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trying to cancel Gym membership


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Hi,

Please bear with me becuase this is a bit long winded!!!

 

My wife joined a Gym on a 12 month contract. She agreed monthly payments with a company called Leisure Finance.

 

After a few months it became apparent that the club was a dump.

The floor area was not level, many of the machines were not working properly, she was never given an induction and the keep fit classes were repeatedly cancelled without warning.

 

After 6 months of this she decided she had had enough and joined a different Gym. We cancelled the direct debit and wrote a letter to the Gym saying we were cancelling membership due to the problems as described above. We got no response.

 

Then a letter arrived from the finance company saying we were in arrears. We sent a recorded delivery letter to them explaining why the direct debit had been stopped and asked for the account to be put on hold while the issue was resolved. We also sent a recorded delivery letter to the Gym explaining again the reasons for cancelling and asking them to reply within a reasonable time period.

 

The finance company agreed to put the account on hold until 15-12-06 (2 weeks) while we awaited a reply from the Gym but we never received one.

 

We sent another letter by recorded post to the finance company on 12-12-06 stating that the Gym had not responded and asking them what we should do.

 

Their written response to this was a new arrears notice with a £30 admin fee for late payment and a threat of court action

 

I called the Finance company and asked them what they were playing at and they said that they were in discussions with the Gym and a letter would be sent out to us in the near future. They again agreed to put the account on hold until 12-1-07

 

So........

~ for my money the Gym has broken the contract as they have not provided the promised service.

~ secondly, they have now had well over a month to respond and have not done so. I would say this is not `reasonable` and therefore they are at fault

~ thirdly, the finance company have responded in an aggresive bullying manner and have not attempted to help us in the slightest.

 

Am i right or am i talking rubbish? Should I just pay the £150 and forget it? Its become a point of principle now but we dont want to end up blacklisted!!

 

I would be very grateful for any experiences or advice!

Thank you

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hi there.

 

Basically I think my limited knowledge may be enough to help you.

 

You need to write to the finance company advising them that you are repudiating the contract. This is legal speak for cancelling it due to not receiving the goods/services as promised.

 

If you have a look around here and also google contract law, you will find more about this repudiation.

 

By repudiating the contract it stops being in force immediately and so no cancellation costs occur.

 

I believe you may have to give them notice, again get scanning to find more information.

 

Good luck!

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Good advice.

 

Additionally, the £30 admin fee is almost certainly unlawful on one of two grounds:

 

1) You have no contract with the finance company allowing them to charge you for anything (not a penny!); or

 

2) There is a clause in the contract you originally signed with the gym that says that if a third party is used to collect the debt they can charge you admin fees. However, in this case the same point of law that applies to bank charges applies here; they must show the charge is a reasonable reflection of their costs, otherwise it is unlawful and thus unenforceable.

 

Further, you have already written to them informing them that the account is in dispute so they should be making NO attempt to enforce the debt until the dispute is resolved. It is not for them to decide the deadlines.

 

Firstly, I think it would be very much in your interests to see a copy of the original contract, both to see what it has to say (if anything) about collection fees and to see what (if anything) it says about the quality of service the gym will provide.

 

I would recommend sending the finance company a copy of the following letter, by recorded delivery, with a cc to the gym:

 

[Your address]

 

 

[The date]

 

 

[Company address]

 

Dear Sir/Madam

 

Re:− Account/Reference Number [reference number]

 

As we have previouly stated, this account is in dispute. We are repudiating the contract with [name of gym company] because the service provided by the gym was completely unsatisfactory and not as described.

     

    With reference to the above account, which we understand you are attempting to enforce, we would be grateful if you would send us a copy of this credit agreement.

     

    We understand that under the Consumer Credit Act 1974 (Sections 77−79), we are entitled to receive a copy of our credit agreement on request. We enclose a payment of £1.00 which represents the fee payable under the Consumer Credit Act.

     

    We understand a copy of our credit agreement should be supplied within 12 working days.

     

    Failure to supply a copy of our credit agreement within 30 days constitutes a criminal offence, which we will have no hesitation in reporting to the relevant authorities including the police and the OFT.

     

    We understand that under the Consumer Credit Act creditors are unable to enforce an agreement if they fail to comply with a request for a copy of the agreement under these sections of the Act.

     

    Furthermore, we note you have added a £30 so-called admin charge to this account, despite the fact we have notified you in writing that the account is in dispute. We ask you to remove this unlawful charge from the account immediately.

     

    Please note that any court action you may be considering will be vigorously contested.

     

    We look forward to hearing from you.

     

    Yours faithfully

     

    [Your names]

     

    That should do for the moment. If they still have not removed the 'admin fee' once you have the contract, we can establish whether there is contractual provision for them to impose it. Even if there is you should still get it back, but the argument as to why will depend on the terms of the contract.

     

    I hope this has been of some use. Please keep us posted.

     

    Edited to add: Don't forget to inclose a cheque or postal order for £1 to cover the statutory fee.

