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@anytimefitnessUK Refuse to refund membership paid over Lockdown period


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Good afternoon.

 

I am a member of Anytime Fitness on a rolling-monthly contract.

 

In March 2020, my home gym (Aldgate) sent an e-mail asking members to continue paying, freeze, or cancel their membership. If you didn't reply they would automatically keep taking payments.

 

Me (being naive and stupid), didn't reply to their email. My £40 a month D/D payments continued. These would be reduced to 50% once gyms opened again. I paid 100% (£40) Apr, May, Jun, Jul, and 50% (£20) in Aug, Sep, Oct.

 

I DID attend the gym July - October, so I am owed 3 'half-months' and around a week (from July) of payments from Aldgate.

 

My home gym then switched to Lewisham in November by default as I had visited that gym more.

Lewisham charged me the 50% for Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb, Mar, and this went back up to 100% (£40) in April.

 

Again I DID attend Lewisham in Nov and Dec outside of restrictions. I have also attended the gym this month.
Therefore I have overpaid them by at least a month, plus the latter part of December. It gets even more confusing as their basic membership fee is £24.95.

 

Aldgate will not refund me, nor will they transfer what I essentially overpaid to Lewisham, despite the gym being one-brand it is ran by a different franchisee.

Lewisham are not so quick at replying to e-mails. They said I can talk to their management when I next visit, but I want to keep everything written (even if it is electronically) for now. I am however going in there tomorrow to give them a piece of my mind. 

 

Anytime Fitness don't have a central 'complaints/info' e-mail, they essentially just push you off to the individual clubs.

 

Should I just try claiming a refund though my bank? All payments are made to a company called Clubwise, which I am told is a membership payment system that all ATF gyms use.

 

Many thanks.
 

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just work out how many DD's each owes you and go do a indemnity claim.

 

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 Rich and welcome to CAG

 

I assume in para 2 of your post that you meant to say, "In March 2020" but please confirm.

 

I think most gyms suspended DD's while gyms were forced to close due to Covid. So I'm surprised that ATF continued to take DD's and also that you (and maybe others) allowed them to do this.

 

Before you decide what you want to reclaim under the DD Guarantee Scheme, we need to know if you want to remain a member. This may be difficult if you get into a dispute and/or reclaim DD's.

 

Once you confirm, we can suggest what you should reclaim using the DDGS.

 

IMHO, if the gym was closed to you, you should reclaim. But you should pay for any months when the gym was open and you used it.

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6 hours ago, rich_p said:

. If you didn't reply they would automatically keep taking payments.

is the most disturbing part, .....by default it should have been the freeze option.

money grabbers!

 

 

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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Posted (edited)

Thank you for the replies all.

 

Yes March 2020, apologies for that error.

 

I can take it or leave it with the membership, plenty of other spots around. If it means burning bridges to get what is owed, then so be it.

 

However, also happy to pay for membership when I have used it. I have stated this in an e-mail to their management. Fair's fair, however their refusal to refund OR transfer over extra payments from one franchise to another is not.

 

Particularly as they operate as one fitness group, with a centralised payment system, website, same branding, and the ability to access any site, worldwide! 

Edited by rich_p
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pers i'd DD guarantee reclaim ALL the payments on months whereby you did not use 'a gym' , whereby their default action was to take payment not freeze it.

 

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 Rich,

 

I'd focus on finding a new gym asap.

 

As DX says, contact your bank and ask for a refund of DD's taken recently that equate with the amount taken by DD over the months for any whole month you were unable to use the gym due to Covid closure.

 

I wouldn't bother explaning anything to the gym for now. We can deal with this later.

 

Let us know what amount you'll reclaim using the DDGS and the way in which you calculate the amount.

We could do with some help from you

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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.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi all,

 

Tardy responses from the gyms (not wholly surprised) have delayed updating this thread.

