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  • FIRST POST
    • CainDingle
    • By CainDingle 30th Oct 19, 12:05 AM
    • 31Posts
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    CainDingle
    Xercise4less/Harlands chasing me for money
    • #1
    • 30th Oct 19, 12:05 AM
    Xercise4less/Harlands chasing me for money 30th Oct 19 at 12:05 AM
    So I took out a membership with xercise4less about 4 years ago. Used them for that time with absolutely no hassle.

    Come time to cancel, and there's an online form that they say I need to use to give them 30 days notice. The form doesn't recognise either of my 2 emails (I tried multiples times).

    I (perhaps, naively) thought that if they only have bank details down for me, I could just cancel my direct debit and be done.

    When it came time to chase me for money they think they are owed, Harlands (the membership management people which the gym use) suddenly have an email address to contact me on, demanding the next months membership fee with an admin charge attached.

    Am I in the wrong? Do I pay it, or challenge it? And if challenge it, how?
Page 1
    • CainDingle
    • By CainDingle 30th Oct 19, 12:06 AM
    • 31 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    CainDingle
    • #2
    • 30th Oct 19, 12:06 AM
    • #2
    • 30th Oct 19, 12:06 AM
    Also a quick bit of information to add:

    A friend of mine works behind the counter. I spoke to her after a few days, and she assured me that she'd speak to the manager and get it quashed for me. After I let it go, they sent me another email with an inflated charge.
    • fwor
    • By fwor 30th Oct 19, 12:50 PM
    • 6,246 Posts
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    fwor
    • #3
    • 30th Oct 19, 12:50 PM
    • #3
    • 30th Oct 19, 12:50 PM
    Four years ago you signed up to a contract with them, and that contract will have stated (among other things) how you can cancel the contract, and what they can do if you don't cancel and don't pay.

    I don't have a copy of that contract here, but presumably you do? So it would be a good idea to check it to see if they are acting within the terms of the contract.

    From that you will be able to work out whether their charges are fair and whether you need to pay. Sort it out now (by phoning them if necessary), because if they are legally entitled to add admin charges for non-payment, they will keep adding them each month that you don't pay.
    • WhenIam64
    • By WhenIam64 30th Oct 19, 4:40 PM
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    WhenIam64
    • #4
    • 30th Oct 19, 4:40 PM
    • #4
    • 30th Oct 19, 4:40 PM
    Check this thread. Gym companies have a high degree of churn or "buyers remorse"

    https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?p=76182441#16

    So it would be a good idea to check it to see if they are acting within the terms of the contract.
    They say they are but they don't take it to court as the terms might not stand up to scrutiny under the CRA 2015
    Unlike some here, I am not omniscient. If I am wrong correct me. I won't take offence.
    • CainDingle
    • By CainDingle 31st Oct 19, 1:23 AM
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    CainDingle
    • #5
    • 31st Oct 19, 1:23 AM
    • #5
    • 31st Oct 19, 1:23 AM
    The other thread seems to give a bit of previous to this kind of situation.

    I'm pretty sure the contract was done digitally. It was a good few years back, and I'm not 100% on that though.

    Either way, I don't have a physically copy of one with my signature on it.

    It does state on their website though that you need to keep the direct debit open until they receive your notice to cancel.

    Do I just pay up and learn from this, or does the fact that I couldn't cancel using their online form absolve me in any way here?

    I am going to go into the gym tomorrow, and discuss my situation with the staff/manager
    • WhenIam64
    • By WhenIam64 31st Oct 19, 8:54 AM
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    WhenIam64
    • #6
    • 31st Oct 19, 8:54 AM
    • #6
    • 31st Oct 19, 8:54 AM
    The form doesn't recognise either of my 2 emails
    Have you details of sending the emails? That should be good enough.

    If you want to check if they received them, then send a Subject Access Request to confirm.

    Not all terms in a contract can stand up to scrutiny and as you say they do have previous.
    Unlike some here, I am not omniscient. If I am wrong correct me. I won't take offence.
    • CainDingle
    • By CainDingle 31st Oct 19, 12:13 PM
    • 31 Posts
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    CainDingle
    • #7
    • 31st Oct 19, 12:13 PM
    • #7
    • 31st Oct 19, 12:13 PM
    I couldn't send an email, as it needed a valid email attached to an account to hit the send button on the form. None of my email addresses worked for this.

    I did go into my local gym later that same day though
    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 31st Oct 19, 12:26 PM
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    EssexHebridean
    • #8
    • 31st Oct 19, 12:26 PM
    • #8
    • 31st Oct 19, 12:26 PM
    Do you have a record of termination at the gym when you went in then? That's the first time you've mentioned going in there to cancel as well...did they give you something confirming the cancellation at that point?
    MORTGAGE FREE 30/09/2016
    SOA CALCULATOR (for DFW newbies): SOA Calculator
    • CainDingle
    • By CainDingle 31st Oct 19, 8:21 PM
    • 31 Posts
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    CainDingle
    • #9
    • 31st Oct 19, 8:21 PM
    • #9
    • 31st Oct 19, 8:21 PM
    Sorry, my bad. When I said I spoke to my friend who works there, I meant that I'd gone into the gym and she was working that day.

