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Fit One gym in Folkestone upped Membership fees without consultation

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I joined a gym with a month-to-month arrangement

I was told I can cancel whenever I want, no minimum term.

Set cost of £10.99 per month as detailed in the membershhip agreement.

 

 

I gave my bank details to set up direct debit.

Contract states minimum term 1 month.

I have had this membership for about 3 years now so can cancel anytime.

 

The gym has since had a new owner appear and things carried for a year or so without interruption and my 10.99/mth continued to be taken.

 

 

Until a few months ago when the owner started taking a much higher cost from my bank account.

They were taking out £18.99 p/mth without permission and without informing me.

 

When I first noticed I told the owner there must be a mistake as its supposed to be £10.99.

She sheepishly and vaguely told me she was 'universalizing' the prices.

 

 

I said I was not happy to pay the new costs, had never agreed & informed her I didnt want to continue.

She told me to take it up with the club manager which I found odd since I know she is the owner.

 

 

I found the club manager email for the gym which they had written to me through in the past and wrote to them via email advising the that the previous months payment was overcharged and asking them to refund my money since I do not have any agreement with the gym for this amount, and have only ever paid on a month-to-month basis that can be disconitnued at any time I desire and I wanted to terminate membership.

 

The gym ignored me and continued to take the money regardless despite the fact I had advised them I did not want to continue and had ceased using the service.

 

 

i informed my bank, explained the situation.

The bank cancelled the DD and stepped in to recover the unauthorised charges and told me that under the DD guarantee I am entitled to a full and immediate refund of the money paid as it has been taken in error and without my knowledge or consent.

 

From speaking with other past members I know that the owner has done this to others too.

Instead of advising customers and asking them if they want to continue and sign up for her new membersip agreement the owner fraudulently increased the customers direct debits without notice nor consent and 'presumed' to put them into a new 18.99 p/mth contract, which I can see from her online page is now a 12 month minimum term via standing order or DD.

 

 

According to my membership agreement they cannot do this unless Harlands write to me and give me 30 days notice and I agree, which never happened and I never heard a peep from Harlands until recently...

 

The gym owner has now instructed Harlands,

who collect the direct debit,

to request a payment from the indemnity claim filed with my bank,

who are making legal threats and to levy on additional costs.

 

 

They said the owner has emailed them many many times about this like she has some weird vendetta

 

 

she also found my personal social media profiles and demanded I talk to her about my membership on there, which i ignored as I found it invasive and unprofessional.

 

 

She has walked past me in town a few times since and said hello, and won't talk to me face to face and yet harlands told me she's being emailing them to chase me up for weeks.

 

I explained to Harlands I was not informed of nor agreed to the new fees.

They ignored this and told me that they will continue to chase me for payment as the gym asks them to, regardless of the fact that there was no agreement to pay this, and the fact that they breached the DD guarantee.

 

Citizens Advice advised me to write to Harlands explaining that I never agreed to any new terms and conditions which I've done via email.

 

 

I also included all the clauses in the contract that they have themselves breached and imposed a time limit to respond.

 

 

However they ignore my contact and won't really speak to me even if I phone their premium rate number they say they are just following with what their client wants to do,

 

 

I have emailed asking them to cease and desist unless they are able to show some evidence that I agreed to pay the new fees, of which there is none.

 

 

She went behind all her customers backs in changing the membership specifications and prices, and what she did was wrong). I know she has done this same thing to a number of customers who have also left.

 

As far as I can see from their terms the following (at least) are relavent or were breached:

 

Once you have completed the Minimum No. Of Direct Debit Payments we will automatically continue collecting the Direct Debit Payment Amount every month. Your membership will be extended by one month for each payment (“Renewal Period”). This renewal Direct Debit payment amount may only be amended if we advise you in writing giving not less than 30 days notice.

 

If there are any changes to the amount, date or frequency of your Direct Debit Harlands Services Ltd. will notify you 3 working days in advance of your account being debited or as otherwise agreed.

 

 

If you request Harlands Services Ltd. to collect a payment, confirmation of the amount and date will be given to you at the time of the request.

 

If an error is made in the payment of your Direct Debit, by Harlands Services Ltd. or by your Bank or Building Society, you are entitled to a full and immediate refund of the amount paid from your Bank or Building Society.

 

Breach: This agreement can be cancelled if we are in breach of contract including if we do not provide facilities or services you may reasonably expect and we have fallen well below that standard.

