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Hello All,

 

I hope this is the correct forum area for this post, I searched for Gym postings and found another active form post here. Apologies if this is the wrong forum, and thank you in advance for any advice or assistance you may be able to provide.

 

My issue is with Anytime Fitness, specifically the Winchester branch in this case.

 

I signed an agreement with the gym on 27-Nov-2019, a few months before the Covid crisis took full effect. This agreement tied me into a "commitment period" of 27-Nov-2019 until 30-Nov-2020.

 

Adhering to the termination policy in the contract, I sent a letter via recorded delivery to the gym on 27-Oct-2020, informing them that I was giving one month's written notice of me terminating my contract, and would be making no further payments after this date.

 

On 29-Oct-2020, I received the following reply from the gym via email:

 

"Hi [Fop14],

 
We hope you are safe and well. 
 
Thank you for your letter of cancellation recently sent into the club but after looking at your membership agreement it states that your commitment end date is the 17/03/2021 so unfortunately we cant close you're membership down just yet. 
 
Looking at your membership agreement and the reason your commitment end date has changed is because of the membership freeze/hold which was put in place centrally for all our members over the national lock-down period. When a membership is frozen by the member or the club this does extend the the commitment end date period.
 
Please feel free to give us a call or simply reply to this email if we can help you further or answer any questions you may have as we would love to see how we can further support you as a member. Or alternatively if you would like a member of the team to give you a call please leave a time best for you.    
 
Kind Regards
 
Anytime Fitness Team"

 

In short, Anytime Fitness have decided that my commitment period has now been extended at their behest, due to them being closed down for several months.

 

This was not the response I anticipated or wanted, so I sent the following email back by reply:

 

"Good morning

 
Thank you for your email.
 
With reference to your statement "Thank you for your letter of cancellation recently sent into the club but after looking at your membership agreement it states that your commitment end date is the 17/03/2021 so unfortunately we cant close you're membership down just yet. ", you will actually find that the contract I signed with you states a commitment period end date of 30/11/2020, not 17/03/2021. I have not signed any agreement with you whereby I am committed until 17/03/2021.
 
I am very disappointed that you are claiming my membership commitment period has been extended due to the Covid pandemic. 
 
I have a number of issues with your decision, as follows: - 
 
1) I received no communication from you, your company, or the gym informing me that my membership was on freeze/hold due to Covid. 
 
The only direct communications I received from Anytime Fitness was an email received on 13th March 2020, saying that it was safe to attend the gym, and a subsequent email on 13th July 2020 saying that due to a serious flood, the gym would not be opening until 1st August 2020. 
 
I received no emails or letters informing me that my membership was suspended/frozen for any period between these two dates, or that the commitment period was being extended.
 
As I do not live in Winchester, and have been working remotely for several months, I had no idea that the gym was even closed between 13th March 2020 and 1st August 2020.
 
2) The very first clause in the terms and conditions of my contract states: 
 
"I confirm that all of the above information is correct and wish to apply for membership of the Club under the standard terms and conditions which I have
had an opportunity to read and discuss with the Club. In particular I understand and have discussed the following with the Club:
 
1. I acknowledge that my initial membership of the Club is from 27/11/2019 and will end on 30/11/2020 (the "Commitment Period") (subject to
extension if suspended by reason of my illness or injury) and agree to pay the full amount due in respect of this Commitment Period."
 
I note the section highlighted says "if suspended by reason of my illness or injury", it does not state anywhere in the terms and conditions that this also applies when the gym is closed for reasons beyond my control.
 
For you to inform me that my commitment period has now been extended due to a generic "freeze/suspension" clause in the contract is very unreasonable. The words freeze/suspension are only mentioned twice in the terms and conditions of the contract, and there is no specific reference as to what should happen in the event that the gym closes in circumstances like this.
 
As far as I am concerned, I have fulfilled my obligation in remaining with the gym for the duration of my commitment period, and I still wish to terminate my membership on the 30/11/2020.
 
Legally, you are on very dodgy ground with the terms and conditions in your contract, and from a customer goodwill perspective, this is, as stated previously, very unfair and very unreasonable.

