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  • FIRST POST
    lolabella
    Advice - LA Fitness cancellation charge
    • #1
    • 19th Jan 08, 11:50 AM
    Advice - LA Fitness cancellation charge 19th Jan 08 at 11:50 AM
    Hi,

    I joined an LA Fitness gym in Purley four months ago, and at the time of joining, the manager said that if you moved to somewher more than 40 miles from an LA Fitness gym, then you could cancel.

    I recently moved to somewhere where there was no LA Fitness gym, and so called up Head Office to cancel, and they checked my address and said that was fine and I just had to send in confirmation, which I did. However, a week later, I received a letter stating I owed a £145 cancellation fee.

    I called to complain, and told them that I had not been told of any cancellation fee when I joined or cancelled, and it got escalated to the manager (although I had to call them back as they did not call me as they had said they would) and he said "Rachel is one our most senior customer service assistants, I find it unlikely that she would not have mentioned this" - I argued the point, but they refused to budge, and he was increasingly rude and aggressive saying I had to pay it.

    They are now charging me a late payment fee of £40 in addition, but I wanted to see if anyone knew whether any of these charges were legitimate, or if I should continue to argue the point - it seems a ridiculous charge, especially considering I was mislead? Also, if I refused to pay it (I cancelled my direct debit at the time of cancelling) what would they be able to do?

    Hope someone can help!
Page 1
  • snowkaz
    • #2
    • 30th Jan 08, 10:49 AM
    • #2
    • 30th Jan 08, 10:49 AM
    but i joined LA Fitness in Purley too (formerly Dragons), and when I tried to cancel because was movign to France last June, they tried to charge £145 aswell.... so the guy said it was cheaper to see out the last 3 months of my contract... I asked if it would stop automatically in September because I wasn't in the country to be able to do anything and didn't want any problems... he said "yes as long as you don't renew it, it will stop in september" - low and behold, it didn't, and ARC have charged me £76 including 'late payment' fees because they had "no recollection" of my phonecall.

    I need a contact email address for head office to complain but online there seems to be hundreds of similar complaints, and there seems to be nothing we can do about it. Sorry it's no help.
  • helios
    • #3
    • 10th May 08, 1:56 PM
    • #3
    • 10th May 08, 1:56 PM
    Here is my situation:

    I've been a member of West India Quay - London LA Fitness Club from April last year. For the first few months I've been really enjoying the club. Some time before Christmas it became a bit overcrowded I stopped visiting it but continued paying my membership for the rest of the time of my contract. At the beginning of March this year I sent a cancellation letter to LA Fitness HQ. I tried to cancel by phone as well but while waiting in the callers queue I was going up the queue instead of going down. Initially I was fourth and after 10 minutes of waiting I was sixth. Ridiculous. Anyway I thought the letter should be enough. What happened in mid April is I received a letter from LA fitness demanding my membership fee for month 13. Received a phone call from the HQ and they told me they haven't received the letter. Today I received a letter from a debt collecting company demanding the fee + another penalty fee. I think I'll need a consumer rights organisation.
    Can you advise me of a good one?

    Thank you,
    Nick
  • Savvy_Sue
    • #4
    • 12th May 08, 12:42 AM
    • #4
    • 12th May 08, 12:42 AM
    MOVING THREADS FOR BETTER RESPONSES

    Hi, Martin’s asked me to post this in these circumstances: I’ve asked Board Guides to move threads if they’ll receive a better response elsewhere (please see this rule) so this post/thread has been moved to The Vent board, where it should get more replies. If you have any questions about this policy please email abuse@moneysavingexpert.com.
    I'm a Board Guide on the Cutting Tax; Charities; Small Biz & Charity Organisers; and Silver Savers boards, which means I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly, and I can move and merge threads there. However, do remember, Board Guides don't read every post. If you spot an inappropriate or illegal post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com. It is not part of my role to deal with reportable posts.