 

Despite the breaches they continue to email me and ask me to call them on a premium rate number which I have no desire to do as the person on the other end does not know nor care about anything I tell them and seem to just be there to waste my time.

 

What next?

Shall I just send a recorded letter saying what I already said in the letter and pointing out the breach and that I will not be entering into any further correspondence?

 

 

So far they have provided nothing, no evidence and ignored all of mine.

I don't really want to get into a length back and forth debate with them as I have already wasted time getting upset and faffing about with this despite having done nothing wrong, and clearly the breach is on their end.

 

 

Had they bothered to tell me about the price increase I could have told them there and then that I did not wish to continue, but they neglected to do this so it's their fault that this situation even occured in the first place.

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hey no well done

you've everything right

and nothing wrong.

 

you can safely ignore harlands/crs zinc and the sprats that will send comms wanting payments and adding unlawful fees

 

well done!!

 

go tell the others and save them money too!!

 

theres nowt they can do to you

 

a DCA is NOT a bailiff!!

 

dx


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Thank you for your reply, It's very reassuring :)

 

I have typed a letter up essentially saying the same as what I said in the email- that I never agreed to this, pointing out the terms breached, and a cease and desist request. I was going to send it by recorded mail but I'm reluctant to do so since I don't want to enter into any 'back and forth' as I've already wasted enough time with this issue, and spent a lot of money ringing their premium rate numbers and they have always ignored what I have to say, and the facts in any case. I get the impression they will just hound me in the hopes of wearing me down despite having no grounds. So shall I save the cost of a stamp and not bother?

 

It is absolutely so frustrating that they come at you and make you sound like the criminal and send threatening letters when it's them who are the criminals. The owner has been so horrid and unprofessional, and Harlands themselves have completely neglected to do their job. I heard that they've also now started coming after other members of the gym in the exact same way including a friend of mine, it's just disgusting.

 

I have reported them to trading standards and action fraud, and surprisingly both of those were actually very interested and wanted to take all the details.

 

Everyone I know that went there no longer goes there as they said the owner is horrid, and the equipment always broken and never gets fixed so I hope they go bust. I suppose the fact they will come after loyal past customers, and for a measly sum, shows they must be desperate. I used to recommend people to that gym but never again now, and would never go back there and will tell everyone to avoid it.

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It sounds like a crazy situation. Thank you for recommending everyone to avoid this gym. Just one problem though, you haven't told us which gym it is. Maybe you are trying to protect them.

 

I find the whole story very disturbing. If you wanted have a bit of fun, you could sue them for some compensation. Although there would be a claim fee – and maybe even hearing fee, on the basis of what you say your chances are better than 95% success. You would get all your fees back. A more likely scenario is that they would put their hands up once the court papers were issued and you would get your money and your claim fee back.

 

If they are also harassing others in the same way, you could tell them to come here and we would help them also to get some compensation. It would only be about hundred pounds or so but it would be better in your pocket than in their's. It would also put the gym owner to a load of hassle and expense trying to deal with your claim.

 

I have to say that if you don't take some action, then the chasing and the nuisance is likely to continue


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The gym is called Fit One Gym in Folkestone (not to be confused with any others of the same name). I didn't post the name as I'm sure they google themselves regularly, but it does not really matter if they see this since they know what they did anyway.

 

It's only a small gym and I think it's family run, which just makes it worse imo. They know their customers well and the fact they can act like this to those of us who have been loyal for years explains their increasingly dwindling customer base. The only reason I signed up with them

 

was because they were cheap so I didn't care that the place was a bit run down and the old owner used to be so nice. But now it's expesive, run down, and run by horrible people.

 

I had already managed to get the funds back from the bank (3 lots of 18.99) plus the same again for my ex partner who also had the same issue as I used to pay their membership. Harlands also tried to chase up my ex partner by writing to me which I ignored.

 

I would never rule out suring them to be honest, especially if they continue to harass me. Would the grounds for sueing them be breach and harassment? I have the membership agreement they drew up which quite clearly has been breached and I don't see how they could argue to the contrary. It's funny how Harlands didn't want to bother to take the time to notify me of the DD increase as is their duty, but is prepared to put all their time and resources into getting more money off me.

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Is there a letter I should draft to the gym/harlands in the meantime in case I need to take the suggested action?

So far everything I have said has been to Harlands and either by phone or email (to the email address they contact you on, which is also headed on their written letters). They don't appear to respond to emails received. I have not yet sent anything via post mail.

