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Total Fitness cancellation/refund


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Hi all, just wondering if you could advise my chances of getting a refund and if it's worth fighting for.

 

my OH had a total fitness membership, 12 month from about June/July 15.

In Sept 15 he got a new job working on the borders in Calais so obviously couldn't use not only our local gym but any total fitness gym in the UK.

 

He called them and had his account put on hold for the max time.

He then called them again at the end and told them he was still there and would still be unable to use the gym.

At this point he was put through to head office and they said they would cancel the membership if he could provide his contract of employment as proof.

 

We couldn't find the contract between home in the UK or France and the amount owed built up to the point he was forced to call and make a payment arrangement last month of 2 x £90 payments.

 

 

He paid 1 last month and had 1 £90 payment outstanding.

Today we have been contacted by a debt collection agency C.A.R.S requesting payment. We told them we already had an agreement in place and they said they would look into it.

 

The membership would have expired in June(ish) and my OH has recently left his job and returned home.

 

 

During the move we've managed to find his contract of employment so today I forwarded it onto them to prove he has been there since Sept 15 and requested a refund.

 

I've had a reply from head office today saying the membership has been cancelled with immediate effect. I then pushed about the refund and her response was:

 

Unfortunately no money can be refunded, however your membership has been cancelled with immediate effect and your remaining balance has been waivered as a gesture of goodwill.

 

Is there anything we can do about this?

He hasnt used the gym since sept 15.

 

 

If we had the contract we wouldn't have had to pay the £90 last month.

But now we have they won't give it us back.

 

 

We only paid to avoid debt collection agencies because we felt like we had no choice.

We haven't recieved any services so feels unfair to have had to pay it and be unable to get it back?

 

Have we got any hope or just count ourselves lucky that we don't have to pay the final £90? I don't know why she is saying the membership has been cancelled as the contract would have ended in june anyway.

 

Thanks!

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Hi Salphy,

 

Don't worry about the opinion of staff you have spoken to. They're probably only interested in getting money from you.

 

Stay OFF the phone from now on. You have no need to speak to the gym at all and you need to keep everything in writing from now on. If CARS or the gym calls you, tell them to put anything they have to say in writing; and then HANG UP !!

 

1. When you told the gym about the relocation in Sept 2015, what did they say in response.

 

2. Did they make any mention of your right to cancel due to relocation.

 

3. Did you put anything about this in writing to the gym at the time.

 

4. How was the £90 payment made, by debit or credit card.

 

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Hi Slick,

 

Thanks for your reply! I called today to find out the contact details for who had previously told us to send the contract of emplyment. I'm speaking to her by email now so will definitely stay off the phone.

 

When he called to tell them he wasn't told of his right to cancel due to relocation. They just told him that the account could be put on hold. Our residential address that he signed up with has stayed the same so I don't know if that makes a difference? He was provided with shared temporary accomodation in France. It regularly changed (he was sharing a caravan at one point) so didn't have a second address.

 

It wasn't put in writing sorry, he spoke to someone at the gym initially then head office on the phone but when I called today they did have the notes from the head office conversation on the system.

 

The £90 was paid by debit card.

 

Thanks again :)

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you might well be able to do a chargeback via your bank

shame you fell for the DCA bit..

you do know a DCA is NOT A BAILIFF

and has NO LEGAL POWERS WHATSOEVER?

 

 

dx

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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How would I do that? Would they not then start chasing the money back again?

 

I know they're not bailiffs but we have had trouble with a dca before.

 

 

Vodafone/arrow global kindly put a default on OH's credit file whilst he was deployed.

It took months of fighting to get removed and nearly stopped us getting our mortgage.

 

Our fixed rate ends in November and we are looking to switch so that's the last thing we wanted.

 

Is a charge back easy to do?

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if anything once you've answered slick132 questions you will prob simple owe ONE payment

the month to cover the cancellation.

 

 

chargeback is easy

phone you bank up and ask them.