    Any views are mine and are not the official line of moneysavingexpert.com

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    Back from holiday but away a lot
  • KILL BILL
    • #5
    • 12th May 08, 12:54 PM
    • #5
    • 12th May 08, 12:54 PM
    la fitness are dreadfull in respect of fitness/gyms imo

    you pay an extorinate rate for very limited facilities and they are not the most cleaniest of gym- used towles left on the changing room floor for hours, flooded showeres etc etc etc

    i would never pay to go there even if someone offered to pay for it
  • pinkshoes
    • #6
    • 12th May 08, 1:29 PM
    • #6
    • 12th May 08, 1:29 PM
    ALWAYS send gym cancellation letters by recorded delivery, as gyms (particularly LA Fitness) have an amazing ability of not receiving them! It's almost like they DO receive them, and because they're not recorded delivery, they perhaps bin them...

    I think £145 cancellation fee if you move out the area is disgusting! And so is expecting people to travel 40 miles to use the gym! And £50 to transfer it onto a friend or family member? In what way does it cost £50 to print a membership card and send a piece of paper in the post???
  • squizz
    • #7
    • 12th May 08, 2:03 PM
    • #7
    • 12th May 08, 2:03 PM
    I cancelled my LA Fitness membership after being a member for 14 months, about 2 months later I got a letter from a debt collection agency saying I owed £83 which is just what I need when I am trying to rebuild my credit score... they could have contacted me to ask for the money (they had my correct address and phone number) but never did, which I think is really unfair.
  • Iamthesmartestmanalive
    • #8
    • 13th May 08, 6:21 PM
    • #8
    • 13th May 08, 6:21 PM
    The Level of illiteracy in this country is what annoys me

    You get given a contract, read it

    Dont ignore it then cry when the terms dont suit you

    Its funny how people tend to know their gets outs, but not the related fees

    You owe this money under a legally binding contract, pay up
  • mute_posting
    • #9
    • 13th May 08, 7:53 PM
    • #9
    • 13th May 08, 7:53 PM
    For instance, did you know you can transfer your membership to a friend or family membr (or even advertise it) for £50.00?

    We allow these options as a good will gesture, and we have the right to withdraw them at any point as they are not stated in your contract.
    Originally posted by LAFitnessCSA
    If they are not stated in the contract, how would people know about them :confused: ?

    It seems some of your people aren't 100% up-front when explaining things that are in the contract (or even it may seem, contradicting the contract) so what hope is there of them explaining these "good will gestures"?

    MP
    :confused: I have a poll / discussion on Economy 7 / 10 off-peak usage (as a % or total) and ways to improve it but I'm not allowed to link to it so have a look on the gas/elec forum if you would like to vote or discuss.
  • kwanza
    My recent problem:

    Prior to signing up for a 12-month membership, I asked the sales advisor if the gym had access to Sky Sports and Setanta Sports (as my sole reason for joining was so that I could use cardio machines whilst watching football). He assured me that it did, so I signed up. I made it clear to him that the only reason that I was signing up is that he had confirmed that my required facilities would be available.

    A month later, I learned that the advisor had been mistaken and that the gym did not have the facilities that he had promised. I have been unable to cancel my membership (members services took over a month to respond and then just refused to help me).
  • scam
    I joined LA fitness Holborn, London last year (2007sept) for a minimum 3 month contract. Was all pretty good till sometimes they didn't have towels or hot water!
    now end of July 2008 needed to cancel my membership because of my back problem. reception gave me a business card where to call for cancellation. I called and a female there confirmed its cancelled but also said something about someone to give me a call back for some reason ( didn't think it was important really) and no one called me back either! 2 months later I get a letter that I have outstanding payment of £50 (was my monthly fee) and will ave penalty charge if I dont pay now. I was amazed!! how careless and rubbish is their service.

    what happened next is unbelievable... see my letter below. And to say their customer care email is not even working and bounces back!

    and they tagline says WE'RE ON YOUR SIDE - hilarious!

    I received 2 copies of same letter on a same day from you on 25th september 2008 (please note: date on the letter 18th september 2008) starting:

    "We wrote to you recently asking you to contact us to discuss settlement of the £50.00 outstanding on your account".... And saying we have to cancel your membership...

    my notes:
    1. I have cancelled my membership end of July 2008 by calling to your cancellation department (spoke to a women, who's name I unfortunately did not ask) but she assured my cancellation is confirmed.
    2. I have never received any letter before this letter..
    3.when called your member services advisor today I was told that there is no record of my cancellation and I should of had a ref no for my cancellation, which the women who cancelled it did not give me and I had no idea I would need that.
    4. I have not used the gym about 2 months since I cancelled it (end of Juy) and it would be very rude to charge me for that. As far as I'm concerned I have cancelled my membership and this shouldnt be my problem.

