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Firstly please forgive me as I have very little idea of my rights and was hoping for a bit of friendly advise.

 

I have canceled my membership with the gym Fitness First by sending a letter to the manager of my local branch giving one months notice and then subsequently canceling my direct debit (having allowed a payment to be made to cover that month). 3 months later a debt collection agency (C.A.R.S) have contacted me on my mobile phone to tell me I owe a months money plus about £25 extra fee as no cancellation notice was received by FF. I contacted FF directly and they said that they did not receive any communication from the manager of my local branch regarding my cancellation so they sent 3 letters to my address and receiving no response passed it on to C.A.R.S. therefore incurring an extra charge.

 

I have several questions if someone could be kind enough to help:

 

1) Neither FF or CARS have my current address as I have moved house 3 times since the 3 years ago I joined. How easy is it for CARS to trace me?

 

2) FF refuse to contact the branch manager to check to see if he's made a mistake in not informing them. Is this unreasonable of them.

 

3) Is it lawful for FF to add on a £25 surcharge even though they made no effort to contact me by phone (they still had my current mobile number). When I asked them why they didn't do it they said "it is not our policy" which was pretty much their answer to everything.

 

4) What are my chances of defending this even though I didn't send the letter recorded post?

 

5) Can I send them a cheque for the months membership fee (again sigh) and refuse to pay the surcharge? If so can I make it a condition of payment that this discharges the debt and if so how do I do this?

 

6) Can they pursue me into court even if they cannot locate me?

 

Any help on any of this would be greatly appreciated.

 

PS Fitness First are really the pits:sad:

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Firstly please forgive me as I have very little idea of my rights and was hoping for a bit of friendly advise.

 

I have canceled my membership with the gym Fitness First by sending a letter to the manager of my local branch giving one months notice and then subsequently canceling my direct debit (having allowed a payment to be made to cover that month). 3 months later a debt collection agency (C.A.R.S) have contacted me on my mobile phone to tell me I owe a months money plus about £25 extra fee as no cancellation notice was received by FF. I contacted FF directly and they said that they did not receive any communication from the manager of my local branch regarding my cancellation so they sent 3 letters to my address and receiving no response passed it on to C.A.R.S. therefore incurring an extra charge.

 

I have several questions if someone could be kind enough to help:

 

1) Neither FF or CARS have my current address as I have moved house 3 times since the 3 years ago I joined. How easy is it for CARS to trace me?

 

2) FF refuse to contact the branch manager to check to see if he's made a mistake in not informing them. Is this unreasonable of them.

 

3) Is it lawful for FF to add on a £25 surcharge even though they made no effort to contact me by phone (they still had my current mobile number). When I asked them why they didn't do it they said "it is not our policy" which was pretty much their answer to everything.

 

4) What are my chances of defending this even though I didn't send the letter recorded post?

 

5) Can I send them a cheque for the months membership fee (again sigh) and refuse to pay the surcharge? If so can I make it a condition of payment that this discharges the debt and if so how do I do this?

 

6) Can they pursue me into court even if they cannot locate me?

 

Any help on any of this would be greatly appreciated.

 

PS Fitness First are really the pits:sad:

 

 

1. Fairly easy for them to trace you if you are on electoral register, or with utility companies etc. They do have your current mobile so could perhaps trace you through this?

 

2. I feel they should be checking with the branch manager.

 

3. Not sure how lawful this charge is but they would argue that you should have notified them of the changes of address.

 

4. Have you got a copy of the letter and how did you send it?

 

5. You could send them a months membership marked 'in full and final settlement', but if you have followed their procedure and it's their mistake why should you.

 

6. They can take you to court but it probably wouldn't be worth it for a small amount.

 

Me thinks you should write them a letter, enclosing a copy of the original notice letter refusing to take responsibilty for their administrative cock-ups.

Poppynurse :)

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for your reply. Sorry for this late response but I have been away for Christmas.

 

The reason I am thinking of sending them the months money again is that I did not send the original cancellation notice by recorded delivery and therefore cannot "prove" that I sent it at all. I do have a copy of the letter as it was composed on my computer. I do not want this small amount of money to ruin my credit in the future and am totally unsure of what they can do to me in that respect.

 

I have to say the whole thing has angered me especially since I have found out that they have a habit of doing this and there is a website devoted to Fitness First and their dodgy ways.

