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  • FIRST POST
    • bobwilson
    • By bobwilson 14th May 19, 12:33 AM
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    bobwilson
    Health club sold us £250 worth of day-passes without telling us their facilities would close
    • #1
    • 14th May 19, 12:33 AM
    Health club sold us £250 worth of day-passes without telling us their facilities would close 14th May 19 at 12:33 AM
    We spent some enjoyable days at a nearby health club, in the jacuzzi & relaxing on deck chairs overlooking the swimming pool. We decided to make a regular thing of it. We purchased around £250 of health club passes (about a year's worth) in early 2018 for a family member who is only in the area once a month. The expiry date on the passes was the end of 2018. The monthly rate was £80 so it made sense to buy the passes.

    A few days later we went to the health club to use the first pass & discovered that the facilities (jacuzzi, relaxing deck chair area etc), were closed "due to renovation work". They remained closed for the rest of the year. We hadn't been told this at the point of buying the passes.

    We complained about this fact and that we didn't want to use the club with renovations going on. They assured us we'd be able to use the facilities once they refurbishment was finished, so we waited.

    Once the refurbishment finished, we discovered to our horror they closed some of the facilities permanently. Obviously we wouldn't have paid for the passes had we been told that. A few weeks later, the entire club "closed until further notice due to a fire"- so we still couldn't use our passes.

    It is now over a year later, and we've moved house, 200 miles away from the club. Given that the facilities haven't been available since we bought the passes & still aren't available, we asked for a refund, but the club refused.

    The reason we were given was "We have no paperwork to prove you bought the passes (apparently owning the physical passes isn't enough) and the member of staff who sold you the passes no longer works for us, so we can't ask her. The club has unfortunately experienced a fire and is closed for the forseeable future, until further notice. We can extend the expiry on your passes in case the club re-opens in the future, but we can't refund them. The fact that they're non-refundable is printed on the back of the passes."

    The above explains the reasons they gave us over the course of many emails as to why they can't refund.

    We now live several hundred miles away. We're at our wits end trying to reason with the new manager of the club. Having sent a number of emails back & forth, he just keeps repeating himself & we can't seem to get him to see sense. He has offered to extend the expiry date on our passes but that isn't much use since not only is it "permanently closed until further notice", we no longer live in the area.

    We paid cash for the passes and feel quite let down & almost tricked into paying money for something they no longer offered. My experience of the law in the UK is that it is often on the side of the unreasonable & rarely is on your side when you have legitimate reasons that make sense. Is there anything at all we can do or is it another thing to just swallow?

    Thanks in advance
Page 2
    • bobwilson
    • By bobwilson 15th May 19, 12:07 AM
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    bobwilson
    The club is in breach of contract for not offering the facilities that were paid for.

    I would issue a 'letter before action' giving 14 days to issue a refund, followed by issuing a small claim.

    There is no need to use a lawyer, you can do it yourself through the 'moneyclaimonline' system.

    All of this stuff about receipts is just a complete red herring. You don't need to have a receipt.

    However - as davidmcn pointed out - you do need to check whether it is still the same company that is trading from the premises or not.
    Originally posted by steampowered
    I believe I've already mentioned it's a different company. Does that mean I can't do all you suggested?
    • bobwilson
    • By bobwilson 15th May 19, 12:09 AM
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    bobwilson
    Did you not think it strange that you didn't get a receipt for £250 cash purchase? Did you ask for one?
    Originally posted by Manxman in exile
    I don't recall if we received one or not. Given that we used the club hundreds of times before without issue and had used many guest passes for the past 5 years for friends & family visiting us, no, we didn't think it strange- the staff at the club were always fairly relaxed & we never anticipated all this lack of access to suddenly start.

    From memory we bought around 40 passes at approx £6 each (approx £250), for use throughout the year. This was a significant reduction from the usual price of £25 each. We were lead to believe this was simply because of a special offer during the Christmas period. Had we known all the facilities would close, we wouldn't have bought them regardless of price. We haven't been able to use a single one and it's complete wasted money.

    The manager who sold us the passes made a point of assuring us that she wouldn't leave the company & even if she did, all staff would honour the passes. We know her first name & met her many times over that period when we used to attend the club.

