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MSE News: OFT launches investigation into gym contracts

This is the discussion thread for the following MSE News Story:

"A number of gyms are being investigated by the Office of Trading, to determine whether or not their contracts are unfair ..."


  • lizzieplizziep Forumite
    29 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    Good news - I've been caught by what I consider to be a completely immoral and unethical finance company with a gym membership...I was 'persuaded' in 2008 to continue my gym membership with a new contract starting in my naive, but I agreed (I was given the reason that I would be getting a much better rate)

    Anyway, long story short, but after being threatened with being taken to court (I owed them £491, £261 in arrears) I have had no choice but to give into what I consider to be bullying tactics - this is despite the fact that I ended up being made redundant, out of work for 6 months (in 2009), then in 2010 being in a job which was further away from home therefore increased costs to get there and where I ended up walking out of with nothing to go to due to sever bullying leading to a near suicide attempt, then a 6 month fixe term contract which due to the distance involved me paying £200 a month in petrol, followed by 4 months on JSA - it was at that point that I decided I had to cancel my non-priority gym mebership. I explained everything to them, including the fact that I was on medication for Depression and their tactics was just increasing the level of stress I was suffering.

    I hope that the company I've been involved with is one of those being investigated - I am being penalised because I don't own a crystal ball and therefore couldn't foresee my change of circumstances, and also their incompetency in that three mandates I sent them were never presented to the bank.

    Sorry - didn't mean this to be so long but it is an issue I feel very very strongly about. I even went to the CAB, and on their advice wrote to the finance company and referred them to the Ashbourne case and they told me that the CAB had misled me....

    I will never EVER have anything to do with a gym again.
  • jayssjayss Forumite
    543 Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    Great news!!!

    When signing up for a big brand gym I asked what the cancellation period was after the initial 12 months and was told a month, 18months later when needing to cancel due to moving, they said that I couldnt as the contract automatically rolled over for another 12 months, so was told a blatant lie when joining.

    I'm now with a budget gym group and cancel at any time along with the cost being 1/4 of the big brand place made me happy to join a gym again.
  • I tried to cancel my subscription with a very large gym chain 2 years ago. I was told that I couldn't cancel as I was on a rolling contract and my new year had 10 months to run!!
    I didn't see how this could be right. I believed I had signed up for 12 months only
    I cancelled my direct debit and wrote to the gym to confirm my cancellation.
    I did not hear anything for a while then I started to get letters from a debt collection agent threatening all sorts of nastiness if I didn't pay the outstanding amounts of approx £400
    To cut a long story short I used the OFT guidance on gym membership (which condemned this practise) and got in touch with their HO. I still got demands so I threatened them with the local press.
    I actually told them to claim the money via the CC, that way I would be able to put my case properly
    Got their desperate legal team on the phone one day, said they would stop everything so long as I didn't go to the press etc.
    Bottom line is, stand up to these people. They put unfair terms and conditions in their contracts and then use bullying tactics to make them stick. Most people pay up out of fear so it works for them but that doesn't make it right or legal.
    There are three types of people in this world. Those who can count and those who can't.
  • thank goodness the oft have got involved, we can look forward to them complleting their investigation in about 5 years time with a recommendation for gyms to improve the spelling in their contracts

    i wouldnt hold out too much hope of them actually doing anything, definitely one quango that needs to be taken out into the yard and shot
    'Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.'
    GALATIANS 6: 7 (KJV)
  • mo786ukmo786uk Forumite
    1.4K Posts
    Having worked in a regulatory environment - its not necessarily the OFTs fault things drag on for years. They have to gather evidence and if it goes to court that alone can add a couple of years onto the issue if the companies wnat to argue the toss.

    If the OFT had the pwoers to shut businesses down then we woudl be tlaking but they will never get those sorts of powers.
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