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Hi, hope you can advise. Both my husband and myself joined this gym in February 2015 but due to my husband's ill health and not being able to work, we could no longer afford to pay the £9.99 each per month so I cancelled the direct debit a week ago. However, we have received two letters from Harlands stating that we each should pay £34.99 to clear the arrears. £9.99 membership plus £25 admin fee. They say we must call them by 19 Nov 15 to avoid further charges. Could you please advise on the best way to deal with this. Should I ignore the letters, send them back or pay up and get the gym membership reinstated. We have no intention of going back to the gym and can't stand these threatening letters, especially with my husband's illness as stress makes his illness worse. I am the only one working, so do I have to pay up?

 

Neither of us can remember receiving contracts by email, but we may have under the guise of "free meat hamper" not sure, but we certainly didn't receive anything by post. I was under the impression that as they advertised "there are no membership fees" and thought it was on a monthly rolling contract, which I thought meant I could cancel at any time. What should I do now, if anything?

 

Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Hi Crystal and welcome to CAG

 

Do not be intimidated by Harlands/CRS demands. They have no power or authority

 

You should write a letter to Harlands saying :-

 

Due to my husband's ill-health and inability to work, he is unable to attend the gym and we cannot afford the ongoing gym fees.

 

We had to cancel the DD mandate although we now realise we should have given the gym a month's notice before cancelling the DD .

 

Accordingly, we now offer to pay the £9.99 each for the notice we should have given but we will not pay any admin charges added by you.

 

If you accept this offer in writing within 14 days, we will pay you promptly. If you demand higher amounts, we will pay you nothing.

 

Send this to Harlands and get a free Certificate of Posting at the PO counter, for proof of posting.

 

Keep us informed and do NOT speak to Harlands/CRS by phone for any reason.

 

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They will of course refuse your very generous offer of £9.99 as their rapaciousness knows no bounds and will continue to claim

that their unlawful penalty fees are in fact lawful and payable.

 

They will however completely ignore the rulings made by the OFT back in the day, that clearly states that ill health can be used to cancel a gym contract at any time.

 

If they do read the letter and it pricks their conscience then they will no doubt demand sight of a doctors note stating your OH's ill health.

 

I wouldn't condone sending them anything of the sort, as this is confidential information between patient and Dr, although a simple note signed by the GP to the effect that 'Mr XXXX is unable to continue any gym or physical activity due to their ill health''.

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 Crystal and NO, it's not advisable.

 

The risk is they may think you've moved away which makes you an easier target for court action. They could file a claim in the hope you don't get it and reply to the court claim, so they get an automatic Judgement.

 

We'll only advise that you reply to a letter when necessary and we'll certainly tell you to ignore more than you'll answer.

 

Keep us informed of what they send you.

 

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No don't call, keep everything in writing.

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 CS,

 

Our advice is to NEVER speak to Harlands/CRS or to Zinc or anyone else that wants you to call them. You are NOT obliged to speak to them and, if they call you, HANG UP !

 

This is a standard letter from Harlands when they discover the DD has been cancelled.

 

You've written to Harlands and need do nothing more until they reply to your letter.

 

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  • 1 month later...

Hi Guys

 

After sending my letter by "signed for delivery" to Harlands on the 10 November, I heard nothing from them until a letter of the 21 December saying that as we have not contacted them, we had incurred a further £25 charge each

 

and we are both in arrears to the tune of £69.98 and if we don't contact them by the 4 January the arrears will be £79.97 which will be passed to a debt recovery company who will add their fees to our accounts.

 

Then another letter came through the post dated 23 December acknowledging our recent letter but saying that "Unfortunately they cannot cancel the agreement we hold with Xercise4less, saying that we must either contact Xercise4less in store or over the telephone to come to an agreement to cancel the agreement. We strongly advise that you debt this confirmation in writing from them when to come to an agreement to cancel, for your own records".

 

This morning I received a text message from Xercise4less saying that Harlands have advised they will be sending our accounts to a third party debt collectors in 14 day. To settle with us please ring on the above number.Any advice would be greatly appreciated

Edited by slick132
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Yeah the advice is to ignore them.

 

What you must do now, is to complain about the gym in question to the CMA and TS.

It won't hurt to drop the area manager of the gym, or even the CEO of X4L a complaint regarding their unethical practices and make them aware that you now consider their actions as harassment, and they will be reported to the relevant authorities, including but not limited to, the Police and Trading standards for said criminal offence.