    I sent 2 emails which were not replied not to mention calling you member services on 0844 770 7700 twice a today (26th of September 2008)

    First call I made in the morning I was told that there is no notes about my canceling the membership which I knew I had done at the end of July 2008. The guy I spoke to said he will make notes now and gave me the email member.relations@lafitness.co.uk to write a complaint. As this email bounced back saying it has technical problems (???) I needed to get in touch again and called your member services again. And again the person at your end says thereís no notes regarding a complaint of cancellation. Nice surprise again, could not believe it! This has been very time taking and annoying for me and unbelievable how things are ignored by your customer service staff. Or is this done on purpose in intentions to get more money out of your members. Itís sad.
    However the last person I spoke to was trying to help me out and told me I had to pay up the outstanding amount to cancel my membership (again). So I paid for nothing to cancel my membership...again.

    Regarding to all of this hassle I believe Iím entitled to at least refund of £50 I paid as this fault has come from your (LA fitness) end and is nothing to do me not paying on purpose.

    STILL WAITING FOR A REPLY from LA fitness... even the local manager if LA holborn has not been in touch as went to complain there after no reply for my email... its very sad company i would say.

    Any one else with similar experience? lets make an official complain as this has really disturbed my everyday life...
  • tashhess
    I have been a peak member at LA fitness for about four years and have recently cancelled my membership due to the unfair booking system for classes, overcrowding and unhelpful staff.

    I wrote to head office a few months ago with my concerns about the booking system. (having to be at the club 15 minutes before the class starts to get on the list)
    I felt that the system was unfair because people, such as myself, who worked/lived just a bit further away were at a disadvantage for being able to attend peak classes and felt that I was not getting my moneyís worth as a peak member. I cannot get into any routine at the club as it is completely overcrowded at peak times.

    I also called head office with my concerns, only to be told that it Ďwas just a busy time of yearí. Having had enough, I froze my gym membership for a couple of months to wait for the Ďbusy timeí to pass. I started going again at the start of September and nothing has changed, I still canít get into classes. Whenever I try and discuss it with staff at the club I am fobbed off and most of them are completely unhelpful.

    I stopped my direct debit and called to cancel my membership on 26 of September, I was put through to Ďmember servicesí who told me that I had to give one monthís notice before I could cancel according to the contract, which I do understand (and will pay), but considering the bad service I have received, I thought we might be able to come to a compromise, but instead I was spoken to in a condescending and threatening manner when I suggested this.

    I tried to get my point across over and over again, but I was not being listened to, in fact the blame was placed on me, when trying to explain the faults with the booking system, I was told that it was my fault and that it was Ďunfortunateí that I couldnít get time off work to get to the club 15 minutes before the classes started. It was suggested that I go to classes that start at 12pm in the afternoon (when I am at work). I was threatened with further extra charges and debt collectors if I did not pay.

    As far as I am concerned, I have kept to my side of the contract, I pay my membership every month, LA Fitness on the other hand hasnít kept to their side.
  • scam
    LA fitness should not get away with this and could use some further investigation by relevant authorities!
    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gi...id=28221199452
  • gmc1
    LAFitnessCSA, you say you just charge this cancellation fee? Without stating it in the contract? I joined online (Group Peak, any Club but London) and I suppose the contracts for joining in a branch may be different to mine, and I notice that online contract has changed in the last couple of weeks or so. But even the new one still doesn't mention any cancellation fee.

    Why not? Because people who read the contract would simply march to J.J.B. or Spirit or LivingWell etc. etc. or click to their page on The Web, as most of these contracts and prices are very similar, and something that odd would, if clearly visible, would put people off.

    The L.A. Fitness contracts are very unclear. My contract stated that the first payment for online memberships should be by card payment, and that was payment for an initial term of one month, and subsequent payments would be by direct debit.