 

If I do send them a cheque marked 'in full and final settlement' and they cash it is that the end of the matter?

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  • 2 months later...

I am in EXACTLY the same situation with Fitness First.

 

In October last year I contacted them to find out about regularly using a different club and was told my monthly subscription would go up, I therefore told them I would cancel as I didn't use it enough. Around November 18th I delivered a cancellation letter by hand to the London Bridge club, and then waited one month before cancelling my direct debit. In January I received a call telling me they hadn't received my cancellation and that I was now one month in arrears. I explained about the previous letter but was told they had never received it and nonetheless it should have been taken to my home club (America Square) in order to be valid. They would also therefore pursue me for the £39 due. A week ago I received a letter from C.A.R.S. informing me that my £64 balance was due immediately and threatening all the usual (no breakdown of the £64 on the notice).

 

I am considering giving them the £39 with a full and final settlement letter just to get rid of them.

 

Could anyone please advise,

Can they really just add £25 to the debt?

Is there anything I can do without proof of delivery of the previous letter.

If I do pay the additional £39, do i have to deal with C.A.R.S and where do I stand with regards to this?

 

TIA

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brilliant site, many thanks to the admins and all those who post. Invaluable.

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Okay I decided I'd give up and pay the £39 to Fitness First to get them off my back, I wrote them a letter, delivered by hand and signed for while I was there to ensure it wouldn't be lost. I have just had a call from them telling me thanks for the £39 but they are charging me an additional £25 for 'credit control costs'. The letter I delivered stated that when banked the £39 was considered a full and final settlement of the outstanding debt, as far as I can see they haven't banked it yet. I also told them to put any query in writing, can they ignore my request and just keep calling me ?

 

This is beyond a joke, Fitness First are a bunch of cheating thieves, I wonder how many of these they have every month, probably a tidy profit from this [problem].

 

Can anybody suggest anything here, what should I do, should I pay the £25 as well ?

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  • 1 month later...

Oula - how was your issue resolved? Did you win???

 

I am in the exact same situation as you - however when I tried to cancel my membership due to moving house not once was I asked for my new address only threatened with court action if I didn't continue to pay!!! I continued to pay the remainder of my membership even though I didn't use the gym - I gave them a months notice of cancellation althoguh like you I didn't send it recorder delivery & cancelled my DD after the 12th payment was made. Received 1 phone call from FF after I cancelled the DD to say that I owed another month as my membership ran from Feb - Feb which as I explained to the woman on the phone would make it 13 payments. THat was the last I heard from them until yesterday when I received a phone call from C A R S asking for my address - which I didn't give them - Telling me that FF had taken action against outstanding money!!

 

Please help!!!

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Very similar situation to one I'm dealing with, except with Next Generation.

 

I quoted part of Next Gen's terms and conditions back at them, regarding a specific "Force Majeure" portion of their contract, which seems to state that neither the member nor the club are responsible for any delay / breach which is outside of the members or the clubs control.

 

I've politely explained that the failure of the postal service to deliver my letter (not recorded delivery) OR the failure of their internal admin system is something which isn't under my control, therefore the delay in them receiving notice of cancellation isn't my problem, and they've no legal right to enforce the notice period.

 

I say "similar" - this was for a 3 month notice period. Notice duly sent, but (seemingly) not received. Reminder sent in the 3rd month, 5 days prior to the final payment, and NGC immediately wrote back saying this is the first they'd heard of termination, so the 3 months starts from that letter. I disagree.

 

In the case of FF, if they have a similar clause, it might be worth looking into. The case I'm dealing with isn't fully tested yet, as they haven't responded to accept or deny the reliance on that particular clause in the T&C.

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  • 1 year later...

What an awful company. I moved house and stopped attending the gym. I always intended joining a new gym but just never got around to it. Fifteen months lated I realised that it just wasn't going to happen and so after continuing paying my monthly membership all that time and not attending I called my bank and cancelled my monthly payments. I naievely thought that Fitness First would recognise my non attendance and non payment of their fees as a sign that our relationship was over and that they would cancel my membership. Guess what? Nope. Six weeks later CARS the debt collection agency is all over me for £65 for an extra months membership and a penalty fee. This is an awful club with no good will whatsoever. Do not join.

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  • 1 month later...