 

I'd be laughing at them passing this over to a no powers DCA, quite what they think this will achieve in this day and age is anyone's guess?

 

IMO I'd be hammering X4L's complaints procedure and exhausting it.

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 Crystal,

 

This would be a good case to take to X4Less pubicly, either via Twitter and/or Facebook.

 

Simply ask why X4Less allow Harlands to harass members who've cancelled due to ill health.

 

Complain also to TS and The CMA, to add to the complaints of others.

 

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Hi guysXercise4less have just rang me to say that they haven't received a payment since September 15 (our last visit to the gym was June 15) saying that the agreement is coming to an end in February and to close the account we would need to pay £49 + £20 admin fee each and if we paid that, we could ignore the charges Harlands were seeking, shall I just ignore their request?

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I don't know why you even entertained them on the phone.

 

You owe NOTHING, you cancelled perfectly legitimately, if they can't accept that then tough.

 

Make another complaint about the gym to the CMA & TS, send your story to BBC Watchdog too, unbelievable!

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 Crystal,

 

Have you followed the advice in post #13 above and put this into the public domain ?

 

Did you tell the gym about your letter to Harlands, your husband's ill health, etc ?

 

Ignore any further calls from the gym and stay off the phone completely.

 

You need pay nothing more in my opinion.

 

I'm also wondering if it was actually the gym that called you, or Harlands themselves. Do you have the phone number that called you ? If so, please tell us.

 

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If it was Harlands ringing you claiming to be from the gym, then lodge a complaint with action fraud ''abuse of position, or false representation, or prejudicing someone's rights for personal gain''.

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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  • 1 month later...

Hi guysAfter totally ignoring calls from CRS and the gym we received letters at the weekend saying that because they couldn't speak to us to work out an amicable solution, if I don't respond in the next 10 days they are handing the debts over to Zink Group who are "well known debt recovery agents". Shall I continue to ignore their threats? I have put a message on facebook and twitter but I haven't hear from the OST.

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Hi Crystal,

 

Zinc are a common "next step" with Harlands cases and Zinc are usually pretty quick to back down. So I'd just ignore the latest threats.

 

You didn't reply to my Q in post #16 above - have you taken this matter onto Facebook or Twitter as that may be the best way to embarass X4Less to call off "their dogs".

 

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Keep making those complaints, warn off any potential customer, once these fools realise that they are going to lose their precious profit, they'll soon change their attitude!

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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Yes, it has to be worth doing as they will be more concerned about getting visible criticism on the Web.

 

Let us know what you say, and how they respond.

 

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  • 1 month later...

Hi guys. I received a text from CRS on 31 March saying "if you are able to settle your balance with us today we can give you a 50% reduction, please call us" - which I just ignored.

 

However, at the weekend we both received letters from Spratt Endicott Solicitors from Banbury regarding outstanding balances of £146.47 each and saying that "failure to reply to this notice within 7 days may result in legal proceedings to recover the above unless you contact us to discuss your repayment proposals".

 

They go on to say that "any claim resulting in proceedings will include additional costs payable by you and you should also note if Judgment is obtained we may find it difficult to obtain credit".

 

We actually stopped going to the gym in June 2015 because of my husband's ill health and also because I suffered an intercostal strain.

 

However, the gym fees were paid right up until September and then I stopped paying the fees. I can't remember receiving or signing an agreement for 12 months, I really thought it was a month to month contract.

 

Should I respond to this letter?

Edited by slick132
please use spacing - much easier to read !
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IMO, I would ignore it, but get back onto the gym, and demand that they stop this harassment by using third parties to do their dirty work.

 

Did you complain abut them on social media at all?

 

Lodge a formal complaint with the CMA, and TS.

 

Forward that text from powerless CRS to 7726 (spam) on your phones keypad, this is then sent to your network provider who log these texts and sends them to the ICO.

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 Crystal,

 

See this thread where Spratt Endicott were involved - http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?455625-Harlands-and-CRS-problems&p=4821442&viewfull=1#post4821442

 

Tell Spratts to clear off in the same manner as in the 2nd letter drafted by me in the linked post.

 

If Harlands wanted your money, they should have accepted your offer in Nov'r. They didn't so tough luck on them !

 

Use Twitter and Facebook to embarrass X4Less publicly.

 

If you want to write to their Head Office, I think that might have success in getting Harlands, etc to back off for good.

 

:-)

Edited by slick132

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Please give something if you can. We all give our time free of charge but the site has bills to pay.

 

Thanks !:-)

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