    Then my contract said that any member can cancel after the initial term. I thought it was obvious L.A. Fitness were saying this was the initial month, where, understandably, if the cooling off period is passed, the customer must pay one month's subscription. So it seemed clear that cancellation could be at any time after the first month, where cancellation notification is given before the advance payment is taken for what is to be the last month's membership.

    However I just received a letter from L.A. Fitness telling me it is impossible to cancel. The L.A. Fitness terms misled me. I thought I understood them. But that's not really of uppermost relevance in the situation concerning me, as no-one who experienced the performance by L.A. Fitness which I was subject to (and that is actually all members of the club I'm in I can only suppose) would continue to be bound by the original contract agreement after suffering L.A. Fitness's behaviour.

    In any case L.A. Fitness have clearly and completely breached the contract, so I am not cancelling, merely refusing to deliver my money anymore when L.A. Fitness are in breach. When there is a clear breach of contract, the suffering party does not need to continue their side. I learned that most simple point in a simple London law school. L.A. Fitness ended the contract, not I. The basic relaxation facilities were offered at most around 30 percent of the time I have been a member and I would be in the second half of annual membership if L.A. Fitness had not breached the contract.

    I looked at the terms of the contract, they are full of notices to the effect that L.A. Fitness will cancel your membership at any time should you seem to be annoying, unnacceptable etc.

    L.A Fitness has seriously breached the law of contract and I am withdrawing from continuing with the contract. But L.A. Fitness hasn't answered even one of the many communications I sent. The contract has stopped because L.A. Fitness has breached. I am asking L.A. Fitness for compensation as well (not discount from future months memebrships because only an insane or very desparate person would stay at that club), though I'm not so hopeful that I will get this before going to court, if at all. I don't mind doing that, it's what it's for, nothing else, and nothing else is for that where a contracting party breaches and is unreasonable.

    But going to court is mainly for the true facts to be heard. I didn't make the law, I didn't determine if compensation is in law allowable in this case, I didn't and can't determine how much if so, and I don't know anything about evidence - advised, helpful or required, allowable or unallowable.

    Then again, maybe it's because I feel so degraded, abused and threatened by L.A. Fitness that I'm not expecting anything much personally. But at least that these true facts now are conveyed, noted and recorded in a court of law by oath. It feels like the 'laws of the bad street' L.A. Fitness are prescribing and abiding by without giving choices, and one feels now and has felt up to now the opportunity just to cower without being struck in ways again is one to be grateful for, at this time.

    One thing which worries me is that L.A. Fitness might set a credit recovery agency on me, after their breach of contract, because I will not pay the rest of the fees. I guess it is possible that I will be taking L.A. Fitness to court for breach of contract and find that they have put creditors to seek the rest of the months' payment of the anticipated annual contract.

    Would that happen?

    -----

    Another thing is - please don't ask which club I have been a member at. I have no doubt that there are members at that club who don't know, who don't even think of using the relaxation facilities or swimming pool, very few people ever do in fact, wheras the gym area is always buzzing. I am sure there are plenty of people who come in just for classes or the odd gymnasium use and think the staff of that L.A. Fitness club are 'sweetness and light'. So if I mention the club's name, there would probably be people living in a different world who speak up for it.


    The staff usually seemed like they could be 'sweetness and light' to me until I found the murk:

    "Does anyone want sex?" over the loudspeaker, a male member of staff, 10 minutes before closing time when the changing rooms of one sex had nearly 10 persons in them, and naturally I don't know about the other.

    "[My name], I think you're hot", over the loudspeaker from a member of staff of the opposite sex 5 minutes before the club closed with a few people in the changing room I was in. I didn't know and still don't know who said either comment, there were a number of members of staff of the relevant sex working near that time on both nights.

