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Cancellation of Virgin active gym membership
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# 1
artygirl456
Old 21-11-2007, 9:06 PM
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Question Cancellation of Virgin active gym membership

Hi I dont know if anyone can help me with this but I thought it wouldnt hurt to ask. I am having a problem cancelling my gym subscription to a Virgin Active gym. I joined the gym a while back now and got what i thought was a 12 month contract. I havent used to the gym for around 6 months so i thought i would cancel my gym subscription as i thought it was due to finish anyway. So I phoned the gym and they said it would not be a problem and all I needed to do was come in and sign some paperwork. Fine I thought. So I went in and a very abrupt receptionist told me this was not the case. He said i had a rolling membership so because i hadnt cancelled my subscription before it was due to finish it had automaticly been renewed for another 12 months. I said why hadnt i been informed that my contract was due to be finished and would be renewed by letter or email. They said it was in my terms and conditions when i signed up. I said I had not been made aware of this and could not afford to pay another 12 months gym membership for a gym i didnt use. They said i had to.
So I cancelled my direct debit. I was sent a letter asking me to set up a new direct debit and another one today saying if i did not set up a new direct debit the balence for the rest of the years membership would be sent to a debt collection agency to collect. I tried to call again to sort out this issue by calling the direct dial number on the letter. I went through to the reception that just told me that i had a rolling contract and i had to pay. I was then put through to the membership dept which was just an answering machine so I left a message voicing my concerns. Is there any way I can get out of this rolling 12 month contract Virgin are insisting i have to pay or am i going to have to admit defeat and set up new direct debit details and pay for another 12 months for a gym i dont want t use?!?
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# 2
dmg24
Old 21-11-2007, 9:23 PM
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Do you have your original paperwork?
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# 3
artygirl456
Old 22-11-2007, 3:18 AM
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i have search hi and low for it tonight and can't find it.
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# 4
dmg24
Old 22-11-2007, 10:54 AM
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Ask for a copy.
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# 5
Zazen999
Old 22-11-2007, 10:58 AM
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Hi

I don't think they can automatically renew: otherwise you will be a member for life as they could easily misplace any cancellation documentation. Ask in writing to see a manager and gives some dates/times when you can be there. Ask in the letter to see copies of the correspondence that was sent to you requesting your renewal; and for a copy of your original contract.

Also ask them for a copy of the cancellation procedure for 'rolling contract'.
These companies are unbelieveable, you have paid for your first year in good faith and now they are taking the ****.

As always, be nice, personable, don't get angry; be objective, take the emotion out of the conversation and keep copies of every email/letter you send.
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# 6
skintlass
Old 22-11-2007, 5:25 PM
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Hi,
Are you a diamond member? If so then it is a rolling 12 month contract on the basis that the price will never increase. I know because I got caught out similarly having moved jobs I can no longer go easily (and it needs to be easily) to the gym. I had to wait about 10 months to cancel but I did so and am now on a monthly discounted rate at the smaller city gym which works out ok.
Never let your sucesses go to your head and never let your failures go to your heart.
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# 7
Optimist
Old 22-11-2007, 5:53 PM
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I think you will find that you have signed a contract which says that "unless the member cancels four weeks before expiration of the current membership, giving registered notice terminating the same the member agrees that the membership shall automatically continue for a further year on the same terms save that the payment due shall be the then ruling membership rate" or something very similar.

The unfortunate thing is that this is legal and it is on you to cancel in time.

You can try citizens advice as a first stop if you so wish or possibly more effective try watchdog as bad publicity is anathema to these places
Any advice and opinions I give are personal, and are offered in good faith, without prejudice & without liability. Your decisions and actions are your own, and should you be in any doubt, you are advised to seek the opinion of a qualified professional.
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# 8
Kersh77
Old 11-08-2008, 8:18 PM
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Default Cancellation of Virgin Active Diamond Membership

Hi there,
Sorry for hijacking your post, but I'm new to all this & couldn't figure out how to start my own post / thread or whatever you call it.

