited

 

As I stated in my previous letter, the information provided to me both on the website and by staff members in the gym was misleading. I did not authorise the ongoing deduction of funds from my account after the first month and I consider this to be a breach of Section 5, CPUTR 2008.

 

Firstly, with reference to the above account, I request that you send me a true copy of the credit agreement, signed by Daniel Johnson and entitled “IMPORTANT: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY”.

 

I understand that this is my right under the legislation contained within section 77 (1) and section 78 (1) of the Consumer Credit Act 1974, and am entitled to receive a copy of my credit agreement on request.

 

Your obligation also extends to providing me with a statement of account. I enclose a £1 postal order which represents payment of the statutory fee payable under the Consumer Credit Act. I understand that a copy of my credit agreement should be supplied within 12 working days from the date of this letter.

 

I understand that under the Consumer Credit Act, creditors are unable to enforce an agreement if they fail to comply with a request for a copy of the agreement under these sections of the Act.

 

Also, since you are a debt collection agency, I would also ask that you supply a signed true copy of the executed deed of assignment for the above referenced agreement. This is an obligation, whether you are the original creditor or not, under section 189 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974.

 

In summary, I DO NOT ACKNOWLEDGE THIS DEBT AND THEREFORE REQUIRE YOU TO SUBSTANTIATE THIS BY PROVIDING THE FOLLOWING DOCUMENTATION BEFORE I CORRESPOND FURTHER :

 

1. True copy of original credit agreement

2. Statement of account

3. Copy of the executed deed of assignment from Hones Gym to Credit Resolution Services

 

 

As you are aware, a credit agreement that is not properly documented and signed by the customer is totally unenforceable under the CCA and therefore is a complete defence to any court claim that is issued.

 

Secondly, I draw your attention to the OFT guidelines on debt collection:

 

Charging for debt collection

 

2.9 Charges should not be levied unfairly.

 

2.10 Examples of unfair practices are as follows:

 

a. Claiming collection costs from a debtor in the absence of express contractual or other legal provision.

 

b. misleading debtors into believing they are legally liable to pay collection charges when this is not the case, for example, when there is no contractual provision

 

d. applying unreasonable charges, for example, charges not based on actual and necessary costs

 

e. applying charges which are disproportionate to the main debt.

 

I consider your charge of £73.77 to be disproportionate to the main debt and not based on actual and necessary costs.

 

 

Take note at this stage, that any legal action you may contemplate will be both vigorously defended and contested and consider this matter to be “in dispute”.

 

 

Thanks in advance and I hope to hear from you within the statutory time limit.

 

 

I look forward to hearing from you.

 

 

Yours faithfully,

 

 

clueless Dan

 

 

On 12/09/15 I received this reply.

 

 

[ATTACH=CONFIG]59298[/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG]59299[/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG]59300[/ATTACH]

 

 

Where can I go from here? I’m starting my second year of uni this week so really don’t need the stress and can’t afford the expense of just paying out. I appreciate that I could have been a little more thorough in reading through the documentation but took the staff at their word which was in keeping with the misleading wording of the website…

 

Any advice would be hugely appreciated,

 

Kind Regards

 

Dan

Edited by slick132

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Sorry the images are so small, as a new member I can't post hyperlinks or attach larger images. The major points they made were;

 

They aren't bound by the Consumer Credit Act as it's a minimum term membership agreement.

They don't own the debt as they are acting as an agent.

The OFT 2011 guidelines make no reference to "proportionate" charges.

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Hi Dan,

 

I'm removing the identifying names from above and will reply fully in a mo .................

 

:-)


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Hi Dan and welcome to CAG

 

Avoid using your real name, reference numbers or anything else that identifies you. Always a good idea on open forums. Also, I'm removing the documents as they showed all your personal details including address ! :wink:

 

If you want to post up any documents, hide all identifiers and convert to a PDF. See post #7 here - http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?444501-Barclays-Partner-Finance-Clyesdale-financial-services-reclaiming-charges&p=4725968&viewfull=1#post4725968

 

I doubt we need to see the documents as we've seen so much of what Harlands/CRS say. Funny how Harlands and CRS have different Ref. Nos. because they're the same outfit operating from the same office. They just use different letterheads.

