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Gym membership unfair charge for cancelling

edited 30 November -1 at 12:00AM in Debt-Free Wannabe
10 replies 697 views
fuzzgun19fuzzgun19 Forumite
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edited 30 November -1 at 12:00AM in Debt-Free Wannabe
I’m asking about this for my son, he has had gym membership for the last 3 years but is now out of work and cannot afford it any more.
He didn’t have money for the direct debit so cancelled it through the bank.
Now the gym has emailed him saying he’s overdue, and have added a £25 ‘fee’ on to his usual monthly payment.

He tried calling to explain, but they just said it’s in t&cs and they’re not altering it.

The company is Harlands. Surely £25 charge is excessive?
He wouldn’t have cancelled the DD if he knew they would charge him for it.
Is there any way to contest the charge?
I Hate Jobsworths!!!

Replies

  • LittleVoiceLittleVoice Forumite
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    fuzzgun19 wrote: »
    I’m asking about this for my son, he has had gym membership for the last 3 years but is now out of work and cannot afford it any more.
    He didn’t have money for the direct debit so cancelled it through the bank.
    Now the gym has emailed him saying he’s overdue, and have added a £25 ‘fee’ on to his usual monthly payment.

    He tried calling to explain, but they just said it’s in t&cs and they’re not altering it.

    The company is Harlands. Surely £25 charge is excessive?
    He wouldn’t have cancelled the DD if he knew they would charge him for it.
    Is there any way to contest the charge?

    Get him to read the t&c.
    Check what notice he has to give them to terminate the contract.
    If he has to pay both the regular subscription and the £25 (not excessive IMHO), I hope he makes use of his membership until it is properly cancelled according to those t&c.
  • fuzzgun19fuzzgun19 Forumite
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    The notice was 30 days.

    So nothing we can do about the excessive charge then.
    I Hate Jobsworths!!!
  • whiz90whiz90 Forumite
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    hiya,

    gym membership employee here so hopefully I can offer a little insight.

    it's quite rare to have an 'admin fee' as such added on top of a direct debit collection letter, however from a quick google of Harlands it seems that your son's gym has outsourced all their membership administration to them, hence the £25 fee being added by Harlands so they make extra money from going to the effort of reclaiming the money for the gym, (despite the fact that's what they're being paid to do, its cheeky I know.) many gyms don't have the resources to chase lost money to such an extent, any threats of going to debt collectors could likely be empty however it's never worth finding out.

    unfortunately your son would have signed his name to agree to all of this when he signed the contract so there is nothing you can do i'm afraid. unless you think it's worth going to the effort of asking the gym for the original paperwork he signed to make sure he was sold the product truthfully and signed the paperwork correctly.

    my best advice to try and reclaim the lost money would be to see if they would knock £25 off the joining fee out of goodwill if he ever decided to return to them. you both might be annoyed with the gym and not want to return to them due to current circumstances but it might be something worth thinking about for the future.
  • SSD92SSD92 Forumite
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    If Harland's is Xercise4Less, I had similar issues a few years back. Cancelled the direct debit after I'd been a member for over a year, naive on my part and ended up having to pay the remainder of the membership. Lesson learnt, always read T&C's, but the fees for Harland in terms of admin fees are quite excessive but unfortunately, they don't budge.
  • DCFC79DCFC79 Forumite
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    OP I hope you have explained to your son not to cancel the direct debit with the bank.
  • EssexHebrideanEssexHebridean Forumite
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    We see these threads pop up fairly regularly - the lesson for anyone reading here is that you often cannot just stop paying for a contract - even one which has rolled over past its original term - by simply stopping the DD with your bank. If you fail to tell the other party in that contract, they will continue to try to collect the DD as usual as they simply don't know to do otherwise - and that may lead to an extra charge being applied to the account. ALWAYS read the T's & C's and follow those to the letter - then any charges raised subsequently can be reasonably queried.
    MORTGAGE FREE 30/09/2016 :D
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  • fuzzgun19fuzzgun19 Forumite
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    whiz90 wrote: »
    hiya,

    gym membership employee here so hopefully I can offer a little insight.

    it's quite rare to have an 'admin fee' as such added on top of a direct debit collection letter, however from a quick google of Harlands it seems that your son's gym has outsourced all their membership administration to them, hence the £25 fee being added by Harlands so they make extra money from going to the effort of reclaiming the money for the gym, (despite the fact that's what they're being paid to do, its cheeky I know.) many gyms don't have the resources to chase lost money to such an extent, any threats of going to debt collectors could likely be empty however it's never worth finding out.

    unfortunately your son would have signed his name to agree to all of this when he signed the contract so there is nothing you can do i'm afraid. unless you think it's worth going to the effort of asking the gym for the original paperwork he signed to make sure he was sold the product truthfully and signed the paperwork correctly.

    my best advice to try and reclaim the lost money would be to see if they would knock £25 off the joining fee out of goodwill if he ever decided to return to them. you both might be annoyed with the gym and not want to return to them due to current circumstances but it might be something worth thinking about for the future.
    SSD92 wrote: »
    If Harland's is Xercise4Less, I had similar issues a few years back. Cancelled the direct debit after I'd been a member for over a year, naive on my part and ended up having to pay the remainder of the membership. Lesson learnt, always read T&C's, but the fees for Harland in terms of admin fees are quite excessive but unfortunately, they don't budge.
    Thanks both for the supportive advice.

    He was 17 when he joined, and when he phoned them today they admitted no one reads the t&cs, and just basically said they don’t care he can’t afford it.

    So, yes lesson learned and looks like we’ll be paying it.
    I Hate Jobsworths!!!
  • zx81zx81 Forumite
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    Make sure he cancels it properly if he doesn't want it to continue, or he will be charged again next month, plus another admin fee.
  • EssexHebrideanEssexHebridean Forumite
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    zx81 wrote: »
    Make sure he cancels it properly if he doesn't want it to continue, or he will be charged again next month, plus another admin fee.

    yes - this - and don't assume that the conversation with them on the telephone will have done the trick, either!
    MORTGAGE FREE 30/09/2016 :D
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  • ben-doverben-dover Forumite
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    I had the same thing about 5 years ago, strangely roundabout the time I started putting weight on.

    I wrote to the gym cancelling my membership, then cancelled my DD. but the letter got 'lost' first thing I knew about it was a letter stating I owed 2 months gym membership fee and some charges. after many failed attempts to sort via the 'agency' I called the gym and managed to sort it out stating that quite a few of my friends were in fact still members and with puregym just opening up just around the corner it wouldn't take much effort for them to move to a cheaper gym resulting in a about a loss in revenue of about £90 a month. Probably a !!!! trick but I played by the rules and they still tried to screw me over.

    maybe your son also sent a letter that has got 'lost' and he would like to re-join the gym in the future but perhaps one that looks after customers a little better?
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