    A member of the fitness team bending over and oiling the jogging machines when people were running on them. It was ridiculous. That happened on my last visit and I vowed I certainly would not return. I was reminded it had happened a couple of times before though then I had thought it so bad and odd I kind of laughed in disbelief (though also anger) and left, forgetting soon about it, as if of a different world from ours. It clearly breached just about all Health and Safety Laws, not to mention respect for clients, while the member of staff could claim he was ensuring health and safety provision for his clients. I put myself in the position of the persons using the running machines when he suddenly leaned over and oiled the jogging platforms on both sides, and I was sure I would have fallen over in shock. I had to gear up for a really angry remonstration if that man had started oiling the rowing machine I was using right beside him, it caused me distress, but he walked away. I don't know how the people on the running mahcines did not fall over.
    Last edited by gmc1; 30-01-2009 at 4:13 AM. Reason: Addition / explanation
  • gmc1
    An addition to my message above:

    To all those persons who have written here who stated that L.A. Fitness didn't provide the services contracted for, whether advertised T.V. channels (by print or spoken), working relaxation facilities, or just not giving the information before joining that one couldn't book a class in advance or from a distance, whatever:

    They have breached the contract. L.A. Fitness has acted against contract law. It is not your fault. You are not required in law to a pay a penny of cancellation charges or further months membership.

    Simply write to L.A. Fitness, (a good idea is 2 photocopies, one to Member Services, a copy to the Member Relations department and a copy to the Club - always keep copies yourself if possible), tell them they have during your membership term acted against the information they gave to a prospective client, which induced joining, and so have clearly breached contract law.

    This means, in each case, that L.A. Fitness have ended the contract, not the client.

    L.A. Fitness need to be told, because they are an exceedingly dull and, careless and even dangerous organisation in that way, that

    1. that is the truth and they have a legal responsibility to obey the terms of contract law,
    2. As L.A. Fitness ended the contract, not the client, you won't be paying any further membership fees
    and 3. If they do not heed the truth of this, a solicitor's letter will be forthcoming or a court summons.

    Solicitor's letters may cost a hundred pounds or so so that isn't a necessity, though filing a claim in a small claims court should cost 50 pounds or so or less, where the fee will be recoverable from L.A. Fitness, unless you are in a position where you don't have to pay.

    Ask yourself - should I pay the remaining months' membership, maybe 150 pounds or more to a company who are breaking contract law? Or should I pay probably less than 60 pounds to file a small claim in court, organise one day or a half day off work when the short case will be heard, compile some brief notes outlining a timeline and communication records if you have that and go and present to the court. A solicitor or barrister in court is not necessary. Just to stand up and say what happened, simply, is fine, what L.A. Fitness breached, how many times, when and what you communicated to them, and when exactly you considered they were definitely in breach of contract, after a reasonable time for them to reply, or if their services were so bad, when this was clear.

    There is nothing else to do.

    L.A. Fitness may try to refute your claims, but if you just repeat saying what happened, and that it did happen and you certainly didn't imagine it, you should receive the favourable judgement. If you have copies of communications to L.A. Fitness, that's better, but it's not needed. It's may be (though no foregone conclusion) that L.A. Fitness will settle with you before court. One doesn't know - if they are unreasonable and harmful to you from the start, it may be the way they continue. Personally, I don't think they should be allowed to get away with harming paying customers.
    Last edited by gmc1; 09-12-2008 at 5:59 PM.
  • gmc1
    To LAfitnessCSA, as you say you work for L.A. Fitness, you are adding to the woes that company has caused. Your remarks in the reply you give above are going against what is agreed in contract law. The online contracts DO say that L.A. Fitness agrees to be bound by what you state is only a goodwill option:

    transferring your membership to someone else is part of the contract: "6.6 You may not cancel a prepaid annual contract but you may transfer it to another person or you may join another LA Fitness Club".

    There is no mention here of paying any administration fee for that, not 50 pounds or any other amount is given. And you claim that deceit (hiding a charge for a service which thus appears to be free, and contractually free), is goodwill? Oh dear.

    ---------

    What pinkshoes says above about always sending by recorded delivery is really true with L.A. Fitness. In my experience, they come across to me as so cowardly they are the type of organisation who wouldn't disrespect Royal Mail because it would be to blaringly blatant of the type of company they are in very notable and not very infrequent cases if they did. It only costs One pound, Eight pence to send even quite a packed letter by Recorded, Signed For post, first class (not guaranteed, but often next day post in the U.K.) You can buy the postage and print it online (royalmail.co.uk) onto an envelope or a sheet of a4 paper and cut out the address part to stick onto the envelope.