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Harlands won't pay attention to you.

 

If you want to take some action then you shouldn't simply leap in and send them a threatening letter. You need to understand a little bit about the county court procedure so that you know what the steps are and you have decided that you are prepared to take the action. It is very easy and straightforward although there are some fees to pay up in order to bring the claim. On the basis of what you say I think you have a very high chance of success and that you would get your fees back. Frankly I can't imagine it going to court and I can imagine that once they receive the court papers that they would throw the towel in


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Hi Sadie,

 

Your first post is too long to go through so I'd like some answers please :-

 

1. On what date did you last use the gym.

 

2. Ignoring the DD's that were repaid under the DDGS, what date was the last DD taken from you.

 

3. What was the last date Harlands/CRS contacted and what did they say, briefly not word for word !

 

4. How many times have Harlands/CRS made payments requests or demands as either Harlands or CRS.

 

Until we've given this full consideration, DO NOT contact the gym or Harlands/CRS at all. And in any event never CALL Harlands/CRS again for any reason.

 

:-)

Edited by slick132

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Sorry, I did not realize how long it was till I posted it and can't seem to find any edit buttons to shorten it.

 

1. I stopped using the gym in November after I noticed both Sept & Oct payments had been incorrect for both my membership and my ex partners membership (both of which come out of my account via DD).

 

I genuinely thought it was a mistake at first,

hence taking it up with the owner on my last visit,

who sheepishly told me she was 'universalizing' the prices with no further details forthcoming.

 

Had they bothered to give the 30 day notice that they were doubling the costs I would have left immediately, but they kept it quiet and left me to have a nasty shock when I noticed it on my statement.

 

2. I have changed banks since,

but the last payment that was not recovered was the end of August, around the 30th.

 

 

All membership payments for Sept, Oct, Nov were recovered by my old bank.

 

 

The bank told me the money was recoverable under the DD Guarantee.

 

3. Have not got the letter from H to hand right now but I believe it was 27th Jan.

 

 

It demanded I withdraw my indemnity claim and repay the money as I was in a membership agreement, and alleged that the fees were taken correctly.

It also threatened to levy on additional fees.

 

4. Received the aforementioned letter via post,

plus they sent me an email that was addressed to my ex-partner asking them to get in touch about the indemnity claim and their outstanding balance,

and they sent me another email this week saying the gym has instructed them to continue chasing.

 

My partner at the time had not used the gym since around May or June as they were recovering from an operation and also going through a bereavement at the time.

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trying yo fleece you

ignore

 

 

go enjoy your life

  • Confused 1

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Hi Sadie,

 

To keep you on the moral highground, I suggest you draft a letter offering the gym the LOWER m/ship fees for Sept, Oct and Nov.

 

Make the offer valid for 14 days only.

 

See other drafts here for a guide and post your draft here before sending it.

 

:-)


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I' understand what you're saying, and I see your point but after this I'm not willing to pay them anything at all. They've harassed me after THEY breached the contract in all 3 of those months and failed to refund me as requested, and were not willing to talk about it, which resulted in the chargeback.

 

Another letter from Harlands today dated 13th Feb adding a £25 admin fee and telling me if I don't pay by 21st Jan they will pass it onto a debt collector. Apparently I'm expected to be a time traveller now. They've obviously used a template they've sent to other customers and not even bothered to ammend the date, how professional.

Edited by sadie119

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Had they treated me with an ounce of respect and aided by the contract things would have been different, but all the issues I'm now facing are a result of their failures and caused me nothing but trouble, so they won't get a penny off me.

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Hi Sadie,

 

As I said, to keep the moral highground, you should offer to pay the LOWER monthly fee for the months the facility was used.

 

But if you want to pay nothing, that is entirely your prerogative.

 

Experience here over recent years suggests your best approach is to simply ignore the demands from Harlands/CRS, Zinc Group and Spratt Endicott.

 

Alternatively, if you want to take a more aggressive approach and take court action, see posts #4 and #7 from Bankfodder. You could seek damages , set at the discretion of the court, for harassment after the gym/Harlands abused your DD mandate.

 

Have a think and let us know.

 

:-)


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Hi Sadie,

 

I should add, even if you offer to pay the correct amount, the likelihood of them accepting the offer within 14 days is remote and you withdraw the offer after 14 days.

 

But it's up to you ...............

 

:-)


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