I am having exactly the situation! How are they getting away with this?

 

Firstly, I tried to cancel my membership in person at the gym and was told I needed to phone, when I phoned I was told I needed to write. So I sent a letter to the gym I was a member at on May 5th 2008. A direct debit for the next month came out of my bank on May 9th. I figured that this was the last months subs paid and so I cancelled my direct debit.

 

Then I get a letter telling me that I haven't paid my subs owing - and here's a free gueat pass! I phone the number on the letter and tell them that I haven't paid because I cancelled my membership over a month ago. The girl on the phone tells me that I have to give a months notice. I tell her I did give a months notice. She says we have no record of that. I say I have record of that. I sent the letter at the start of the month BEFORE the money for the next month came out - that payment was my notice month - I am not paying you any more. Then we went around in circles for a bit as she just kept reading off her script rather than answer me and I terminated the conversation.

 

Then I get a more threatening letter saying that if I don't pay they will take the issue to external debt collectors. I write back and explain that a months notice given and subs paid and I'm not paying anymore.

 

This Friday I get a letter from CARS saying I owe money with £25 added to it. I phoned them and said I wasn't going to pay because I didn't owe Fitness First any money. They said we will make a note of that in your file and suggest you write again to fitness first.

 

I have just written another letter to fitness first (this time being sent recorded delivery) suggesting that if they insist on continuing with this ridiculous claim then I suggest that they take me to court for as I believe their claim to be unjust and I do not wish to receive anymore harassing letters.

 

Have I just unleashed a special kind of hell on myself? I refuse to pay an extra month I don't owe out of principle. If they do this to every member that cancels - and from what I've read recently, they do - they must make hundreds of thousands of pounds in extra cash, by stealing it from people who clearly aren't going to be members again anyway so why not! This is outrageous behavour.

 

If they do take it to court (although I suspect they won't for £28 - now £52.75) I will probably make it a group action and try a find all the other people they have done this to too.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Despite being told by CARS that they would make a note on my file and the fact I sent them copies of the letters sent to Fitness First I received yet another letter, this time threatening court action and in capitals - how additional legal costs will be charged against me, how it will be difficult for me to get future credit, how they can seize my assets by sending the bailiffs around etc etc - it goes on. No wonder most people get scared and pay these buggers! It seems to have gone from fraud to extortion with such threats.

 

I phoned them up and said that I still wasn't going to pay as i didn't owe FF any more money and they said that they would take it to court. I said no problem - in that case could they please send all future menacing letters to my solicitor. "Oh! You have a solicitor?" they said. "Well your letters were very threatening and I wanted to see where I stood legally" I said.

 

Talking about this with my brother I also discovered that he had EXACTLY the same trouble as me and you. He said that he got to the same stage that I am at now and once he told them that he was going to get a solicitor and seek legal advice - he never heard another thing from them. (Clearly they know what they are doing is wrong then). So fingers crossed that this will be the last I hear from them too.

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Not sure what the status of this is but my brother got this letter a while back despite the month notice + letter.

 

We made many calls indicating that it was infact their fault in a way for taking on someone at the gym who was underage too at the time!

 

Anyway... more of those CARS letters came ...got ignored and eventually they stopped (this is going back 3-4 years now)

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Not sure what the status of this is but my brother got this letter a while back despite the month notice + letter.

 

We made many calls indicating that it was infact their fault in a way for taking on someone at the gym who was underage too at the time!

 

Anyway... more of those CARS letters came ...got ignored and eventually they stopped (this is going back 3-4 years now)

 

 

But did they put a default on his credit record? Quite often these guys give up but still put a default on your credit records, so check every 6 months - 1 year and come back for help if they have and I'm sure somebody will try to help.

 

Don't waste money on the advanced services offered by Equifax, Experian & Callcredit. Order your statutory report at £2 from each company.

 

Equifax & Callcredit require a copy of your passport or drivers licence and a copy of one document proving your address.

Experian require a copy of your passport or drivers licence and an original document proving your address.