Having read various reviews for your organisation on Trustpilot, it would appear that I am not the only one experiencing this unfair tactic from Anytime Fitness, and I will certainly be writing my own thoughts about your gym and its response on Trustpilot in respect of this.
 
I am also now seeking legal advice as to where I stand contractually with you regarding this matter, and you can expect to hear from my solicitors in due course.
 
Kind regards
[Fop14]"

 

To date, I have not received a reply or response to the above email.

 

Then, on 02-Nov-2020, I received the following generic email which looks like it has been sent to all members (note that they can't even manage to get the date that they are closing correct in the email below😞

 

"Dear [Fop14],

 

Following the Government's announcement we are unfortunately obliged to temporarily close our doors once again from 7pm on Wednesday 2nd December. 

We thank each and every one of you for your support and respect for other members over the last few months. You've helped make your gym the safest environment it possibly could be. Because of this, gyms have been immensely safe places with studies showing that there have been just 0.34 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 UK gym visits.

Anytime Fitness Winchester is independently owned, so as a small business owner in the community we are here to support each other through a difficult time and each of our members means the world to us. 

Those of you who have been part of our community since before the first lockdown in March know how it works. From Thursday 5th November your membership will be automatically frozen. It is absolutely crucial that you do NOT cancel your direct debit. If you do, your account will automatically unfreeze itself and arrears could begin to build. 

Payments will be automatically frozen for members for the 4 weeks we are closed. If your bank has already processed your payment your payment this will be credited to your account when we reopen. We will take care of this for you, so there's nothing for you to do. 

If your'e already leaving us, no action is needed. Your account is suspended like everyone else's and the remainder of your notice will continue once we reopen. We will not be processing any new cancellations whilst we are closed. With everything being frozen, this process will be reactivated once we reopen on 02/12. 

We cant wait to reopen our doors and see all of your faces again. In the meantime, please continue to check your inbox and our Facebook and Instagram pages for more information and explore our connect online for On Demand Classes to keep you fit both physically and mentally. 

https://connect.anytimefitness.co.uk/

For more home workout ideas, also check out our Anytime Fitness Workouts app. 

If there's anything you would like clarity on, please speak to a member of the team and we will be happy to help 

Take care and see you soon. 

"

 

So now, it looks like the "commitment period" is going to be extended yet again, at the say-so of Anytime Fitness.

 

In the terms and conditions that I signed, the only specific mention of what constitutes a hold/freeze are, as highlighted in my email reply above, in the event of sickness or illness. There is no mention of whether memberships will be frozen/extended in the event of the gym being closed.

 

I contacted the CAB, who said that, in their opinion, the best course of action would be to write to the gym saying that, as they can no longer offer 24/7 access to the gym, it's facilities or equipment with my key fob (which I had to pay £30.00 for, incidentally), then I consider them to be in breach of contract, and that, unless the situation was rectified within 7-14 days, then I would terminate the contract.

 

As a result of this, I have now formulated this letter, which I intend to send to Anytime Fitness by recorded delivery tomorrow morning:

 

"The Club Manager

Anytime Fitness

28 Jewry Street

Winchester

SO23 8RY

 

5th November 2020

 

Dear Sir or Madam,

 

I entered into an agreement with your company on 27/11/2019. At the time of signing this agreement, I was advised by your representative that the service would include:

 

1. 24 Hour / 7 Days-a-week access to the gym by means of a key access fob, to use all of the gym equipment and facilities within.

 

The above constitutes an essential part of the contract, and, as of Thursday 5th November 2020, this is no longer being fulfilled. 

 

I am requesting your company to honour the contract within 7 days from the date of this letter, otherwise I will have no option but to repudiate the agreement, and cancel the contract without incurring penalties.

 

Therefore, I would also request a refund of any costs incurred arising from your breach, as follows:

 

1. A refund of the security FOB fee of £30.00

 

I look forward to your response within the 7 day deadline in order to resolve this matter amicably.


 

Yours faithfully

 

[Fop14]"

 

My questions relating to the above are: -

 

1) Can Anytime Fitness fairly impose a seemingly never ending series of contract extensions to my commitment period?