I too am in a difficult position with Virgin Active and would really appreciate some advice on how to proceed with it. I have a Diamond Membership & want to cancel it as we have recently moved and I am pregnant which means I can't use most of the facilities. I have been a member since January 2006, and wrote to the club in June 2008 stating that I wished to cancel my membership. I gave over 1 months notice, had no reply from them despite 1 letter & two phonecalls to them, so subsequently cancelled my direct debit assuming there was no problem. I have since received letters asking me to re-instate the direct debit and asking me to call the club as I am contracted to pay a further 5 months membership. I have tried calling, but just keep being told someone will call me back, & guess what.. they haven't.

The terms of my contract are as follows:
1. "Membership commitment to your Virgin Active club is for all membership categories the commitment period is one calendar month. Except for Diamond Membership where the minimum term is for 12 full months.. this is the contractual "commitment period" that binds any member and Virgin Active."

To my reading I have fulfilled this minimum commitment period as I have been a member for over 2 years.

2. Notice must be given on termination of membership in writing from you ...no later than the 17th day of the month before the month of cancellation to be effective on the last day of the month... Except for Diamond Membership where written notice must be given by the seventeenth day of the 12th full month (last month of commitment period). If notice of termination is not received by this time the membership with automatically renew for a further 12 months".

This is where the contention comes in. Given that the minimum commitment period was 12 months, it makes sense that you would then only be able to give notice to cancel on the 17th day of the 12th full month (January 2007 in my case).

However my problem/query relates to the wording of the next part, and this is where I feel I have been mis-sold, or at least not explicitly been informed of the implications of this section. The next sentence states that if notice of termination is not received by this time the membership will automatically renew for a further 12 months. However, it doesn't explicitly state anywhere in the contract that you are subsequently tied into a further minimum 12month "commitment period", with no option of cancelling until the subsequent 12th month.

In most circumstances, you would expect a membership to keep rolling unless you cancelled it, and I have no problem with the fact my membership automatically rolled on through 2007 & 2008, other than that, in this instance, I feel the implications of renewing the contract after the first minimum period of 12months (Jan 06-Jan 07) was not made explicit at the time of signing the contract. This is my bone of contention.

Clearly if this had been made explicit I would never have signed up to it, as in effect it means you only ever have 1month a year in which to cancel your membership, and clearly this is bonkers!

My query therefore is the legality of this contract. The people at Virgin Active keep telling me that as it states in point 2 (above) that the membership will be renewed for a further 12months, it is inherent that this will be on the same terms and conditions as the initial 12months. I am certainly no lawyer, but I'm pretty sure that nothing can be implied in a contract, and that unless something is explicitly stated it cannot be enforced as part of the contract?

I've never been in debt to anyone, and I don't want to start now. Neither am I trying to duck out of a contract. I did read the small print, but don't seem to be reading/understanding it in the way Virgin Active are trying to enforce. I genuinely feel that Virgin Active are trying to enforce an 'inherent' term that I was not made 'explicitly aware of' and therefore could not have given informed consent or agreement to at the time of signing the contract.

Any help or advice anyone could give as to how legally binding this contract is, or what my next steps should be, would be very grateful. I would also be particularly interested to hear from anyone who has successfully challenged this point with Virgin Active.
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# 9
veyrongirl
Old 12-08-2008, 1:05 AM
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Not absolutley sure here, but, what I understand is your contract renews in January so your notice (28days/30days/one month etc) is due in December ie the 12th month of your membership . If you do not give notice your contract will automatically renew for 12 months.

Now, in June, you have decided that you do not want to continue with the membership.

It would seem to me that Virgin are within their rights to ask you to pay for the rest of the contract
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# 10
Walshyboy84
Old 14-08-2008, 9:35 AM
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You're more than within your rights to cancel.

The manager of the Virgin Gym I went to (Tower Hill) faked my signature as I changed from Barbican to get me a year's membership. I was told that you signed up for a year's contract and that after 12 months, it becomes a rolling contract where you can give a month's notice and that's fine.

What you will have found is that one of the membership team might have been a bit underhand and has changed that for a year's contract.

Ignore the receptionist and go straight for one of the membership team and explain what's happened. They're getting such bad press for this recently that they like to blow this under the carpet, but be prepared with a letter signalling your intention to leave as well! The membership team are based in the gym itself so do not leave until you get one in person.

If it doesn't work out, ask to see a manager.

As long as you have completed the original 12 month contract then you can get out of it!
Debt Free since July 2011 and it feels good!