 

 

tell them the brief story and what they have said,

if you had the proof they would refund it

they now refuse

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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Would we really owe one month cancellation? The 12 months contract ended last month? Then we would only get £45 back.

 

If I do a charge back, is it likely we will be back in the same position with them threatening DCA's to get it back again?

 

Thanks for your help :)

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A visa debit chargeback is very easy to do.

 

As for them trying to get it back off you again, with their idle threats of powerless debt collectors, forget it.

 

DO NOT be intimidated by puerile begging letters their speak and spell spits out, it's ALL hot air.

 

Because your OH moved away, and more than 15 miles from the gym, then he is entitled to cancel his contract, with NO financial penalty.

 

Get YOUR money back NOW. http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/advice/how-do-i-use-chargeback

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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Firstly NO, you don't tell them you're doing a chargeback, they have no right to know, but will know soon enough when the bank chases them for the money, and ensure the bank cancels any continuous payment authority (CPA) they might have sneaked in on your card.

 

There is no possibility of this appearing on your credit file AFAIK, gym contracts don't appear on CRF's when they're in dispute or default.

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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The DCA CANNOT default the account, it HAS to be done by the Gym (the OC) so get the reclaim done, and exhaust the gyms complaints procedure.

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 Salphy,

 

You're worrying about something that won't happen. You need to read other threads here to see the advice we've given to hundreds of other gym members that are having trouble with their gym or gym admin company.

 

Data about gym m/ship alleged arrears is NOT carried by the CRA's. Any DCA's that try to collect gym fees and (unenforceable) admin fees have no power or authority. I can see why you're worried from previous experiences but this GYM case will NOT impact on your CRA records.

 

You did NOT need to provide evidence of a new or second address. They have no right to demand sight of a contract or other documents and often use any delay in providing proof as an excuse for delaying the cancellation - this is exactly what they've done in your case.

 

I want some more info, either accurate or best guess :-

 

1. Date YH told the gym he was relocating.

 

2. Date the last DD was paid before m/ship was suspended.

 

3. When do they say payment was due (after the suspension ended).

 

4. How was the £180 made up if you know.

 

If you don't know any answers, do NOT call the gym again for any reason.

 

Thanks :-)

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This is what we think happened

(best guess as he has switched banks during this time and no longer has access to bank statements)

 

Date told them - he didn't tell them immediately.

The job was quite rushed through due to demand at calais

so he had to continue paying for the first few months (though didn't use the gym during this time)

 

he then first tried to contact and cancel when he returned to the UK for leave which is most likely to have been christmas time.

 

This was when they told him he could put his account on hold and we think the DD may have gone down to £5/month.

He then cancelled the DD around April time when switching banks.

(sorry i didn't know this he's only just told me he)

We're not sure if the DD was still £5/month at this point or had reverted to £45/month.

 

When he cancelled

they phoned him to ask what was happening with his account.

He told them he was still in France so couldn't use it

so this is when they requested proof of contract of employment.

 

There was then 4 months remaining on the contract

so I'm assuming they put it back up to £45/month to equal £180 over the 4 months

but they haven't told us specifically how the £180 was made up.

 

He then spoke to them again a few of weeks ago when he returned home

and was told the contract/membership had matured and he owed £180,

 

he told them he was unable to find his contract

and had to set up a payment arrangement to avoid further action so he paid £90

and arranged to pay another £90 at the end of this month.

 

I found his contract when sorting from him returning home

 

he got a text message this morning from C.A.R.S,

without saying who they were but saying he needed to contact them urgently.

 

I called our local gym asking for head office contact and the man said he wanted to resolve it at local level and put me through to his manager.

 

His manager read the notes and told me to send copies of documents and he would send them on to the lady I dealt with at head office.

 

She then replied to say they'd been received and the membership was cancelled with immediate effect but ignored about refund.

 

So I asked again and that when she said they were waiving the remaining fees as a gesture of good will and wouldn't refund anything.