2) Is this new approach of claiming breach of contract legally sound, given that all gyms are now being forced to close down for a month?

3) Am I within my rights in claiming back the deposit for the access key fob?

 

I have read some awful stories on Trustpilot about other people in this situation, it seems to be a common murky tactic that they are employing to keep people tied in to the commitment period longer than initially agreed.

 

I have the full T&Cs and the agreement that I signed available, should it be required.

 

Thank you in advance for any assistance.

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you ignore them

you owe no-one nothing.

 

moved to the gym forum

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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  • dx100uk changed the title to Anytime Fitness

:rockon:

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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 Fop and welcome to CAG

 

Sorry but your post is too long and I haven't the time to read it all just now.

 

But, having read your initial letter to the gym and their resply, I would not contact the gym further for now. Arguing the toss with them is simply a waste of your time.

 

Please confirm :-

 

1. Date the last DD was taken by the gym.

 

2. Have you cancelled the DD mandate via your bank yet.

 

We will need to have a think about how you get the entry fob deposit back.

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Thank you for your reply, Slick.

 

I won't contact the gym any further as you suggest, as I've given a full calendar month's notice, and expressed in writing that I intend for my end date to be 30/11/2020, as per our original signed contract.

 

I can confirm: -

 

1. The last DD was taken on 2nd November, to cover the month of November.

2. After reading through the horror stories here on CAG, and the wise advice given by you and the team, I cancelled the DD today - bracing myself for the onslaught of phone calls / threatening letters.

 

To be honest, I'm not really that bothered about getting the key fob money back, I just want to cut all ties with the gym now and have nothing further to do with them (...or any of the other money-grubbing similar gyms who seem to be employing the same tactics).

 

I did consider sending one final letter tomorrow, based on information given by you and your colleagues on CAG (copied below), but will probably hold off now, based on your advice:

 

"A printed copy of this letter has been sent by recorded delivery on 5th November 2020.

 
The Club Manager
Anytime Fitness
128 Jewry Street
Winchester
SO23 8RY
 
Dear sir/madam
 
I write with reference to my previous letter dated 26th October 2020, Ref: Notice to Cancel Membership Number AGWC99999 in the name of [Fop14], and your subsequent response.
 
As per the agreement that I signed, I joined for twelve months ending on 30-Nov-2020, and paid for this while I could use the gym.
 
Any claims by yourselves attempting to extend the duration of this agreement without my consent are unlawful, and unenforceable.
 
Therefore, my notice of contract termination remains, as detailed in my previous letter dated 26th October 2020, ending on the agreed date of 30th November 2020.
 
I note that the last payment of my agreed membership period was taken out of my bank on 2nd November 2020, and all payments within the contract start and end dates are now up to date.
 
The direct debit mandate has therefore been cancelled, and I will be making no further payments to you in respect of this contract/membership.
 
Please ensure that I am not contacted by either yourselves or any debt collection agencies regarding any purported further monies owed, as the contract will be terminated on the agreed date of 30th November 2020, and any such claims for payment will be null and void.
 
Yours faithfully
 

[Fop14]"

 

Thanks again for your guidance in dealing with these shady organisations and their dodgy contracts!

 

 

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Hi Fop,
 
Can I suggest you send a shorter version as follows, to avoid unnecessary repetition of things you already clarified.
 
No need to keep paying for RM Signed For Delivery - just send from the PO and get a free Certificate of Posting which you can keep as prrof.
 
Dear sir/madam
 
I refer to my letter of 26th October 2020, Ref: Notice to Cancel Membership Number AGWC99999 in the name of [Fop14].
 
My notice of contract termination remains, ending on 30th November 2020.
 
The final payment was taken by DD on 2nd November 2020 and the DD mandate has now been cancelled via my bank direct.
 
Please confirm in writing how and when you will return my entry fob deposit of £30 so I can return the fob to you.
 
 
Yours faithfully

[Fop14]
 
Let us know how they reply but don't respond to any demands or anything else for now.

We could do with some help from you

                                                                PLEASE HELP US TO KEEP THIS SITE RUNNING

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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