 

The forms are available from their websites;

Equifax: https://www.econsumer.equifax.co.uk/...le%2012-07.pdf

 

Experian: http://experian.metafaq.com/resource...dAppFormJuly06

 

Callcredit: http://www.callcredit.co.uk/download/creditfileapp.pdf

 

I recommend using all 3. The £2 cheques need to be in your name or postal orders, 3rd party cheques are not accepted by them. Preferably don't give them your e-mail address as you will have no end of junk from them and they may only communicate with you by e-mail afterwards. - From experience.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

:!: All the information I impart is my advice based on my experience. It does not constitute professional advice. If in doubt, always consult with a professional. :!:

 

:-) If you feel my post has been helpful, please click my scales. :-)

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Nope no default, nothing at all. Things might have changed now I guess.

 

I am a full member with Experian and have been for many years, 50 quid a year and anytime my "account" changes whether its a search or whatever else, they send me an email.

I then get my free report adding a fiver if I want the score too (generally only do this once a month)

 

Noticed issues time to time so I'm happy to stay with this service

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey so this is propably gonna be the best thing they have ever done,trust me worth reading,well as well same **** i was a member for like 3 months or so i think even more then that and signed 12 month contract which ill never do again in my life,anyway after few months went there cause was leaving the country for some time and i knew that im not gonna use gym anymore,and told em that im leaving and will be gone for a more then a month as was travelling away,first thing she said was that there is no way i can cancel the membership wirght in my face that ill be blackmailed by FF,and they will mark my name in banks,and so on...and i was like WTF,as im foreign i didnt care cause im not gonna stay in UK but she also said that they will follow me whereever im gonna go,just laughed in her face!but cut story short after i came back to UK and started working again,got a call from CARS saying that i got a debt of £480!!!!!!!!and i literally said to this dude what the **** is he talking about?so he said shortly that i owe the money to FF and i signed the conctract and cancelled Direct Debit myself ****ing idiot cause the super fit fitness first wouldnt let me do it so what was the other way of doing it?im not gonna give em money for nothing,anyway CARS were being really serious and actually blackmailing me saying that they are gonna track me down,and even if i leave to another country its all gonna follow me and ill be banned in all the banks around the world literally as i said ill be going to SA,they dont have my current address as i have moved about 5 times,and im really always on the move hah,they dont have an access to my account anymore,they also were treathning me with court and so on...i told them to **** off right on and they not having any money from me,but then when spoke to some people they said that i might really get in trouble for that,so dont really know what to think about that?and where the **** is £480 coming from?and shall i just leave it as im leaving the country in next few months anyway?thanks people!peace

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Hey so this is propably gonna be the best thing they have ever done,trust me worth reading,well as well same **** i was a member for like 3 months or so i think even more then that and signed 12 month contract which ill never do again in my life,anyway after few months went there cause was leaving the country for some time and i knew that im not gonna use gym anymore,and told em that im leaving and will be gone for a more then a month as was travelling away,first thing she said was that there is no way i can cancel the membership wirght in my face that ill be blackmailed by FF,and they will mark my name in banks,and so on...and i was like WTF,as im foreign i didnt care cause im not gonna stay in UK but she also said that they will follow me whereever im gonna go,just laughed in her face!but cut story short after i came back to UK and started working again,got a call from CARS saying that i got a debt of £480!!!!!!!!and i literally said to this dude what the **** is he talking about?so he said shortly that i owe the money to FF and i signed the conctract and cancelled Direct Debit myself ****ing idiot cause the super fit fitness first wouldnt let me do it so what was the other way of doing it?im not gonna give em money for nothing,anyway CARS were being really serious and actually blackmailing me saying that they are gonna track me down,and even if i leave to another country its all gonna follow me and ill be banned in all the banks around the world literally as i said ill be going to SA,they dont have my current address as i have moved about 5 times,and im really always on the move hah,they dont have an access to my account anymore,they also were treathning me with court and so on...i told them to **** off right on and they not having any money from me,but then when spoke to some people they said that i might really get in trouble for that,so dont really know what to think about that?and where the **** is £480 coming from?and shall i just leave it as im leaving the country in next few months anyway?thanks people!peace

 

Please can you start a new thread with your issue - rather than hijacking another thread, and be clearer, separating the sentences and making paragraphs, so that we can follow the matter without requiring a translator. I'm sure then somebody on CAG will try and give some excellent advice.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

:!: All the information I impart is my advice based on my experience. It does not constitute professional advice. If in doubt, always consult with a professional. :!:

 

:-) If you feel my post has been helpful, please click my scales. :-)

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