    I sent a number of faxes to Head Office. Days ago I phoned to ask for the fax number, pleased I have been keeping transmission receipts before that, where no faxes, emails or letters have been replied to. I made sure afresh to get a fax number this time in case they change it regularly because they're probably one quarter staffed and, as pinkshoes suggests and so many other people's problems seem to back up, they probably bin half of the communications to them, and that would be an ideal excuse, a changing fax number.

    The person who gave me the fax number sounded nice and was sensible also, telling me to keep a copy of the fax transmission receipt myself, and also to phone a good while afterwards to ask if the fax had been received. I did this but they told me in Member Services that no such fax had been received a number of times. I checked the number on my successful fax transmission receipt and it was fine. I had to fax another number where I could check and fax into that home machine to make sure it was working correctly, as, of course, it was. I had really important stuff sent just before that and L.A. Fitness made me think it mightn't have gone through despite the success receipts.

    L.A. Fitness have caused me so much distress in my life it is so far beyond acceptable.
    Last edited by gmc1; 30-01-2009 at 4:14 AM. Reason: Addition / better phrasing
  • Raspberry Beret
    I too have had big problems with LA Fitness - both my local gym in Cheltenham and the Head Office. I am amazed at how readily they will ignore any complaint and call in the debt collectors. I am so peed off with them I have put a protest site together: http://www.lafitness-sucks.co.uk.
  • Louisey
    I joined an LA fitness gym in London in April 2007.

    I signed up for a 12 month off peak contract which was £39.00 per month.
    I only paid for 2 months and then I cancelled my direct debit and stopped going to the gym because the the gym never had hot water or music and I found it generally unpleasent.

    I recieved a letter from LA Fitness a few months after I cancelled my direct debit asking me to reinstate it which i ignored.

    In hindsight I know that this was stupid because I now know that once you sign up to a contract you are bound by the terms and conditions until the end of the term. I now also know that and if you have any problems you should raise this to try and get the issues sorted / get the contract cancelled in the first instance.

    I am worried because I also now know that traders have up to 6 years to chase you for any money owed.

    I would like some advice..preferably from someone who works at LA Fitness as to what to do.

    Should I write to LA Fitness and admit I was wrong and try to come to some resolution? I am worried the contract may have been a rolling contract and therefore I may owe money since 2007 & 2008. I no longer have the terms and conditions.

    Help! I dont want future debt collector letters or defaults. What would you do?

    Lou ( Now in the know about entering into contracts!!)
  • rl290
    I joined with a friend at the beginning of 2008 under a 2 for 1 deal. In addition, there was a promotion at the time saying that if, for the first few weeks, you went a given number of times per week then you will get your third month free. (I forget the exact details)

    I failed hopelessly in this task. However, my friend went to the gym more than the required number of times. When the third month came it was not free. He complained and was told that they would give him the fifth month free. It was not. So, he canceled his membership and DD saying that they had breached the contract and they had ended it. They sent debt collectors after him... so he said that FF had breached the contract (not him) and they have not contacted him since.

    It seems the debt collectors have better customer service than FF!
  • c_C
    I had a similar experience with LA Fitness Newbury - was owed money, including an 'admin' fee that I never received back (you're meant to have it return to you after attending the gym twice a week for two months - I did this).

    I started receiving letters once a month claiming that I owed £197 (?!?) - I had cancelled my membership in person and in writing but apparently I still owed money. They had the audacity to claim that if I rejoined the gym they would knock £40 off the fee as a 'goodwill gesture'.

    In the end after speaking to their membership services and voicing my anger at their inefficiency and poor running, they proposed that they would cancel my debt if I promised not to contact Trading Standards again (I already had sought advice from them).

    So all that hassle and time wasted and I'm still owed money - what for a gym where the showers rarely worked correctly, the staff were lazy and rude (they were unable to write me a fitness regime as they had 'run out of paper' and we had to fill up the sauna heater with water from the swimming pool. It gets worse - on one occasion we found a vomit-like substance on the drinking fountain, it stayed there for two days.

    I am now a member of Nuffield Health and have had a much more positive experience.
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