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MSE News: Tens of thousands can cancel gym contracts

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Comments

  • throborg99
    throborg99 Forumite Posts: 1 Newbie
    Could this ruling be applied to mobile phone contracts?
  • GBL_3
    GBL_3 Forumite Posts: 2 Newbie
    I_luv_cats wrote: »
    I fail to understand why gyms require a 12 months minimum contract. It's about time the industry is clamped down on!!!

    I understand with telephony and pay tv services there are minimum terms because the company has had upfront costs (provision of service, equipment, handset etc.) they need to recoup.

    What a bloody ridiculous statement. Gyms spend money to bring clients through the door, to continually improve or maintain services, to give the client a one on one induction, to set up the administration of their direct debit etc. You join on a membership so you can use the services the same as a golf club, sports association, dvd club, phone, railcard and hundreds of any other services.

    As a gym ower myself, we have the choice of no- contract at £35 a month, contract for one year at £30 a month, 2 year at £25 a month or 3 year at £20 a month to offer CHOICE and, in a saturated market, to encourage people to stay with us instead of switching.

    MANY people choose to take out the 3 year deal because its cheaper. You pick your commitment level, you pick your price. Now, if this ruling goes ahead, and people cancel after only one year, how fair is that on the people who have been paying the higher tariff ?

    If we are no longer allowed to offer a 3 year option we will no longer be able to offer people the cheapest rate.

    Lets see how much you complain then when ALL gym membership rates rise.

    If you sign for 3 years- thats YOUR choice because YOU wanted a cheap deal. So situations change, and yes cancellations should be considered on a case by case basis, but if you just change your mind- TOUGH!

    The majority of people who whinge and moan about Ashbournes have NEVER ONCE contacted ashbourne or the gym to resolve things before it gets to a threat of a default. They send NUMEROUS letters before that point.

    independent gym owners all over the country budget their spending based on the monthly direct debits and if everyone is suddenly allowed to cancel it could put a lot of small businesses under.

    As for saying the industry should be 'clamped down on' - what do you think we are? We're helping people get fit and healthy, we're creating social groups, we're growing peoples self confidence, we're an escape. You make it sound like we're Dr Evil!!!
  • Lifes_Grand_Plan
    Lifes_Grand_Plan Forumite Posts: 1,082
    Part of the Furniture 500 Posts Photogenic
    Forumite
    GBL wrote: »
    What a bloody ridiculous statement.

    :rotfl::rotfl::rotfl:

    The irony of MSE putting a "be nice to newbies" image on your post and you start a thread like that.... welcome to MSE :(

    You do have a point, gyms do buy equipment up front just as telephony and tv services do.... however so do Tesco and they don't sign you up to a 36 month contract to shop there... so there are examples of both sides of that argument.

    However don't make out you offer 36 month deals for the users benefit... some may get the benefit of cheaper deals, but most use they gym for 2 or 3 months then never again... and you are safe in the knowledge that you can sting them for the next 32 months for something they aren't using....

    Ok so consumers should use their brain and think about that.... but again there is wrong on both sides.

    I can't understand why people use rip-off private gyms... in my town we have a council gym and a University gym, both £20 - 25 a month with minimal contracts...
    A big believer in karma, you get what you give :A

    If you find my posts useful, "pay it forward" and help someone else out, that's how places like MSE can be so successful.
  • mad_fifer
    mad_fifer Forumite Posts: 2 Newbie
    well received letter from ashbourne saying im still in my contract so time to party and lets see where we go from here.
  • GBL_3
    GBL_3 Forumite Posts: 2 Newbie
    :rotfl::rotfl::rotfl:

    The irony of MSE putting a "be nice to newbies" image on your post and you start a thread like that.... welcome to MSE :(

    You do have a point, gyms do buy equipment up front just as telephony and tv services do.... however so do Tesco and they don't sign you up to a 36 month contract to shop there... so there are examples of both sides of that argument.

    However don't make out you offer 36 month deals for the users benefit... some may get the benefit of cheaper deals, but most use they gym for 2 or 3 months then never again... and you are safe in the knowledge that you can sting them for the next 32 months for something they aren't using....

    Ok so consumers should use their brain and think about that.... but again there is wrong on both sides.

    I can't understand why people use rip-off private gyms... in my town we have a council gym and a University gym, both £20 - 25 a month with minimal contracts...

    Thanks for the welcome:D

    Please remember these 'rip off private gyms' are on the whole small local business run by sole traders or families. The only way to compete with the authority funded, non-taxpaying leisure centres is to offer cheaper memberships. The obvious to run a business at half the price to everyone else is to secure commitment.