 

You were right to use Section 5, CPUTR in your letter but there's no credit involved so CCA1974 doesn't apply.

 

Writing long letters to Harlands/CRS is usually unproductive - they just love to reply with long letters in supporting their assertions. However, most of what we see them writing is rubbish designed to scare folk into paying up !

 

Back shortly :-)


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Experience dealing with Harlands/CRS suggests that you need to write to them in short and simple terms setting out your position. After that, it may be best to ignore their demands and assertions.

 

While you're at Uni, can you receive mail safely or can it still be sent to your home and monitored properly. It's important that you know what Harlands/CRS are up to at all times.

 

1. When you signed up for the trial, did you sign a paper form or use a "tick box" on their computer system.

 

2. Are you 100% certain you did not use the gym beyond the 1 month trial.

 

3. Is there any reason you failed to notice the £20 per month still going out by DD. Maybe your statements were going home while you were at your first year at Uni ?

 

4. Have you taken historical screenshots to show how the gym agreement T&C's have been altered since you signed. You can look back to see "Internet Archive" pages. I think this would be helpful to your case.

 

Ignore Harlands/CRS for now. They have no power or authority to make you do, or pay, anything.

 

:-)


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Hi Slick, thanks for getting back so quickly.

 

1. It was a tick box on a computer.

 

2. Absolutely, didn't step inside the place after the first month.

 

3. There were no statements by post, email or any other method. No notification was given of recurring charges. After returning from being outside of the country for a while I had to set up a few direct debts in quick succession, I just didn't pick up on it. It was my sloppy financial management but my focus was elsewhere...

 

4. They have sent me a screenshot of an email sent to me on the day of joining with my pin, querie info and some way down the page one line it says one month of minimum term payments will continue. They have also sent me a screenshot of this, whatever it is...

 

I've had a look using a site called wayback machine, it shows there have been a couple of alterations but doesn't show what they are.

 

fr[ATTACH=CONFIG]59312[/ATTACH]

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Hi Dan,

 

It would be worth you doing a bit more research to see if you can find any version of the simple T&C's that have been changed since you joined.

 

Re the document in your post above, is there anything else said, such as you needing to give a month's notice to cancel.

 

:-)


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Slick,

 

It doesn't appear that the T&C's have been altered.

 

Yes, its stated in section 10 of their T&C's that there's a 30 day cancellation notice.

 

Do you think that my negligence to have read the small print correctly after been mislead by the staff and general lack of transparency on the website will mean that I am liable for the membership cost?... :pout:

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Hi Dan,

 

I DO think you were complacent in not checking your bank statements or online banking and spotting the ongoing DD payments.

 

However, if you genuinely believe you were deliberately misled when signing up, you have a good case to argue for your entitlement to the refund of DD's under the DD Guarantee Scheme. In this case, I don't think you even need to offer them payment for the 30 days notice period.

 

I asked above if you are sure you will continue to get letters, whether sent to your home address or to your Uni address.

 

:-)

  • Confused 1

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Hi Dan,

 

Am I right in thinking you're now waiting for their response to your letter above.

 

If so, just let us know how they reply.

 

:-)


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No, the last correspondence was from them and included the T&C's and the screenshots. These were the main points they made;

 

They aren't bound by the consumer credit Act as it's a minimum term membership agreement.

They don't own the debt as they are acting as an agent.

The OFT 2011 guidelines make no reference to "proportionate" charges.

 

They haven't made any reference to what will happen if I don't act which frankly worries me more!

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Please don't let them WORRY you at all - they are pretty harmless and cannot do much at all, as I've said earlier.

 

Do you want me to draft a letter to tell Harlands where to go, politely of course !

 

:-)


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If it doesn't put you out at all I would be massively appreciative, definitely on the Christmas card list! :'D

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Letter to Harlands :-

 

Dear sir,

 

Hone Gym Ref No xxxxxxx

 

I am a student and have now returned to my Uni but you can use my home address.

