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PSY.1984

Council-owned Gym CCA membership

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Hi,

 

I'm usually pretty confident with dealing with debt collectors and things like this but this one has got me scratching my head a little and so I'm just looking for a little bit of advice from people that know far more about these things than I do.

 

I signed up with our local gym in June of last year. It's a council owned gym but they outsource their membership management to a company called Debit Finance Collections (DFC). Our membership is actually a Consumer Credit Agreement provided by DFC which runs for 12 months and ends in June.

 

Everything was going well until I went to the gym in January and they declined my membership card saying that my account had been suspended. Embarrassed and confused I went home to telephone DFC and I was informed that I had cancelled my direct debit. I told them I hadn't and offered to pay them over the phone there and then. They declined this and told me to just set up a new DD which I did.

 

I again got knocked back at the gym as once again my account had supposedly been suspended. I contacted DFC who once again said that I had cancelled my DD.

 

After a few days of me arguing that I hadn't and them arguing that I had, I received a letter from them threatening me with solicitors if I didn't pay what I owed. I have written to them and emailed them numerous times practically begging them to take the money out of my bank.

 

Despite communicating with them for several weeks, DFC wrote to me saying how disappointed they are that I am choosing to ignore their letters and saying that they have no choice now but to enforce the agreement in full. They are demanding over £300 which covers the period of January upto June.

 

Due to all this happening, and not wanting to miss out on keeping up my weight loss, I joined Pure Gym in February to keep me going until this was resolved.

 

Due to their behaviour I did a little bit of research into DFC and discovered that they no longer possess a Consumer Credit Licence. It was cancelled in October. I contacted them about this and they said that they are no longer pursuing the original agreement as a consumer credit agreement and are simply pursuing it as an outstanding debt.

 

This has gotten me confused. Are they allowed do that? Surely if I sign a CCA for 12 months then it has to be treated as such for the entire period?

 

Secondly, the gym that I was signed up with has never held a consumer credit licence, so should they be acting as a broker? I read that them filling in the consumer credit application form for me and sending it off to DFC constitutes being a broker for which they need to be licensed.

 

I'll be honest, at this point, I'm just looking for a way out of this now. I'm happy with Pure Gym and I've had nothing but stress for the last 3 months with DFC.

 

Again, I apologise for the length of this post but I just wanted to give you as much information as possible. If anybody can offer a bit of advice regarding this then I'd be very grateful.

 

Thanks,

Paul

Edited by PSY.1984

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Hello Paul and welcome to CAG. That sounds like a nightmare for you.

 

The forum regulars should be along over the course of the day with advice for you. They'll know what to do. :)

 

My best, HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Hi honeybee, thank you for the welcome.

 

It has been a nightmare and can't wait to get it resolved so that I can move on.

 

Have a great day :)

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Hi Psy,

 

Make sure you keep all communication in writing only, so you have proof of all exchanges.

 

1. Do you have a copy of the Consumer Credit Agreement (alleged).

 

2. Have you found out from your bank exactly why the DD's were not paid on time. Maybe you were short of funds, or did DFC fail to take the pay'ts as required.

 

3. What gym is this about, so we can look further into the Credit Licence issue.

 

The gym is not a credit broker. They outsource their admin to DFC and DFC are responsible for having their affairs in order.

 

If DFC have added admin fees to the amount they want you to pay, this should be challenged as we maintain such fees are unlawful and unenforceable penalties.

 

You case is unusual as the vast majority of gym m/ships do NOT involve a credit agreement.

 

:-)

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Hi Slick, thanks for the reply.

 

1) I sent them a CCA request and they sent me a copy of the original agreement, however they're saying the original CCA is irrelevant as they're treating it as an outstanding debt now because they're no longer authorised with a consumer credit licence. They said even though they no longer possess a licence they're still entitled to enforce the agreement.

 

2) I haven't spoken to the bank but this also happened at the start of the agreement last year. We started the agreement in June 2015 and it took DFC until September to finally sort the DD out. They had to take three months worth of money. They admitted fault with that and said that they'd had problems collecting their DD's. This time they are refusing to accept blame, even though the exact same thing is happening now as happened last year, and they are insisting it is me that cancelled the DD. There is also definitely enough money in the account and there has been the whole time.

 

3) It's just a small local gym in the town's leisure centre, owned by our local council (Creswell Leisure Centre)

 

4) So far there have been no admin fees added. DFC have just said they're enforcing the agreement in full and want January to June's payments (£342).

 

It is an unusual one, that's why I've felt the need to ask about it. I've tried reading as much as I can about it but I'm stumped now and need some advice.

 

Thanks again for the reply.

Edited by PSY.1984

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Hi Psy,

 

I suggest you :-

 

1. Write to the Local Council and get free Certificates of Posting at the PO when you send the letters, saying :-

 

I refer to my gym membership at the Creswell Leisure Centre. Admin for the gym is handled by DFC and they offer membership via a Consumer Credit Agreement.

 

I am appalled to learn that DFC had their Consumer Credit Licence revoked in October 2015, yet they continued to take and demand payments beyond that date without informing gym members.

 

I require that the gym cancels my membership immediately and DFC are instructed to cease all contact and demands. Any further demands will trigger formal complaints to Trading Standards, The CMA and The FCA.

 

Copies of this letter are being sent to DFC and to the gym.

 

2. I suggest you contact the bank to ascertain the reason for the failed DD payments as this could be very useful to know. If DFC failed to seek the correct DD's each and every month, this will strengthen your position.

 

:-)


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EVERY POUND DONATED WILL HELP US TO KEEP HELPING OTHERS

 

                                            Have we helped you ...?  Please Donate button to the Consumer Action Group

 

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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Thank you very much for the advice, Slick. I'll get onto both of those immediately.

 

Regarding the bank, sometimes when you're dealing with something like this for so many weeks you kind of get bogged down and it takes someone else to point out something pretty simple that was staring you right in the face. Thank you very much again, it's appreciated.

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