    Either way, it sounds like it's a bitter pill we have to swallow.
    Last edited by bobwilson; 15-05-2019 at 12:26 AM.
    • bobwilson
    • By bobwilson 15th May 19, 12:11 AM
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    bobwilson
    Your claim is against whoever sold you the passes, not whoever is currently trading from the premises - so do the previous owners still exist?
    Originally posted by davidmcn
    I have no idea how to check. I'm not sure if it's a good idea to mention the club's previous and current names on a public forum...
    • bobwilson
    • By bobwilson 15th May 19, 12:13 AM
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    bobwilson
    So reading all the replies (Thanks btw), it sounds like since the company changed ownership, legally we're screwed Am I right?
    • KatrinaWaves
    • By KatrinaWaves 15th May 19, 7:14 AM
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    KatrinaWaves
    £6 each instead of £25?! My maths is rubbish at the best of times but thatís almost an 80% discount! Even at Christmas. Even for a bulk purchase,, thatís just not what a trading business does. They have tried to scam you/tried to scam the company they were selling to.
    • unholyangel
    • By unholyangel 15th May 19, 7:23 AM
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    unholyangel
    So reading all the replies (Thanks btw), it sounds like since the company changed ownership, legally we're screwed Am I right?
    Originally posted by bobwilson
    That all depends on what the new company acquired and how they acquired it. If they bought the company warts & all or whether it was just the assets they purchased.

    Have you checked on companies house?
    Money doesn't solve poverty.....it creates it.
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 15th May 19, 7:27 AM
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    davidmcn
    I have no idea how to check.
    Originally posted by bobwilson
    Well, how do you know they changed ownership? If the (old) owner was a limited company, have you checked on Companies House what the status of the company is?

    I'm not sure if it's a good idea to mention the club's previous and current names on a public forum...
    Why not? Everybody else seems to get named around here...and it might help if you need assistance interpreting what has happened to the ownership.
    • Fosterdog
    • By Fosterdog 15th May 19, 7:56 AM
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    Fosterdog
    The manager who sold us the passes made a point of assuring us that she wouldn't leave the company & even if she did, all staff would honour the passes. We know her first name & met her many times over that period when we used to attend the club.
    Originally posted by bobwilson
    What a strange thing for her to say unless she already knew the company was changing, how did that even come up in conversation? Had you expressed concerns about the vouchers not being accepted? Or had it already been announced that the company was changing? If it wasn't in response to you making a direct enquiry didn't it set alarm bells off that she would say something that implies there could potentially be an issue with the vouchers being accepted in the future?
    • steampowered
    • By steampowered 15th May 19, 10:54 AM
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    steampowered
    I believe I've already mentioned it's a different company. Does that mean I can't do all you suggested?
    Originally posted by bobwilson
    You mentioned that the club changed ownership.

    Legally speaking, the company changing is a different thing to the owners of the company changing. This is because companies have their own legal personality.

    If the gym is being operated by an entirely different company, and the old company has been dissolved, you are stuffed.

    If the gym is being run by the same company, but it is just that the company has new owners, then you still have a valid claim against that company.

    The best thing to do is to go on companies house - https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk - and so a search against the company you were dealing with. For example to check whether it is dissolved or still active.

    You should then see if you can find out which company operates the gym currently - for example check their website to see if you can find the full legal company name.

    If the names match, great. If they don't, this might not be worth pursuing.

    If in doubt - you could just proceed with writing a 'letter before action' to the gym. And see what they say in response.
    Last edited by steampowered; 15-05-2019 at 11:51 AM.
    • Manxman in exile
    • By Manxman in exile 15th May 19, 1:13 PM
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    Manxman in exile
    What a strange thing for her to say unless she already knew the company was changing, how did that even come up in conversation? Had you expressed concerns about the vouchers not being accepted? Or had it already been announced that the company was changing? If it wasn't in response to you making a direct enquiry didn't it set alarm bells off that she would say something that implies there could potentially be an issue with the vouchers being accepted in the future?
    Originally posted by Fosterdog

    Quite. The phrase "...all staff would honour the passes..." sounds really weird. Why wouldn't they be honoured?
    • bobwilson
    • By bobwilson 20th May 19, 9:48 AM
    • 508 Posts
    • 156 Thanks
    bobwilson
    £6 each instead of £25?! My maths is rubbish at the best of times but that’s almost an 80% discount! Even at Christmas. Even for a bulk purchase,, that’s just not what a trading business does. They have tried to scam you/tried to scam the company they were selling to.
    Originally posted by KatrinaWaves
    Not so sure it was a scam. She said prices would go back up by the new year & they had more leeway before then. They were sometimes relaxed & let people or family members in for free just because they knew they were regulars, so offering a decent discount wasn't too different from their regular behaviour to make me think twice. Don't forget we'd been going there and using the same type of passes for many years without a problem. After I complained, she was quite sweet about it and also confirmed she wasn't aware of building works being planned- and she offered to speak to her manager about a refund for the £250 of passes. I therefore don't think it was a deliberate scam. However, since then she left the job & a new guy took over who is refusing the refund & saying she's uncontactable.