    They didn't give me any proof, but I went back into the gym today. They have it on their system that I went in and that my membership was cancelled on that day, but Harlands still want the outstanding balance to be paid.

    I did speak to the manager today, and he said that on the record, the gym want me to pay up.

    Off the record, Harlands have previous of threats to send the debt to a collection agency, but this agency is just the same company under another name. They threaten court but never go through with it because, as I never signed a credit agreement with them, they have no power to chase.
    • WhenIam64
    • By WhenIam64 1st Nov 19, 7:04 PM
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    WhenIam64
    They have it on their system that I went in and that my membership was cancelled on that day,
    here's an online form that they say I need to use to give them 30 days notice.
    Get a printout of that as "personal information". The second issue is what do the terms of the contract say? If the terms are indeed 30 days notice, you have somewhere between 30 and 60 days to pay depending on whether it is 30 working days or some other definition e.g. one month from the last day in the month you gave notice.

    It's all down to definitions in the contract and once you are clear on what exactly is your liability, then you can offer that and tell Harlands to swivel for the rest. After all it is their own money they are wasting try to beat their head against defined contractual terms.
    Unlike some here, I am not omniscient. If I am wrong correct me. I won't take offence.
    • CainDingle
    • By CainDingle 2nd Nov 19, 12:02 AM
    • 31 Posts
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    CainDingle
    Found an online copy of their terms and conditions:

    9: If you have fulfilled your commitment to the membership you have joined, you may prevent the Automatic
    Renewal at any time by visiting the Xercise4less website and submitting an online cancellation form (you
    should give us (Xercise4Less) not less than 30 days’ notice).

    10. Harlands will manage and process the cancellation of your membership upon receipt of a properly submitted
    cancellation request form either via the cancellation option in your Xercise4Less app or the Xercise4Less
    website. Should your direct debit be cancelled at any time you may incur fees as a result of any missed
    payments. If you wish to have confirmation of any amendments to your account at any stage please contact
    the Harlands helpline on xercise4less@harlandsgroup.co.uk or by phone on 01444 449033.


    I'm guessing that makes it one months fee (in my case, 9.99)?
    • WhenIam64
    • By WhenIam64 2nd Nov 19, 8:37 AM
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    WhenIam64
    Harlands will manage and process the cancellation of your membership upon receipt of a properly submitted cancellation request form either via the cancellation option in your Xercise4Less app or the Xercise4Less
    website.
    Though this looks "reasonable" it is not. It fails to take account of those people who are digitally poor or challenged. As churn/buyer remorse is a problem for gyms plus other impulse purchases, then are attempting to blind people by the small print. Small print terms went out the window years ago.

    If you owe any money for the 30 days, pay it. If you have paid more than the 30 days ask for your money back and if they fail to pay, issue a claim.

    There is a nice class action here for an ambulance chasing solicitor given the way these terms are being applied. Hope someone takes up the challenge.

    http://competitionlawblog.kluwercompetitionlaw.com/2015/10/05/united-kingdom-consumer-rights-act-2015-introduces-new-procedures-for-competition-litigation-including-collective-follow-on-damages-actions/
    Unlike some here, I am not omniscient. If I am wrong correct me. I won't take offence.
    • CainDingle
    • By CainDingle 5th Nov 19, 11:43 PM
    • 31 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    CainDingle
    I sent them this email, as I had just paid them for a month about 3 days prior, so I would owe them a new months fees 3 days from the end of the 30 day notice period:

    Dear Harlands/Xercise4less,

    I have received an email informing me that you are requesting 69.98 in arrears from me.

    I tried to cancel my contract fairly using your online portal, but it found my email address to be not attached to any account.

    Using my right to challenge unfair terms of a contract, I decline to pay your admin fees in this situation.

    I offer 9.99 to cover the 30 days notice which the contract requests for cancellation.

    I await your reply within 14 days of sending this email.

    Any emails outside of 14 days, or any requests for more than 9.99 will be ignored.

    Thanks,

    CainDingle
    • CainDingle
    • By CainDingle 7th Nov 19, 1:00 AM
    • 31 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    CainDingle
    So not even 24 hours later, I get this as a reply:

    "We do regret to inform you that in accordance with the Terms and Conditions of your agreement, we are unable to remove the administration charge that you are disputing.

