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    • Kola1989
    • By Kola1989 17th Jun 16, 1:30 PM
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    Kola1989
    Ashbourne Management Gym Membership Help!
    • #1
    • 17th Jun 16, 1:30 PM
    Ashbourne Management Gym Membership Help! 17th Jun 16 at 1:30 PM
    Hi all,

    I was wondering if anyone would be able to give me some advice regarding my situation.

    I signed up to a local gym in January this year, on the induction we were asked to fill in a new members form from Ashbourne Management. There was 2 lines on the contract that said "Min No. of monthly payments ___" and below that "You must pay the monthly membership subscription for the next ____ months"
    And no point of signing up did the gym manager bring up the subject of contract lengths. In mind it was an open contract where you weren't tied down to anything so assumed that the gaps would stay blank. So off the form went and I didn't hear anything from Ashbourne, not even a copy of my contract.
    I've since started a new job and haven't been to this gym for the last 3 months. I was continuing to pay the membership fee on the off chance that I might go as it was a good gym. Last month however I had a few costly misfortunes which left me rather strap for cash. As my gym membership was a decent amount a month I decided to cancel the DD to a) save me some money and b) to avoid going into my unarranged overdraft if the money had come out. I e-mailed Ashbourne to notify them off this and had no reply.

    A few days later I received a letter from Ashbourne to say that my account was in arrears and that I needed to make the payment urgently before they took action. I e-mailed them to explain my situation and apologised for not giving them a months’ notice (as is the case with most memberships) and asked if they had received my previous e-mail, I also said that I would like to cancel my membership and I understand that I may have not given enough notice so would be happy to pay a further £40 to clear my account. I received a very quick reply from them saying:

    "
    unfortunately we are unable to cancel due to financial difficulties. However we can freeze for 2 months at a time if you are claiming Job seekers allowance."

    I replied to ask how was I able to cancel my membership then as I could not find any information on their website. To which they replied:

    "Whilst it would not be possible to cancel your contract, you do have the right to transfer these memberships."

    So basically avoiding my question!

    By this point I had received another letter from them to say that (even though I had cancelled the DD) they would attempt retake the monthly fee on a later date by DD.



    As this point I thought something might be up so I asked if they could send me a copy of my contract as I had previously not received one. Again they were very quick to reply. Now the copy of my contract was very interesting. Where the gaps were when I signed for the "monthly payments" and the "must pay" period the number 12 had appeared in both... To say I was angry was an understatement.
    I replied immediately to say that I had never agreed to this and that the numbers had been entered post signing (you can tell the writing is very different to mine) and surely this must be fraudulent... Where they were quick to reply before I didn't receive an answer and today they have taken the membership fee by direct debit from there account.
    I sent them this morning another e-mail stating how deeply angered (!) I am by the situation and thought that given the severity of the situation they would have replied.

    And that is as far as I've got!

    Do I have any grounds here? As I didn't received a copy of my contract when I signed it’s hard to prove that the contracted months were added in after I signed. And before anyone asks they definitely weren't otherwise I wouldn't have signed! Are they also allowed to take by DD the amount again even though I cancelled it?

    Thanks for your time.
Page 1
    • unholyangel
    • By unholyangel 17th Jun 16, 2:06 PM
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    unholyangel
    • #2
    • 17th Jun 16, 2:06 PM
    • #2
    • 17th Jun 16, 2:06 PM
    Is the contract lengthy or complex? If so I would perhaps remind them that:

    1) That is not the T&Cs you signed up to, and that they cannot unilaterally alter a contract without your agreement
    2) A consumer cannot be bound by terms which they had no chance to become acquainted with before being bound by them. Only if the contract is lengthy or complex though - or if theres a credit agreement. If its just a one sided sheet of A4 with say a dozen terms (unlikely from ashbournes previous contracts tbh) then they could argue you had opportunity.
    3) perhaps remind them what the judge said in the ashbourne management v OFT judgement when there was a similar case - a woman who was told she could cancel any time. The judge in response to that point specifically said they had engaged in unfair commercial practices.

    Also find out if it is credit agreement backed. If so, use this to strengthen your case as they should have made this explicitly clear when taking out the contract and they also should have provided you with a copy of the agreement by law.


