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Xercise4Less/Harlands/Debt Management Plan


Danie1le
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I notice that there are quite a few Xercise4Less/Harlands threads here already so I'm sorry for adding yet another one!

 

I took out an 11 month membership with Xercise4Less in February 2015 and fully intended to see the contract out. However, over the last few months I have been facing increasing financial difficulty and have now started a Debt Management Plan with Step Change.

 

I need to make the first payment towards my plan of £488 today (2nd November) and having just switched my current account from NatWest to Halifax it has left me with virtually nothing once the payment has been made until I get paid on 18th November. From then on things should start to get easier now I am on the debt management plan and I can start budgeting and saving.

 

There was no way that I could afford to make the October payment of £9.99 to Xercise4Less so I had no choice but to cancel my Direct Debit. I informed my local Xercise4Less branch of this straight away by post and enquired about cancelling my contract early because of the Debt Management Plan. A girl from the branch rang me and said that while they couldn't cancel my membership for that reason themselves, head office should be able to do so, so I have written to them this week and I am waiting for a response.

 

In the meantime I received a letter from Harlands yesterday saying that I owe them £34.99. Octobers payment of £9.99 + a £25 administration charge. I have written back informing them that my contract is with Xercise4Less and not Harlands and that they they are dealing with my cancellation. I have told them that I will not be paying the £25 charge as it is unfair and unlawful.

 

I agree that I owe October's payment and if Xercise4Less don't agree to cancel my contract early I will be happy to resume paying until January 2016, but I will not be reinstating the Direct Debit until the £25 administration charge is removed.

 

Any advice is appreciated.

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Hi Danielle,

 

No apology needed for adding another Harlands thread.

 

You seem to have this well in-hand and I assume you've told X4Less about the DMP. Let us know how they reply.

 

Also, let us know how Harlands reply but don't expect any co-operation from them.

 

You are right to refuse to pay Harlands admin fee. If they refuse to waive their admin fees, I'd tell Harlands and the gym that you consider the agreement ended due to Harlands attempt to impose the fees.

 

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Thanks for your reply Slick.

 

I have told Xercise4Less about my Debt Management Plan in my original letter to my local gym as well as the one I sent to head office. I also mentioned it in the letter to Harlands.

 

When the girl rang me from my local gym she said they can only cancel contracts early themselves for relocation, long term injury, pregnancy or redundancy, but she mentioned that head office should be able to cancel it for me.

 

The terms and conditions state...

 

"14. Redundancy. The agreement can be cancelled upon appropriate proof or redundancy from your employer or other loss of livelihood"

 

Whether it's this "other loss of livelihood" part which Debt Management Plans might come under I have no idea.

 

I will let you know of any further developments.

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Hi Danielle,

 

I doubt you'll need to argue the issue about "loss of livelihood". Harlands are usually so insistent on chasing for their admin fees, they'll make it easier for you to cancel the agreement due to their failure to treat you fairly.

 

Can you say if the DMP has come about due to a loss or reduction of income or have debts just gradually built up.

 

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Hi Slick,

 

How confident are you that I would be able cancel the agreement if Harlands refuse to remove the admin charges?

 

My DMP is a result of my debts gradually building up over time. I have been stupid and also taken bad advice (mainly NatWest persuading me to consolidate a number of times) and as a result I have lived beyond my means for years, but I was so worried that my family would find out about my debts that I just borrowed more while continuing to enjoy the same lifestyle. Eventually in August/September this year I started getting refused for credit, I added up all my debts and it really shocked me that I owed almost £30k, I had thought it was less than half of that. My monthly payments were over £900 and as my take home pay is £1100 I was only getting by borrowing more, I now know how stupid that was and I have made mistakes. After doing some research I got in touch with Step Change and they have set up the DMP for me, I've also told my family now too, which I should have done years ago.

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Hi Danielle,

 

Good that you're now facing the problems head on, and that others know about your predicament.

 

X4Less might decide to treat your case sympathetically but only time will tell.

 

If you cancel the agreement unilaterally (because of Harlands admin fees), Harlands will not like it but there's very little they can, or will, do about it. They'll will make all the usual threats but they're highly unlikely to take the court action that they always refer to.

 

Other than being a pain in the backside, Harlands have no power or authority. You'll have faced far worse problems from creditors who DO actually litigate.

 

See how the gym's Head Office replies and we'll take it from there.

 

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Yes Danielle,

 

Harlands/CRS took a case to court here earlier this year - http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?431240-Harlands-CRS-**WITHDRAW-COURT-CLAIM**

 

You'll see they made a total hash of it from the very start and then withdrew the claim before any hearing !!

 

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Hi Slick,

 

Thanks for the link, that thread is very interesting.

 

No more updates from Xersize4Less or Harlands yet, however I have just read this on the citizens advice website, it suggests that I should be able to cancel due to my debts which gives me more hope.

 

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/changed-your-mind/cancelling-a-gym-membership/

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Hi Danielle,

 

Harlands are unlikely to agree that you could cancel in ANY circumstances other than redundancy, move of home or job location, or health issue.

 

I certainly doubt they'd accept the view of Citizen's Advice - that you could cancel because of a change of circumstances so you can't afford the payments. That's not how they work !

 

See how Harlands reply and we'll take it from there ...........

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Yes it is and the longer they take to reply, the better.

 

Relax and wait for them to write.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

You can ignore that silly little missive, it means nothing and it says nothing, although if you read between the lines it does say, we will continue to harass you and bleed you dry of money you don't owe.

 

Make a formal complaint to X4Less regarding their use of tin pot powerless debt collectors who seem to think they can add unlawful and unenforceable penalty fees, and that you will hold them ultimately responsible for their actions, especially concerning, but not limited to, harassment, be it by letter. phone or text message.

 

Another ace up your sleeve is the use of social media, I do believe X4Less have a facebook and twitter account?

Go give em some bad publicity.

 

And further to that, their is always the CMA, trading standards and BBC Watchdog, drop the latter a line and lets see if we can't get this gym back on the gogglebox for another slating.

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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I'd reply to Harlands saying :-

 

I have no intention of using the DMP to pay Harlands and will not give permission for you to discuss anything with StepChange.

 

If you insist on adding admin fees, I hereby terminate my gym membership as the fees you are adding are both unlawful and unenforceable.

 

Let us know how they reply.

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

I agree with BBoo.

 

Simply ignore Harlands for now and ignore them when they write as CRS.

 

Let us know if they pass it on the Zinc or Spratt Endicott (their current pet solicitor).

 

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Arhhhh, are they feeling sorry for themselves because no-one's talking too them, dear dear.....

 

A truly laughable missive, even by their standards! I'd send a copy of that to the FCA and CMA regarding the misleading statement about 'adding charges', it has been a very well known fact that a DCA or any variation thereof (Charlatans aka Harlands) cannot add any charges, and it's been that way for many years!

 

You're doing the right thing by ignoring them, I'd be mindful to complain to the gym aswell, regarding the actions of their chosen third party and their continued harassment.

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 Danielle,

 

If they think you're ignoring them, they're damned right !!

 

If they want to add on more of their spurious charges, let them add all they want. That doesn't mean you owe them a penny.

 

Continue to ignore Harlands/CRS.

 

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