 

I asked Starling Bank to refund two amounts (£20 + £40) that would equate to balancing my membership from Anytime Fitness Aldgate during 2020, however they have refused as below:

"Unfortunately this isn't a merchant error. Facilities not operating as a result of the lockdown is not a merchant error therefore we can not dispute this for you"

"You will have to resolve this with the merchant directly".

 

Now, Anytime Fitness Lewisham seem to think that my payments from Jan - Mar 2021 (£60 total) will be put towards my membership for the rest of the year.

 

However they recently took payments in April AND May, and ended up taking £64.15 too much! 

 

According to their e-mail, I will be refunded this £64.15 by the 14th of April.

 

Given their continued carelessness, I am inclined to just cancel my membership for June and try to claim back as much as I can.

 

Thoughts please?

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your bank cant refused a DD guarantee claim...

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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Share on other sites

Hi Rich,

 

There was really no need to wait for a reply from the gym.

 

Go back to your bank and tell them, " I require a refund of DD's taken by the gym on xxdate, xxdate and xxdate in the sume of £xx.xx, £xx.xx and £xx.xx respectively. I am entitled to such refunds under the Direct Debit Guarantee Scheme to which banks subscribe."

 

No need to justify to the bank what amount you require. 

 

Reclaim precise recent DD's that equate to what you've now overpaid to the gym.

 

Do it via the bank and don't involve the gym - it's unnecessary.

  • Thanks 1

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  • 2 weeks later...

UPDATE:

I complained via e-mail using the above method using exact dates and amounts.

 

Starling closed the case without contacting me directly, (you can just see a greyed out note in the app) therefore I did not see this for a few days. 

 

When I spoke to them via web chat, the advisor just recommended to take this up with the Financial Ombudsman, which I have since done because I do not know what else do to.

 

Anytime Fitness froze my membership over the weekend for no reason, and are requesting that I digitally sign a new contract so my account can be unfrozen.

 

I will of course refuse to sign anything that locks me in for anything longer than a month, as I now wish to cancel the contract (ending end of June, so plenty time) and fight to get back what money back is owed.

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did you go get your moneyback?

 

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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Share on other sites

I have been refunded for an overcharge in April and May 2021 but they had already agreed to that.

 

I have not received anything else, hence going to the Ombudsman. 

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On 07/05/2021 at 21:23, slick132 said:

Hi Rich,

 

There was really no need to wait for a reply from the gym.

 

Go back to your bank and tell them, " I require a refund of DD's taken by the gym on xxdate, xxdate and xxdate in the sume of £xx.xx, £xx.xx and £xx.xx respectively. I am entitled to such refunds under the Direct Debit Guarantee Scheme to which banks subscribe."

 

No need to justify to the bank what amount you require. 

 

Reclaim precise recent DD's that equate to what you've now overpaid to the gym.

 

Do it via the bank and don't involve the gym - it's unnecessary.

 

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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Waiting for the FOS could take many weeks depending on their workload.

 

1. When did you last use the gym facility.

 

2. You say you asked for refunds of £20 and £40 - please confirm, were these actual DD's taken for the m/ship.

 

It may be useful to ask Starling, "As you subscribe to the DD Guarantee Scheme, please confirm exactly why you have refused to refund DD's in accordance with my request, which is allowed according to the DDGS."

 

But don't do this until you answer Q's 1 and 2 above.

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1. 13th May.

 

2. Yes the amounts, combinations of £19.98 and £39.95 that equate to what I am owed, were for DD's taken last year by Aldgate.

 

On my second DD refund request to Starling I used the template slick132 provided, but this time I included the 3 payments taken by Lewisham in 2021;

 

"I require a refund of DD's taken by Clubwise on; 
 
01/04/20, 01/05/20, 03/08/20, 04/01/21, 01/02/21 and 01/03/21
 
in the sums of;
£39.95, £39.95, £19.98, £19.98, £19.98 and £19.98 respectively.
 