    And lastly, the reason you're short on money....has something happened? The reason I ask is you'll be in a much stronger position if something outwith your control has happened - ie reduction in hours at work, redundancy, relocation, illness etc.
    Money doesn't solve poverty.....it creates it.
    • unholyangel
    • By unholyangel 17th Jun 16, 2:09 PM
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    unholyangel
    • #3
    • 17th Jun 16, 2:09 PM
    • #3
    • 17th Jun 16, 2:09 PM
    Oh and providing theres no credit agreement, you can safely cancel the direct debit and get the payment they took without your permission refunded. Just tell your bank you cancelled the DD and that the company set it back up without your permission.

    If there is a credit agreement, you might want to be wary though as doing the above probably will result in it being recorded on your credit record so approaching it in a different manner may be necessary.
    Money doesn't solve poverty.....it creates it.
    • Kola1989
    • By Kola1989 17th Jun 16, 3:03 PM
    • 4 Posts
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    Kola1989
    • #4
    • 17th Jun 16, 3:03 PM
    • #4
    • 17th Jun 16, 3:03 PM
    Thank you very much for your quick response. It's greatly appreciated!
    Once I signed the original contract I didn't receive anything further from Ashbourne not even T&Cs!

    Do you know if there is a way to attach pictures to forums, I'd like to show you my "contract" (with personal information removed) to get your opinion.
    It is just one side of A4 with "Members Details" "Length of Minimum Membership Period" and a direct debit mandate.

    This was all I was given at sign up so I'm presuming I'm safe to assume that there is no credit agreement?

    Thank you again for all your pointers, I'm going to draft a formal e-mail to them so will use these points.
    • unholyangel
    • By unholyangel 17th Jun 16, 3:50 PM
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    unholyangel
    • #5
    • 17th Jun 16, 3:50 PM
    • #5
    • 17th Jun 16, 3:50 PM
    Thank you very much for your quick response. It's greatly appreciated!
    Once I signed the original contract I didn't receive anything further from Ashbourne not even T&Cs!

    Do you know if there is a way to attach pictures to forums, I'd like to show you my "contract" (with personal information removed) to get your opinion.
    It is just one side of A4 with "Members Details" "Length of Minimum Membership Period" and a direct debit mandate.

    This was all I was given at sign up so I'm presuming I'm safe to assume that there is no credit agreement?

    Thank you again for all your pointers, I'm going to draft a formal e-mail to them so will use these points.
    Originally posted by Kola1989
    Upload it to an image hosting site and then use the IMG button thats available when writing a post.

    I'm not quite sure I'd say safe, but yes there won't be an enforceable credit agreement unless they gave you certain information & a copy of the credit agreement (such as total amount of credit provided, total interest, total repayable etc).
    Money doesn't solve poverty.....it creates it.
    • NeilCr
    • By NeilCr 17th Jun 16, 4:14 PM
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    NeilCr
    • #6
    • 17th Jun 16, 4:14 PM
    • #6
    • 17th Jun 16, 4:14 PM
    Some general advice on cancelling a gym membership

    https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/changed-your-mind/cancelling-a-gym-membership/
    • Kola1989
    • By Kola1989 21st Jun 16, 1:03 PM
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    Kola1989
    • #7
    • 21st Jun 16, 1:03 PM
    • #7
    • 21st Jun 16, 1:03 PM
    Just an update on what’s been happening!
    I tried to upload the picture of the contract but it won't allow me to as I am a newbie

    Ashbourne Management are turning out to be the most frustrating people to deal with. I'm very tempted to call them but I know it's best to keep it all in writing.

    I sent them a pretty lengthy e-mail on Friday with pointers from your advice above and bits I'd been able to find online for them to just keep replying over and over with:
    "it states you can cancel a membership with 30 days’ notice once the minimum term has been made"
    and
    "
    In response as previously stated, we are unable to cancel your membership until the end of your contract. The membership contract which you agreed to and signed is for 12 months at £40.00 per month."