 

When at the gym in 2014, I was told very clearly that I could use the gym for a month without any ongoing obligation. I was told this by the staff member who took my details for the payment. I maintain that I was deliberately mislead into signing a 12 month agreement.

 

I used the gym during that first month but not after. I had no idea that further payments would be taken and that is why I reclaimed them using the DD Guarantee Scheme.

 

I will not pay Harlands any more, either for gym fees or for your admin fees.

 

I do not have the time to continue with protracted correspondence, nor do I have the money to pay your excessive demands.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

Let us know how they reply. Next stage will probably be to ignore them.

 

:-)


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Slick, in reference to the staff member taking my details for payment. I signed up using my home computer and in one of the screenshot images of their system it shows what computer was used...

 

Should I change the letter to reflect this?

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Hi Dan,

 

Are you saying you visited the gym, you were told by the staff member that you could pay just one month's fee, and then you joined online using your home computer ?

 

Looking at their website, the 2 options are :-

 

Option 1 - £17pm on a 12 month agreement plus £20 joining fee.

 

Option 2 - £20pm with no contract plus £20 joining fee.

 

Which did you agree to when you joined.

 

:-)


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Hi Dan,

 

I've seen their website, as I said above, and I think the reality is different from the picture you painted in your first post.

 

The staff were correct in saying you could pay £20 a month with no obligation.

 

You set up a standing order and left it active even though you chose not to use the gym. This was negligent on your part and I don't think you have the right to reclaim the DD payments.

 

Of course, it's up to you how you deal with this. But I think you should offer to pay Harlands the DD's that were refunded to you but ONLY if they agree to waive all admin fees.

 

Alternatively, you could continue to argue with Harlands and see how they play it out.

 

Let us know what you think and we can help draft a letter if you decide to offer to pay them.

 

:-)


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I understand what you're saying, and yes I'm am largely responsible but it wasn't as straight forward as the staff member just starting I could pay £20 a month with no obligation. His explanation truly led me to believe that it was a one off payment and when that month was up is was up, my key code wouldn't work, etc etc. My negligence was in steaming through the sign up and not checking the T&Cs and not picking up on the DD's sooner.

 

I agree with you, not picking it up sooner was my fault so I'm willing to offer the membership fee. I'm not willing to pay anything on top of that though as I do believe that I wasn't wholly at fault...

 

Sorry for the confusion, I wouldn't have deliberately mislead you as it invalidates any advice given. Thanks again for your help.

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Hi Dan,

 

I'm not being critical or accusatory - I'm just saying how I feel about your case now we have more info.

 

How you deal with this is entirely up to you and we'll assist as best we can.

 

If you want to fight your position saying you were misled in the gym, we'll help.

 

Or, if you want to offer to pay the gym fees but not admin fees, we'll also help.

 

Let us know .............

 

:-)


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I personally would feel it fair to offer them the money for the membership but not the fees. They'll have had 9 months payments at no cost to them as I haven't used the facilities, as I feel they have been misleading I feel this is fair for both parties involved. If you have a suitable template or could structure a letter I'd be very grateful. As soon as my student finance arrives I'll be sure to make a contribution as your help has been amazing. :) Thanks in advance...

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Ok, letter to Harlands to be sent by post and get a free Certificate of Posting from the PO. Change anything I have wrong or left out before you send it :-

 

Dear Harlands,

 

Hone Gym Membership

 

I refer to previous exchanges about my membership and my view that I was misled by gym staff.

 

You already know that I reclaimed 9 DD payments using the DD Guarantee Scheme.

 

I have reconsidered my position and am now willing to pay you £179.91 for the 9 months. However, I will not pay any admin fees added by Harlands/CRS.

 

If you confirm in writing within 14 days that you accept my offer in full settlement of this matter, I will pay you.

 

If you make any higher demands, they will be ignored and my offer will be withdrawn.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

Let us know how they respond.

 

:-)


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