    That all depends on what the new company acquired and how they acquired it. If they bought the company warts & all or whether it was just the assets they purchased.

    Have you checked on companies house?
    Originally posted by unholyangel
    Wouldn't know where to start with it all unfortunately, I'm no expert. If you can give any advice I'd be happy to give it a go. The club changed name & ownership & then had a fire, that's what I've been told.

    Well, how do you know they changed ownership? If the (old) owner was a limited company, have you checked on Companies House what the status of the company is?

    Why not? Everybody else seems to get named around here...and it might help if you need assistance interpreting what has happened to the ownership.
    Originally posted by davidmcn

    I know because we were told by the staff, name changed, website stopped working & new website in its place, google map shows a different club name & old one says "permanently closed" on it. It also used to be a one-off health club but since it changed ownership, the name of the club changed and became part of a chain with several clubs listed on their website.

    I've no idea what the legal implications are but I have known people who identified themselves after leaving a bad review online & were taken to court. I wouldn't wish to identify myself in a public forum anyway- too much hassle in my life already! Pick your battles... etc. I would consider taking legal action though if it's feesable / worth it, depending on advice here. I know nothing about it & lawyers are too expensive for £250... that's why it'd be great to get advice on how feasible it is.

    If the gym is being operated by an entirely different company, and the old company has been dissolved, you are stuffed.

    If the gym is being run by the same company, but it is just that the company has new owners, then you still have a valid claim against that company.

    The best thing to do is to go on companies house - https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk - and so a search against the company you were dealing with. For example to check whether it is dissolved or still active.

    You should then see if you can find out which company operates the gym currently - for example check their website to see if you can find the full legal company name.

    If the names match, great. If they don't, this might not be worth pursuing.

    If in doubt - you could just proceed with writing a 'letter before action' to the gym. And see what they say in response.
    Originally posted by steampowered
    Looks like we're stuffed then- as is usually the case in the legal world!

    Couldn't find the old health club name on companies house. Their website has also gone down.

    The new company (which also did the refurb), however, is on companies house. Given the staff told us they were changing ownership, the staff appear to have changed, websites changed, club name changed, is now part of a chain, and given the new company is an established health club chain & the previous one was a one-off, I'd make an educated guess to say the two are completely different companies.

    So... stuffed ! Another thing to take on the chin in life. (A bit like lettings agents who agree to do things before you move in but then change after you sign the contract! Stuffed.).

    No surprise.

    Thanks for the help.
    Last edited by bobwilson; 20-05-2019 at 10:18 AM.
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 20th May 19, 10:46 AM
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    davidmcn
    Couldn't find the old health club name on companies house.
    Originally posted by bobwilson
    If it was a limited company then it won't have disappeared completely from Companies House - even dissolved companies are still listed. Was it a limited company? The legal name of the limited company might not resemble the trading name. It is possible that the new owners are now the owners of the old company and therefore could still be pursued.
    • sheramber
    • By sheramber 20th May 19, 12:00 PM
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    sheramber
    We purchased around £250 of health club passes (about a year's worth) in early 2018 for a family member who is only in the area once a month. The expiry date on the passes was the end of 2018. The monthly rate was £80 so it made sense to buy the passes.

    A few days later we went to the health club to use the first pass & discovered that the facilities (jacuzzi, relaxing deck chair area etc), were closed "due to renovation work". They remained closed for the rest of the year.

    Once the refurbishment finished, we discovered to our horror they closed some of the facilities permanently. Obviously we wouldn't have paid for the passes had we been told that. A few weeks later, the entire club "closed until further notice due to a fire"-

    we asked for a refund, but the club refused.

    The reason we were given was "We have no paperwork to prove you bought the passes (apparently owning the physical passes isn't enough) and the member of staff who sold you the passes no longer works for us, so we can't ask her. The club has unfortunately experienced a fire and is closed for the forseeable future, until further notice. We can extend the expiry on your passes in case the club re-opens in the future, but we can't refund them. The fact that they're non-refundable is printed on the back of the passes."


    rom memory we bought around 40 passes at approx £6 each (approx £250), for use throughout the year. This was a significant reduction from the usual price of £25 each. We were lead to believe this was simply because of a special offer during the Christmas period.



    Can you confirm the timeline

    you bought the passes in early 2018

    A few days later some facilities were not available- still early 2018 - and were closed for the rest of the year.

    The club closed after a fire- when was this ?

    The offer for the passes was 'an offer during the Christmas period' but you bought in early 2018.