I am entitled to such refunds under the Direct Debit Guarantee Scheme to which banks subscribe."
 
There is even an email which Lewisham say they will not charge their members for April, yet lo and behold the DD for that month was taken as usual.
 
 
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Ok, I think the matter could be complicated by you asking for specific months back instead of consecutive months.

 

In any event, I suggest you now go back to Starling by email and/or Chat saying :-

 

 

I have to repeat my request for a refund of DD's taken by Clubwise, namely :-

 

01/04/20, 01/05/20, 03/08/20, 04/01/21, 01/02/21 and 01/03/21

 

in the sums of;

£39.95, £39.95, £19.98, £19.98, £19.98 and £19.98 respectively.

 

I am entitled to such refunds under the Direct Debit Guarantee Scheme to which Starling Bank subscribes.

 

If you are unwilling to refund as per my valid request, please confirm your reason for refusing to abide by the DD Guarantee Scheme so I can pursue the matter as a formal complaint.

 

If you want to cancel with the gym immediately and go elsewhere, you have grounds to do this based simply on the gym's failure to make proper use of the DD mandate during lockdown.

 

Keep us posted .............

 

 

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Just before I lodge a third claim with my bank, you say it may be complicated by asking for specific months.

 

Do you therefore think I should lodge two separate claims; one for Aldgate, one for Lewisham?

 

Do dates matter, or is it more the amounts? The various lockdowns etc I guess make this more complex than it rather should be. 

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No, lodge one single claim as the amounts were all taken by the one payee, Clubwise.

 

Lodge the claim as I've drafted from your info.

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Just received from Starling;
As previously advised, this isn't a merchant error. Facilities not operating as a result of a lockdown is not a merchant error therefore we can not dispute this for you. You will have to resolve this with the merchant directly. 

Can I ask if you have been in touch with the merchant directly, and if so, what their response was?

 
I also spoke to a Citizen's Advice representative earlier who gave me a template to use directly against the gyms themselves. 
No other action has been taken.
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Hi Rich,

 

Our experience with CAB is that they tend to be a bit timid with their advice and are unlikely to be of help in you getting money back.

 

The DDGS is outlined here - https://www.directdebit.co.uk/DirectDebitExplained/Pages/Incorrectpayments.aspx

 

We have seen many cases where refunds have been made to CAG Site Users, despite the DDGS saying banks can't refund in contractual dispute cases. 

 

Quite simply, I believe the gym had no right to continue to charge you by default because you failed to opt to freeze or cancel.

 

I would go back to Starling saying this is not a contractual dispute - the DD mandate was used to take fees that the gym had no right to take.

 

Accordingly, you want your complaint escalated to a senior staff member, to authorise the refunds, or give you an adequate explanation for refusing to do so.

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Again banging my head on purple-coloured brick wall;
 

“Unfortunately we are unable to raise a Direct Debit Indemnity claim for this, as the agreement between yourself and Anytime Fitness/Clubwise was still active, even though the gym was not.

I can only suggest that you email/call them again to dispute this.

I apologise, as this is not the response that you have hoped for, but we are unable to dispute these payments on our end.”

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Does the last reply come from a senior staff member, or no indication about this.

 

At least they've given you a more detailed reason this time.

 

I still fail to see how their comments stand up to scrutiny. Lets see if anyone else has suggestions - if not, I'll see if the Site Team have some.

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Hi Slick, I forgot to reply my apologies.

 

No indication this is from a senior staff member.

 

I have cancelled my D/D and I am drafting a letter to both branches of Anytime Fitness before I go back to the retail Ombudsman ( I originally wrote to the wrong one because I am an idiot ).

 

Is there a template available?

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Hi Rich,

 

I wouldn't waste your time writing to the 2 gym branches - they'll be uninterested and won't help you at all.

 

I'm not aware of any Ombudsman that deals with gym memberships, so that's a non-starter IMHO.

 

I've asked the Site Team for any input and will come back to you on this.

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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