Now it's all about finding a deposit for a house!

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# 11
gibby
Old 24-08-2008, 9:23 PM
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these rolling contracts are legal but totally unethical

I worked for a firm years ago and they didnt even tell us reps that if customers didnt cancel at a certain point they were stuck for another 18 months.

These are still in use & carphone wharehouse have started suing these about a year ago and customers are really getting ripped off.

The best way around ti is
1 contact consumer direct and put in a complaint. Urge others to do the same to get the law changed.
2 cancel your DD and claim poverty. They will pass it onto their own debt recover team.
3 Only communicate in writing & inform them of this for "legal reasons".
Refuse to discuss the matter on the phone & only deal with the gym not the debt collectors. YOU HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO DO THIS!!
4 write to Richard Branson stating that you only joined his gym as you thought they were an ethical firm and state how disgusted you are & will never buy virgin service again Promise to tell the world about this

They will send nasty letters but if you claim you are skint, credit crunch etc they will give up & wont follow through with the court action as it will cost them money to do so with no promise of any returns

Never join a gym with a contract or credit agreement as if they go bust you still have to pay the finance company

G
never take advice from broke or unsuccessful people

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# 12
Hannah17
Old 23-10-2008, 5:14 PM
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Hi,

Looks like everone has a BIG issue with VA, I tried to cancel 4 weeks too late and now have been told I have to pay for yet another year.

Has ANYONE actually resolved this as all I can find is everyone's complaint and nobody has posted a solution.
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# 13
petrafyde
Old 23-10-2008, 11:22 PM
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Hm, now I don't know if this applies or not - but there are templates (excluding bank overdrafts and mobile phone contracts as far as I'm aware) which allow you to request the original CCA which is the credit agreement you signed.

My train of thought, is that if they cannot prove you agreed a contract with them in the first place, they cannot enforce a further 12 months from you.

I suggest you go and post on the DFW (debt free wannabe) forum (just copy and paste this one with a sub-text about the CCA agreement thing I've just mentioned. I say DFW because the most knowledgable people that I've seen so far frequent that forum and should at least be able to point you in the right direction. Good luck
No chocolate, cosmetics or clothes to be bought before xmas day 14! ~ NPower eBay target 541.67
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# 14
sophiel
Old 27-02-2009, 11:01 AM
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Default Virgin Active - Folding Contract and Cancellation

I work in a senior management position in the industry and was shocked at the seemingly witless back end administration/financial processes to what is effectively a good quality front end product. Am quite fuming.

*I've just been trying to cancel our Virgin Active memberships, having been members for 20 months
*We were advised at Point of Sale that we were committed to 12 months, and then a rolling contract
*We're moving out of the area and were advised that if you're moving more than a 15 minute drivetime from a club, then memberships can be cancelled
*We have since been informed that we are being privileged with the 'buy out' option whereby you can pay 50% of your remaining dues, and the membership is cancelled
*You cannot however continue to train at any club during the 50% of your remaining membership that you have effectively paid for - that is somewhat jokeworthy. If I pay for a service, I'll make sure I use it...even if it means driving for half an hour to get there!

What I find most surprising for a big brand (I understand the VA subbrand is small, but even so) there is apparently NO member communication journey following acquisition of a new member. Best practise involves a welcome letter, a renewal letter, offer emails at the very least. We received not
one member communication in all of our time as members. Not even when we reached our 12 month renewal/cancellation window. If not a breach of contract, this is desperately poor member service.

If customers experience a poor exit from your service, they are guaranteed never to return. A lesson VA could do with learning.
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# 15
clairew17
Old 19-03-2009, 9:39 PM
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Default virgin active locked me in for ADDITIONAL 12 months without my permission

same problem. called to cancel my contract. ive been with the gym for 15 months and want to leave now. they said oh you cant you have another 9 months to go yet. i said no i dont feeling quite annoyed the man could be so dumb i said ive done way over a year. only then did i hear this garbage that I am in a rolling contract. i was ever informed of this or asked if this was ok. 12 months was yes, but not another 12 without checking with me to which i would have said no. can anyone help me get out of this onerous contract. i dont want to be a member there anymore. i am truly disguted they think it is ok to rip people off without them even knowing. I am MBA educated not stupid person but I had no clue about thsi. It is the Preston branch. Any tips to get out? Thank you.
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# 16
amelia1
Old 20-03-2009, 9:55 AM
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Angry Virgin Active - unfair contract

Hi - I just called my VA gym yesterday to cancel and have experienced the same problem. I've been a member for 15 months and have now moved out of the area. Like everyone else here I wasn't told I was being tied into a rolling contract which I could only cancel 6 days once every 12 months. What a truly appalling policy. If anyone has any advice on how to manage this I'd be really keen to hear.

