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  • FIRST POST
    VexedandConfused
    Are we in the wrong?
    • #1
    • 4th Feb 13, 2:26 PM
    Are we in the wrong? 4th Feb 13 at 2:26 PM
    On 6th September 2010, my partner and I took out a joint membership at a locally owned private gym, which I will refer to throughout this thread as 'BADGYM'.


    We arranged to pay by Direct Debit, from a bank account that we only used only as an administrative account, to pay bills etc.

    Once our Membership term was fulfilled, we decided that the membership no longer met our needs and that we should cancel it.

    My partner went into the club and cancelled our membership with a member of staff, in person, on the front reception desk. The club is a local business that is barely more than a stoneís throw from our home and so wasnít worth the cost of a stamp as we could cancel the membership face to face.

    When my partner cancelled the membership, details were taken by the reception worker and then when asked whether we needed to do anything else, he was told by the same worker, ďNo thatís it, weíll sort the restĒ.

    The following month, we joined another gym that better suited our needs.
    (We have copies of membership forms, showing date of joining new gym)

    As far as we were concerned, our membership at BADGYM was terminated and we never attended the club or used the facilities again.

    Some months later, we had cause to review the admin bank account that we had used to pay BADGYM in relation to something else, when we saw that BADGYM were continuing to take payments from us and had been doing for some months, debits totalling £520, despite ending our membership. We had been paying for two different gym memberships simultaneously without knowledge.

    My partner visited BADGYM to inform them of their mistake. The manager checked the system and from their records retrieved details of the date that we had terminated our membership.

    The Manager of BADGYM stated that he would sort out a refund for the money that had been taken in error but that this would not be a fast process or easy process partly due to the fitness industry ďbeing on its a*seĒ.

    The Manager then sent an email, detailing and acknowledging the date that we terminated our membership to a company I will call 'MIDDLEMAN' Ė the direct debit collection company used to collect monies for BADGYM. He copied us in to this email. We have kept a copy.

    He also stated that BADGYM no longer dealt with MIDDLEMAN and had moved their dealings to another direct debit collection company, shortly after we had ended or membership. He told us that all members had been written to in relation to the change of direct debit handing to the other company. We did not receive such a letter. This would have alerted us sooner to the fact that we were still making payments. I would suggest that we did not receive this letter as we were not showing as live members on BADGYM's systems.

    We later received a letter from the Manager stating that the owner of BADGYM was not willing to refund our money, because it was our responsibility to cancel our direct debit with the bank and that we signed a contract to state that any money taken from our account would not be refunded if we did not do this. (We are not in possession, nor have we seen a signed copy of this contract at this point.)

    It was my understanding that a Direct Debit is an agreement set up between the company requiring payment and the customerís bank, that the customer gives permission for and that it is managed by the company requiring payment, not the customer.

    These payments were taken from us even though it has been acknowledged by BADGYM that our membership was cancelled. These amounted to £520. A large amount of money to pay out for receiving no service.

    We made a number of calls in relation to this, calls to MIDDLEMAN who disassociated themselves from the situation, stating that the monies that they had taken from us, had been paid to BADGYM and that our issue was with them. We made calls to our bank and also to Citizenís Advice Bureau. We received advice to use the Direct Debit Indemnity Scheme to get the monies refunded through our bank due to the payments being taken in error.

    The bank refunded our payments in December 2012. Of course the indemnity claim would go from our bank to MIDDLEMAN as they had taken the actual payments from our bank, although they had sent the monies on to BADGYM.

    We did not hear anything until 29th January 2013 when MIDDLEMAN the direct debit company, wrote a letter to us stating that they had received an indemnity claim from our bank. They stated that neither they nor the Manor had received notice to cancel our membership agreement and that we had signed a contract saying that no payments taken were refundable and that therefore we must pay £520 back to MIDDLEMAN or that the debt would be referred to a debt collection agency with an added admin charge of £20.


    This is the situation as it stands. Are we in the wrong? Any advice as to what we should do would be really appreciated as we really do feel like underdogs against these two companies!


    Thank you in advance,
    VexedandConfused
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