 

Sorry for being paranoid,

but we've had it before when arrow global and vodafone both put defaults on his credit file for the same account which took months of stress to get removed.

 

There's also threads on moneysavingexpert who say they've had defaults from gym DCA's.

 

http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=4626877

 

http://moneyning.com/credit/could-your-gym-membership-ruin-your-credit/

 

I'm happy to do the chargeback if you all think that's the best option

and I'm not going to get anywhere with a refund request.

You're the experts! :)

 

Thanks for all your help!

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gym debts do not appears on cra files.

 

 

as that's the only one you could find on mse

makes you wonder if it was not a plant....

 

 

as for the second link

it American!

 

 

dx

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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Hi Salphy,

 

Vodaphone and Arrow Global deal differently with debt reporting compared to gym m/ships these days.

 

The first of the 2 links above relate to a Harlands case where adverse CRA data was posted in 2010. Since then we had the AMSL case in 2011 when it was held that gyms should not generally post adverse data about gym m/ships. See here for more info about The OFT v AMSL in 2011 - http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?289465-Office-of-Fair-Trading-v-Ashbourne-Management-Services-9th.March-2011

 

The 2nd link appears to be from the USA and not relevant to cases here.

 

Turning to the info you gave in response to my Q's, you can't do anything about payments made before the gym was made aware of the relocation to France. But I think you should have been told by the gym that the relocation for work in France was good grounds to cancel, not just freeze payments.

 

Accordingly, I would reclaim any DD's made to the gym after giving a month's notice to leave. If YH told them about working in France in December 2015, I'd reclaim any DD paid from Feb 2016 onwards using the DD Guarantee Scheme.

 

1. How much would this come to, and for what months.

 

I would also seek a full refund of the £90 paid so far (as suggested above by others) on the basis that the gym should have allowed you to cancel as soon as they were aware of the relocation. Even though you paid the £90 voluntarily, you did so because the gym told you you owed money and had to come to an arrangement. This was wrong, hence you should seek a refund by chargeback via the bank (which is different from the DD reclaim).

 

2. Are you happy to go with these suggestions.

 

:-)

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Yes I'm absolutely happy to follow your suggestions!

 

This may sound silly but with him switching banks,

Would we have to request a charge back separately (DD's from previous bank, £90 from current bank?) Can we still do a charge back if we are no longer with them?

 

Thanks again!

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Sorry just realised the dd's would probably come to about £15 feb-Apr because the account was on hold. I'd be happy just to get the £90 back and to save to confusion. We haven't got access to accurate info RE: the dd's anymore.

 

Thanks :)

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Hi Salphy,

 

Given the circumstances re the bank change and the low amount, you could forget the DD's and focus on the return of the card payment.

 

First try speaking to the bank or go into your branch (if you have one) and request that the £90 paid on xxdate to be returned as it was paid in error after the payee misled you into thinking you owed money you now realise you don't owe.

 

Don't let them start discussing the issue and decide if they'll act on your instruction or not. If they won't refund, tell them you are fully aware of your rights under existing regulations and you know the refund should be made.

 

If that doesn't work, you'll need to put the request/instruction in writing but let us know how it goes.

 

:-)

We could do with some help from you

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Thanks !:-)

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even if you've switched banks you can still invoke the DD guarantee

phone the old bank

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Just to update this, Total Fitness have ignored me for the last 3-4 weeks.

 

 

I've actioned a charge back through my bank so just awaiting the outcome. Fingers crossed will get our money back.

 

 

Thanks again for all your help.

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Excellent and don't let the bank fob you off.

 

Keep us posted.

 

:-)

We could do with some help from you

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                                            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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  • 1 month later...

Hi everyone,

 

 

Just letting you know the chargeback went through fine and we got the £90 back a few days later.

So far we haven't heard a thing from TF and they won't be getting a penny of it back if we do!

 

 

Thanks for all your help x

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