I'm going to follow this up myself and will be writing to the Office of Fair Trading to see if there's anything that can be done. It's certainly put me off the whole of the Virgin brand. Totally outrageous customer management. I don't know how long they'll be able to get away with this policy, particularly with the current economic climate.
Thanks.

Last edited by amelia1; 20-03-2009 at 9:58 AM. Reason: spelling
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# 17
runon
Old 06-04-2009, 2:02 PM
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Same happening to me with this terrible Virgin Active 'rolling' 12 month contract.

I have emailed them with my intention to stop payments today (I have paid 12 months).

I have informed them that I consider this matter to be a "contractual dispute" and not a failure to pay on my part.

I have informed them that as the matter is now in dispute it shold not be passed to a debt collection agency and it should not be passed to credit reference agencies until the matter has been resolved by a court and a judgement made as to the legality of their contract and whether I do indeed owe them any more money.

I have quoted the Office of Fair Trading (unfair contract terms)
specifically, the follwing:

Group 8: Excessive notice periods for consumer cancellation

paragraph 1(h) of Schedule 2

"Schedule 2, paragraph 1, states that terms may be unfair if
they have the object or effect of:
(h) automatically extending a contract of fixed duration where
the consumer does not indicate otherwise, when the deadline
fixed for the consumer to express his desire not to extend the

contract is unreasonably early."

and..


8.1 A clause which states how long a contract has to run is likely to be among its most important 'core' terms
24 If a lesser term in small print can be used, relying on customer inertia, to extend the contract period beyond what the consumer would normally expect, it is not a core term, and is liable to be considered unfair.

8.2 Particular suspicion attaches to a term in a contract for a fixed period which, if early notice to cancel is not given, automatically commits the consumer to a renewed fixed term.

8.3 The OFT considers that an over-long cancellation notice term may also be unfair in a contract which continues indefinitely rather than for a fixed term. Consumers entering such contracts normally expect to be able to end it a reasonable time after they decide they no longer want or can no longer afford what is provided under it. If they are required to make a cancellation decision too far ahead of time, they are liable either to forget to do so when they need to, or wrongly to anticipate their future needs. In either case, the effect of the term is the same as that of an 'automatic renewal' clause they experience an unintended extension of their payment obligations.

I want to know the following -

1. Why was the 'rolling nature' of the contract not clearly explained to me at the time its was signed. I signed a "12 month contract" I have completed those 12 months.

2. As they hold my telephone number and home address why was no effort made to contact me to see if I wished to be locked into another 12 month contract?

3. I tried to bring the contract to an end several times but I was told it was "too early" then told it was "too late" - the window to cancel is unfair.

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# 18
max2009
Old 06-04-2009, 2:09 PM
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It is in black and white in the contract the procedure.Ignorance is no excuse.
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# 19
runon
Old 06-04-2009, 2:18 PM
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They could put in their contract that they would punch me in the face if I stopped paying.

Because it is "in the contract" does not mean it is fair or that it can be enforced.

The OFT tends to agree.
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# 20
runon
Old 06-04-2009, 3:36 PM
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After speaking with Consumer Direct 0845 040506

Seems I need to be quoting The Supply of Goods Act as well.

Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982. Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994. The Sale and Supply of Goods to Consumers Regulations 2002, Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 and Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999.

VA failed in their duty to keep me informed (the 17 day window to cancel).

It is reasonable to assume that VA had that information on their computer system. As a member of the general public, it cannot be assumed that I would have had that informaton to hand. As VA is acting as business, it is their responsibility to keep me informed.

Been advised to keep making the monthly payments but state these will be claimed back.

Got a reference from Consumer Direct and they are very interested on the developments (or lack of them) on this issue.
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