    I tried to get an answer from them with regards to not receiving or being shown T&Cs at the time of signing or a credit agreement they completely ignored it and replied with one of the above lines.
    They also said that they would be contacting the gym manager last week so I asked if they had heard back from him but again they failed to reply to that.


    In my latest e-mail to them today (the first since Friday as they had not replied to my previous one) I asked whether (although I have no proof) they would be taking the matter or the gym manager filling in my minimum contract period prior to me signing. Although I have no proof surely an accusation should be taken seriously? From asking around I also know of 3 other people who are in the same position as me with the same gym and they all agree with me that a minimum contract period was not discussed but then it magically appeared on their contracts. I included this in the e-mail to them this morning. I have since recalled the direct debit that they took from me again on the 17th as they obviously cannot show that I have if they keep failing to reply to me on that subject...

    This is the reply I had:

    "In response as previously stated, we are unable to cancel your membership until the end of your contract. The membership contract which you agreed to and signed is for 12 months at £40.00 per month.

    Far from being one of life’s little luxuries which it may be tempting to try to cut out, we believe that gym membership provides significant health and lifestyle benefits. However, in your current position you might prefer to find someone else who would be happy to take over the remaining months of your membership. If you do find someone else, you will need to arrange to go to the gym to complete the relevant transfer documents."

    Again avoiding the question and rather condescending don’t you think?!
    I also found a line on the bottom of the contract under the direct debit mandate that states
    You can cancel your Direct Debit at any time by simply contacting your bank or building society. Written confirmation may be required. Please also notify Ashbourne Management Services Limited”
    Which they haven’t commented on, is this something that I could use against them?

    I don't really know what to do now to be honest. As I don't have any proof that my form was altered post signing I feel like I don't really have a leg to stand on... They are obviously refusing to do anything about it so I don't really know what to do because it feels like this could just forever go around in circles!

    Any advice on what I should do next or should I just through in the towel and cancel when they say I can?






    • unholyangel
    • By unholyangel 22nd Jun 16, 12:07 AM
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    unholyangel
    • #8
    • 22nd Jun 16, 12:07 AM
    • #8
    • 22nd Jun 16, 12:07 AM
    Have you tried speaking to your local trading standards to see if they can offer any assistance?

    Tbh I need to read through the judgement of ashbourne v OFT again as I believe there might be something of relevance in there and I'd prefer to give you a concrete answer. Its a lengthy judgement but I'll try make some time tomorrow.

    At the very least you should be able to challenge it as a financial penalty and it will definitely help if there are other members you have no other affiliation with are saying the exact same as you
    Money doesn't solve poverty.....it creates it.
    • NeilCr
    • By NeilCr 22nd Jun 16, 6:51 AM
    • 949 Posts
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    NeilCr
    • #9
    • 22nd Jun 16, 6:51 AM
    • #9
    • 22nd Jun 16, 6:51 AM
    How to contact Trading Standards

    https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/get-more-help/report-to-trading-standards/

    Think I'd give the Citizens Advice consumer line a go
    • Kola1989
    • By Kola1989 23rd Jun 16, 11:54 AM
    • 4 Posts
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    Kola1989
    Thanks guys for the responces. Citizens Advice was going to be my next stop so will definitely get on to them. Thank you for the link.

    Unholyangel you have been such a massive help already I wouldn't want to you to have to do anything more than you already have!

    Thanks again.
    • missserenarec
    • By missserenarec 9th Jul 17, 8:17 AM
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    missserenarec
    Hi, I know it's a year on but what was the outcome? I'm in exactly the same position now. Can I ask where the gym was that it happened in, I'm in Bristol.
    Just wondered if it was the same gym or this type of thing happens at different gyms associated with Ashbourne management.
    Thanks.
    • hollydays
    • By hollydays 9th Jul 17, 3:14 PM
    • 15,291 Posts
    • 11,106 Thanks
    hollydays
    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/gym-users-to-get-better-deal-in-2017
    • unholyangel
    • By unholyangel 9th Jul 17, 4:10 PM
    • 11,279 Posts
    • 8,496 Thanks
    unholyangel
    Hi, I know it's a year on but what was the outcome? I'm in exactly the same position now. Can I ask where the gym was that it happened in, I'm in Bristol.
    Just wondered if it was the same gym or this type of thing happens at different gyms associated with Ashbourne management.
    Thanks.
    Originally posted by missserenarec
    Ashbourne management were taken to the high court by OFT I believe a few years back which involved contracts at multiple gyms (I believe they had about a dozen different type of contracts that were found to contain unfair terms).