  • Confused 1

Gruffle Gaw vs Halifax - £1531.50: ***WON - cheque for £1966.78 received 30/09/06***:)

I'm not a legal professional and my advice is given without prejudice or liability.

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Oh, and I am sure you are already doing this, but remember to keep copies of EVERYTHING you send these cowboys so that your backs are covered if this does progress to court.

Gruffle Gaw vs Halifax - £1531.50: ***WON - cheque for £1966.78 received 30/09/06***:)

I'm not a legal professional and my advice is given without prejudice or liability.

If you found my post helpful, please click the scales on the left.

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@gruffle gaw - thank you so much for taking the time to put such a detailed response. I am very grateful. I will follow this through later this evening when I get home.

 

@mickthemiller - thanks also for a quick response

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi,

I now have a copy of the contract from the Gym.

I would be grateful if someone could advise what I should do next.

I cant attach it to my post so Im not sure what I should do!!

Thanks

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Hi there.

 

You should do several things:

 

1) check that it is an ORIGINAL copy, signed by yourself and a member of their staff and dated appropriately.

 

2) Read through it and see what, if anything, it says about collection fees in the event the account falls into arrears.

 

Let us know and we'll advise you further.

Gruffle Gaw vs Halifax - £1531.50: ***WON - cheque for £1966.78 received 30/09/06***:)

I'm not a legal professional and my advice is given without prejudice or liability.

If you found my post helpful, please click the scales on the left.

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If you go to a free webhosting service and upload scans of it there (blacking out on the scan any identifying details about yourself, obviously) then upload a link, we can view it. I think the 'no attachment' rule here is for space's sake.

 

like Uploading.com - The best file hosting service!

-----

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Hi,

 

I used to sell gym memberships using Leisure Finance agreements.

 

I used to have the power to cancel agreements based on a number of factors - exceptionally poor service, moving out of the area, loss of job, medical condidition preventing exercise.

 

I have to say that I cancelled anybodys who asked as I never found signing people up to the agreements fair.

 

My advice would be to appeal directly to the gym manager, start with a polite approach in writing explaining your reasons for leaving, be aware that gym managers are trained in member retention so expect them to try and make you stay.

 

What are your reasons for leaving? I may be able to help with an angle (I spent 13 yrs working in gyms)

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After a few months it became apparent that the club was a dump.

The floor area was not level, many of the machines were not working properly, she was never given an induction and the keep fit classes were repeatedly cancelled without warning.

Just seen this bit! Sorry

 

If you write with your issues to the gym manager I can not see him holding you to the agreement.

 

If he does try and hold you to it, let me know I I'll tell you how to escalate it.

 

Leisure Finance dont give a damn, but the gym will....

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Hi,

Thx for responses, will try to upload forms later this evening.

I dont hold out much hope for the gym because it is quite a small grotty place and when my wife went in to sign the contract she asked if she could take it home for me to read and the manager said `no, its not allowed to be taken off the premises` which set me worrying straight away.

 

I should add that we have now written 3 letters to the gym all delivered by recorded delivery saying we are cancelling. They have not replied to a single one of them. Its been over a month now!

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I would threaten with contacting the local press and Health and Safety as well as other associations such as the FIA (Fitness Industry Association) Dont do this by letter, call the gym owner personally.

 

I did this with Livingwell and they cancelled my membership no problem.

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MySpace - View Image

This link should be page 1 of the contract

 

and this link should be page 2 I hope

MySpace - View Image

 

I spoke to the credit agency today, they reckon they have sent us a letter stating the club refuses to cancel the contract but we havent received it.

 

They have refused to remove the £30 charge also. Very snotty woman!

 

Help someone please!! Would you still suggest speaking directly with the gym is the way to go?

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also, having read through the contract it says this....

 

~the consumer credit act lays down certain requirements for your protection which should have been complied with when this agreement was made. If they were not the lender cannot enforce this agreement without getting a court order.

 

What are these requirements?

 

~then it says,

this act gives you a number of rights, item 2) if you received unsatisfactory goods or services paid for under this agreement you may have the right to sue the supplier, the lender or both

 

other than stating the contract is with the gym it doesnt really mention it at all!

 

does that help me??

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*bump* can't help with the contract itself but I've just been to uploading.com and it has dating popups now, so I've uploaded the jpegs to my myspace account. Once they're approved, they should be here:

MySpace - View Image

and

MySpace - View Image

 

EDIT: Yep, they're there - can you edit your previous post to remove the uploading.com link, please? As they've changed it to include those popups it may contravene site rules. Sorry, should've checked first :)

-----

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  • 2 weeks later...
Hi there.

 

You should do several things:

 

1) check that it is an ORIGINAL copy, signed by yourself and a member of their staff and dated appropriately.

 

2) Read through it and see what, if anything, it says about collection fees in the event the account falls into arrears.

 

Let us know and we'll advise you further.

 

@ gruffle gaw.

 

it is an original copy and it has a list of charges that they can apply, all of which seem extortionate.

they have since sent a letter to say the gym disagree and they are pursuing me for the money. any more advice? im a bit stuck tbh!!

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