    If you think you might use the gym for 2, 3 months then never again, then sign up for one month , not 36!

    There is no rip off!
  • futsysmids
    futsysmids Forumite Posts: 5 Forumite
    The gym I used to go to, which I am still contracted to, use Harlands to collect their memberships.

    The reason this small, independent gym uses Harlands is because as soon as you sign up on either a 12, 24 or 36 month contract, the following happens:

    (1) The payments for the whole of the contract are paid in a lump sum to the gym (i.e. 36 x £25 = £900).

    (2) The gym can wash it's hands of collecting payments, chasing payments, etc and if after 3 months or 14 months you decide you don't want to go or can't go, or are financially unable to go - Harlands will chase you down and force you to pay the full term of the contract or else face court proceedings with them.

    (3) If you are able to cancel your contract due to one of the couple of clauses that allow you out (moving too far away from the gym or you are on deaths door), the gym does not have to pay back the money to Harlands.

    I have friends who have been financially broke because they joined places like Banantynes when they were working and had signed up for a 24 month contract and when they lost their job, could not get out of the contract because Harlands are the debt collectors.

    Fortunately, Banantynes seem to have got one step ahead of the game and only sign up 12 month contracts now.

    We have seen the industry change when it comes to broadband providers trying to lock us into unfair contracts that stop us from changing provider - they are not allowed to do that now.

    I can understand why small independent gyms try and lock you into long term contracts - new gym, maybe the facilities are not as good as other gyms or maybe like the gym I joined - the town is saturated with gyms.

    It is good that the Ashbourne & OFT ruling has come about as no gym should be able to lock you into any contract greater than 12 months. No other industry is allowed to do it.

    With the current rise in unemployment, part time working hours, lower wages - no company should have the right to enforce payment for something they can't use or afford to use - like Harlands do.

    Harlands will not allow you to cancel even if you are unemployed. That is wrong - even if you have proof. :mad:
  • RG471
    RG471 Forumite Posts: 1 Newbie
    Well, the judge ruled in favour of the Office of Fair Trading against Ashbourne in the end. It seems that contracts requiring longer than twelve months minimum lock in period are unlawful.

    The worrying thing is that although judgment was handed down on 27 May 2011, my local gym signed me up for a 36 months agreement in the tail end of December 2011.

    Within one month and a half of that, my work informed me that the offices were moving. When I explained that my work was relocating and I was no longer on the bus route for the gym, staff referred me to Ashbourne for cancellation. I wrote them nicely since I do things by the book but they wrote back that since I still lived within a 15 mile radius, they couldn't cancel. They couldn't cancel more likely because it traspires by the ruling that my agreement is with the gym, not with Ashbourne who merely collect the monthly Direct Debits.

    So now I have printed a copy of the findings published on the OFT website (just search for Ashbourne and you will get all the info) and plan to write directly to the gym, including the printout, whilst CCing Ashbourne and cancelling my Direct Debit.

    It also appears that Ashbourne ought to have written to all the gyms it collects for to inform them that the contracts are unlawful. In my case, it would mean that the gym were informed and did not train their staff appropriately. So again the contract is null and void.

    The nice thing about it is that I do not owe them anything... not even a month notice that I had ever so nicely offered.

    I am also planning to contact the OFT to update them on the situation.

    Had Ashbourne said ok to my cancellation I would not have found out anything about this court case. Will keep everyone posted on this front.
  • jacobz1
    jacobz1 Forumite Posts: 1 Newbie
    Hi,

    I have a "36 month" Gym membership with my local gym via Harlands. I think the facilities are quite bad and dated and would like to cancel and go to another gym in my area. Can I still cancel it, like the people who have gym memberships through Ashbourne Management Services can?

    Thanks

    Jacob
  • sianysian69
    sianysian69 Forumite Posts: 8 Forumite
    wendiva wrote: »
    :mad:

    has any one had the pleasure of dealing with thie roughue company!! they are nothing more than bullies who pride themselves in being able to recoiever just about any debt using ttally unacceptable practices!!

    Me too, I have just received a really nasty letter saying that we owe them £107 when we've missed 2x payments (june and July) at £16 per month, plus £25 charge. Barclays advise its against trading standards to have such a high amount to owe...

    What can I do, we're are in 36 month contract :(

    Is there any guidelines on how I cancel this excessive contract having just read the may 2011 post from the high court findings??
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