    If you're having an issue, why not start a thread providing the necessary details and see what responses you get.
    Money doesn't solve poverty.....it creates it.
    • missserenarec
    • By missserenarec 9th Jul 17, 5:11 PM
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    missserenarec
    Thank you. I'm more in dispute with the gym itself at the moment but Ashbourne are not listening to us and still sending us letters. They don't even care that someone forged my boyfriends signature. He has sent them a copy of the signature from his passport to prove it isn't his. Basically the gym filled in the rest of his form to join him up and used my bank details to pay for it. He had only ever supplied his contact details and then never went back to the gym as decided not to join. I did join but specified I wanted a rolling contract and when I first saw a copy of the contract weeks later the 12 months section had been filled in and sent off without my approval. Also I never received any t's and c's or any communication from Ashbourne until i contacted them to find out what was going on with my bank account. We are wasting hours of our life on this situation whilst the culprit couldnt care less and has made no effort to sort this out at all. Grrr.
    • unholyangel
    • By unholyangel 9th Jul 17, 7:13 PM
    • 11,279 Posts
    • 8,496 Thanks
    unholyangel
    Thank you. I'm more in dispute with the gym itself at the moment but Ashbourne are not listening to us and still sending us letters. They don't even care that someone forged my boyfriends signature. He has sent them a copy of the signature from his passport to prove it isn't his. Basically the gym filled in the rest of his form to join him up and used my bank details to pay for it. He had only ever supplied his contact details and then never went back to the gym as decided not to join. I did join but specified I wanted a rolling contract and when I first saw a copy of the contract weeks later the 12 months section had been filled in and sent off without my approval. Also I never received any t's and c's or any communication from Ashbourne until i contacted them to find out what was going on with my bank account. We are wasting hours of our life on this situation whilst the culprit couldnt care less and has made no effort to sort this out at all. Grrr.
    Originally posted by missserenarec
    Was any credit involved at all? Its typical of these types of contract that you actually enter into a credit agreement - technically "borrowing" the yearly amount and repaying it over 12 months.

    If that is the case, I'd definitely be reporting it to the police as fraud.
    Money doesn't solve poverty.....it creates it.
    • missserenarec
    • By missserenarec 9th Jul 17, 7:56 PM
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    missserenarec
    I have no idea as never received any paperwork from them which I'm hoping will release me from the contract on my part. We have reported the situation to a fraud agency and my bank so far.
    • missserenarec
    • By missserenarec 9th Jul 17, 8:01 PM
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    missserenarec
    I have no idea as never received any paperwork from them which I'm hoping will release me from the contract on my part. We have reported the situation to a fraud agency and my bank so far.
    • unholyangel
    • By unholyangel 9th Jul 17, 10:01 PM
    • 11,279 Posts
    • 8,496 Thanks
    unholyangel
    Have you checked your credit record? Does it show on there?

    If there is a credit agreement, its a bit trickier as stopping payments will enable them to put a default on your credit history (being a fraudulent credit agreement unfortunately won't stop them actually doing it - just give you recourse to get it removed). If there is no credit agreement, their only recourse is to take you to court.
    Money doesn't solve poverty.....it creates it.
    • Noobii
    • By Noobii 14th Aug 17, 3:51 PM
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    Noobii
    Hello - sorry to jump on this thread, but me and atleast 5 other people are having problems with Ashbourne and cancelling our memberships with a gym. We had a membership but the owner basically promised us the world and delivered sod all, he has also been verbally abusive to 2 women and threatened them both, he has somebody teaching exercise classes who isnt trained and he also touched a 15yo girl inapproriatly and the gym and took a photo of another woman without her consent, put it on facebook and it is not an approriate angle. We just wanna get rid of it and forget we ever bothered, it seems the more research I do the more I find that ashbourne are ridiculous. Thanks
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