    If the new owners of the club did the refurbishment when did the ownership change?

    Could the staff member have sold you the passes after/ or knowing about the change of ownership ?

    The company have offered to extend the passes but not refund the purchase. As you have no proof of purchase how far can you pursue that?

    If it now owned by a chain is there not another club in the chain near you that you could use the passes at?
    • bobwilson
    • By bobwilson 20th May 19, 12:08 PM
    • 508 Posts
    • 156 Thanks
    bobwilson
    If it was a limited company then it won't have disappeared completely from Companies House - even dissolved companies are still listed. Was it a limited company? The legal name of the limited company might not resemble the trading name. It is possible that the new owners are now the owners of the old company and therefore could still be pursued.
    Originally posted by davidmcn
    Seems highly unlikely though. I could try to confirm it- how do you go about finding out the legal name if it wasn't the same as the name on the health club building? I've tried google to no avail.

    Given the amount of time I've spent on this already, it's very close to being not worth it even if legal action was possible (which apparently seems very unlikely).
    • bobwilson
    • By bobwilson 20th May 19, 12:15 PM
    • 508 Posts
    • 156 Thanks
    bobwilson
    Can you confirm the timeline

    you bought the passes in early 2018

    A few days later some facilities were not available- still early 2018 - and were closed for the rest of the year.

    The club closed after a fire- when was this ?

    The offer for the passes was 'an offer during the Christmas period' but you bought in early 2018.

    If the new owners of the club did the refurbishment when did the ownership change?

    Could the staff member have sold you the passes after/ or knowing about the change of ownership ?

    The company have offered to extend the passes but not refund the purchase. As you have no proof of purchase how far can you pursue that?

    If it now owned by a chain is there not another club in the chain near you that you could use the passes at?
    Originally posted by sheramber
    Received an email about club closing due to fire a week or so ago (shortly before starting this thread).

    I am given to understand the ownership changed shortly after we bought the passes (as in a week or so after)

    It's possible she sold us the passes knowing the club would be sold, but didn't realise they'd do refurbishment work preventing us from using it for the year.

    Extended passes are useless to us now since we don't live there anymore, and even if we did (which we won't), they have no intention of restoring the facilities we signed up for.

    There's no other club part of the chain anywhere near us now. They're all in only one city I believe.
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 20th May 19, 12:57 PM
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    davidmcn
    Seems highly unlikely though. I could try to confirm it- how do you go about finding out the legal name if it wasn't the same as the name on the health club building?
    Originally posted by bobwilson
    • Details on any correspondence, contracts etc you've had with them (or on those passes?)
    • Rating valuation roll
    • Planning or licensing applications on the council's website
    • News stories about the place opening/closing (or about the current owner's acquisition)
    • LinkedIn or other personal profiles for members of staff
    • Companies House details (accounts etc) for the current company if they refer to the acquisition.
    That sort of thing.

    Would be easier if you gave us some details - if you're convinced they no longer exist then who's going to sue you?
    • sheramber
    • By sheramber 20th May 19, 7:51 PM
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    sheramber
    When you look up the new company on Companies house you can click on the people involved.

    When you do that it gives you details of other directorships currently held or previously held.That would tell you if any of the directors have been involved with any other company.
    • bobwilson
    • By bobwilson 21st May 19, 1:13 AM
    • 508 Posts
    • 156 Thanks
    bobwilson
    • Details on any correspondence, contracts etc you've had with them (or on those passes?)
    • Rating valuation roll
    • Planning or licensing applications on the council's website
    • News stories about the place opening/closing (or about the current owner's acquisition)
    • LinkedIn or other personal profiles for members of staff
    • Companies House details (accounts etc) for the current company if they refer to the acquisition.
    That sort of thing.

    Would be easier if you gave us some details - if you're convinced they no longer exist then who's going to sue you?
    Originally posted by davidmcn
    My goodness, I don't know how to check most of these but I'll try

    I don't have any contracts- only the passes.

    The old company never made any planning applications.

    The only news article I found has said the entire hotel & health club both changed ownership.

    The staff told me it changed ownership completely.

    I don't know any staff members full names of the old company so can't check Linked in, and the current management seems unwilling to give any info on them.

    Latest accounts on companies house for the new company say "Group of companies' accounts made up to 31 December 2017" - before the purchase date of 2018. None the less, I checked the accounts & couldn't find any reference to buying the club, but then I'm no accounting expert.

    It's not really worth spending that much more time on this, I could work during this time to earn the money back instead of fighting a losing battle.

    Sometimes you have to pick your battles in life- and from experience, the law rarely protects people.
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