    One of the Terms of this agreement, which you have agreed to be bound by, is that "if you fail to pay any monies due under this agreement or if any Direct Debit is returned unpaid or any cheque is returned unpaid or if any other form of payment is not honored for whatever reason, you shall pay us on demand fee of 25.00, which we require to cover our costs of seeking to pursue such payment from you."

    As you have cancelled your direct debit instruction you have prevented the successful collection of your due instalment and thus have breached the terms of your agreement"


    They've declined my offer of a months membership and lost their chance to get any more money out of me.

    Do I just wait it out and forget about it now?
    • WhenIam64
    • By WhenIam64 7th Nov 19, 6:27 AM
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    WhenIam64
    Do I just wait it out and forget about it now?
    File it. They appear to be saying that a contract with one company (Xercise) binds you to a second contract with another company (known as a stranger to a contract)

    Have a chat with the CAB Consumer Helpline and see if they have others with the same problem. CAB are the gateway to Trading Standards, and this has all the looks of a scam.

    https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/how-citizens-advice-works/citizens-advice-consumer-work/the-consumer-rights-act-2015/
    Last edited by WhenIam64; 07-11-2019 at 6:31 AM.
    Unlike some here, I am not omniscient. If I am wrong correct me. I won't take offence.
    • CainDingle
    • By CainDingle 8th Nov 19, 11:35 PM
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    • 4 Thanks
    CainDingle
    Tried doing it through the website chat options to be met with the recommendation that I should pay it.

    I tried the number and the guy wouldn't even touch the situation, referred me to the National Debtline.

    Didn't have time to call it today by the time I'd done all of the above, going to try tomorrow as they are open until 1pm.

    Will let you know what they say.
    • CainDingle
    • By CainDingle 9th Nov 19, 1:13 PM
    • 31 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    CainDingle
    So The Debtline have told me:

    That they have the right to chase me for this money.

    The terms of my contract stated the prices plus the charges they are issuing to me.

    While the mistake was an honest one, and they completely side with me, it was a mistake on my end nonetheless and it's up to me to try and get them to come to a compromise.

    If Harlands want to use the court option, it's a real possibility. As a broken website portal is easier said, hard to prove, they don't advise this option, as I broke terms clearly stated in the contract
    • WhenIam64
    • By WhenIam64 9th Nov 19, 4:42 PM
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    WhenIam64
    as I broke terms clearly stated in the contract
    If they were clearly stated, why didn't you know about them? There is still the issue of Harlands being a second party to a contract. Your agreement was with X4L and as such Harlands have no standing as it wasn't their contract. X4L may be able to mount a claim but Harlands would have to prove the relationship You - X4L - them.

    It is up to you what you would like to do but you should at least be aware of the arguments they would need to apply / convince a court
    Unlike some here, I am not omniscient. If I am wrong correct me. I won't take offence.
    • sourcrates
    • By sourcrates 9th Nov 19, 5:23 PM
    • 18,727 Posts
    • 17,642 Thanks
    sourcrates
    These type of gym contract disputes crop up on here on a regular basis and in almost every single case it was because the debtor just cancelled the DD in the hope that would cancel the contract, which of course it dosent.

    Its a notoriously gray area of contract law, and i suspect a lot of people either end up paying the debt or ignoring it, this is just speculation on my part as not one poster has ever returned to tell us otherwise, myself I would say Harlands won`t go to court, they rely mainly on threats of legal action, the cost for another thing would be far in excess of what they may recover from you, and they cannot take everyone to court.


    Some interesting reading from the CAG site here :


    https://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/topic/403974-help-crsharlands-debt-written-off/


    Make a fuss, it may all just go away.
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    • CainDingle
    • By CainDingle 12th Nov 19, 11:12 PM
    • 31 Posts
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    CainDingle
    So Citizens advice basically told me they can't advise me either way; in today's world, they have to remain impartial. They said I can complain to an Alternative Dispute Resolution, but I need to dig up facts to support my case. Also, Harlands can completely overlook this and just demand the money and go down the court route. They did say they would refer my case to trading standards though.

    My next move was to go to the gym to ask for a print out of my file, which proves the date I cancelled my membership to support my claims. The guys behind the desk (the same ones as the last time I went in, coincidentally) basically advised me to forget about the whole thing. They said they've had people sign up to their site multiple times after owing money to an old cancellation, and Harlands never chase it up.

    Also, I got an email from their Area manager (after deciding to complain to xercise4less):

    Unfortunately you are not able to cancel a membership without an active direct debit.
    When you cancelled your direct debit Harlands would have contacted you to reinstate it to avoid charges being placed on the account.
    As you have not followed the cancellation procedure and cancelled your direct debit, unfortunately you will have to resolve this with Harlands.
    Their contact number is 01444 227 141
    Last edited by CainDingle; 12-11-2019 at 11:16 PM. Reason: Spelling mistake
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