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  • FIRST POST
    • storysoldier
    • By storysoldier 15th Feb 18, 10:53 AM
    • 12Posts
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    storysoldier
    Dating site trying to enforce auto renewal
    • #1
    • 15th Feb 18, 10:53 AM
    Dating site trying to enforce auto renewal 15th Feb 18 at 10:53 AM
    Hi,

    I signed up to Elite Singles on 4 Nov 2017 for 3 months for 134. Though expensive I thought I'd give it a try as it had been voted best dating site on a poll. It wasn't clear when I signed up that I couldn't run my own search. The site provides matches as per it's algorithms which wasn't satisfactory. I cancelled it on 3 Feb 2018 and stopped payments on Paypal, through which I'd paid.
    Then got emails saying that I had to pay as I had agreed to auto renewal, and hadn't cancelled within 7 days of the end of my initial term.
    I had not been sent any information on auto renewal. I didn't even get a payment receipt when I first paid. The only confirmation was through Paypal.
    Elite have now sent me a 'Final Warning' to pay the amount by 21 Feb or they may initiate legal proceedings.
    What do Forumites suggest?
    Thanks!
Page 1
    • AndyPix
    • By AndyPix 15th Feb 18, 11:01 AM
    • 4,428 Posts
    • 3,980 Thanks
    AndyPix
    • #2
    • 15th Feb 18, 11:01 AM
    • #2
    • 15th Feb 18, 11:01 AM
    9. AUTOMATIC RENEWAL

    9.1 We automatically renew all paid Memberships before the expiry of the term of the paid Membership (where permitted by applicable law). When you first subscribe for your paid Membership, you acknowledge that when your paid Membership expires it will automatically renew for the duration and at the cost indicated to you at your initial purchase. Where required by applicable law, the renewal date will be specified in a renewal notice provided to you. IF YOU DO NOT WANT YOUR PAID MEMBERSHIP TO AUTOMATICALLY RENEW, YOU MUST CANCEL YOUR PAID MEMBERSHIP IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROCESS SET OUT BELOW IN THESE TERMS & CONDITIONS.
    10. CANCELLATION AND WITHDRAWAL

    10.1 There are three ways of cancelling your Membership:
    10.1.1 Cancellation of free Membership !!!8211; you may cancel at any time (see Section 11);
    10.1.2 Cancellation of your paid Membership within the first 14 days by exercising your Right of Withdrawal (see Section 12);
    10.1.3 Cancellation of the automatic renewal of your paid Membership after the 14 day Right of Withdrawal period expires !!!8211; you may cancel automatic renewal at any time and enjoy our Services until the end of the paid term (see Section 13).
    Running with scissors since 1978
    • Caz3121
    • By Caz3121 15th Feb 18, 11:06 AM
    • 12,377 Posts
    • 8,066 Thanks
    Caz3121
    • #3
    • 15th Feb 18, 11:06 AM
    • #3
    • 15th Feb 18, 11:06 AM
    Then got emails saying that I had to pay as I had agreed to auto renewal, and hadn't cancelled within 7 days of the end of my initial term.
    I had not been sent any information on auto renewal.
    Originally posted by storysoldier
    Assuming you signed up online, section 9 of the T&Cs cover the auto renewal (you will have to have confirmed you accept the T&Cs to access)
    https://www.elitesingles.co.uk/terms
    The cancelling within 7 days of the end is covered in section 13

    How did you cancel?
    • storysoldier
    • By storysoldier 15th Feb 18, 11:07 AM
    • 12 Posts
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    storysoldier
    • #4
    • 15th Feb 18, 11:07 AM
    • #4
    • 15th Feb 18, 11:07 AM
    Paid membership within first 14 days- do you mean of the renewed term?

    Looked up a few points:

    Under the Distance Selling Regulations 2000, information on the term of the original contract, cancellation conditions and any additional payments should have been provided prior to the conclusion of the contract.

    As per guidance issued by the Competition and Markets Authority, a renewal can be treated as a new contract, if there is !!!8220;fresh content!!!8221; offered to the consumer by virtue of the renewal and/or where a new payment is made by the consumer.

    So the same !!!8220;14 day!!!8221; rule that applies to new contracts, would apply to renewals. Otherwise, it would be unfair contract terms.

    The guidance says - it is also good business practice for businesses to send reminders of renewals to its customers and to ensure that its customers have received a clear explanation of how the long contract is due to run and how it can be cancelled. Automatic renewals without sufficient reminders are likely to be regarded as unfair terms as are long notice periods or cancellation fees.
    • storysoldier
    • By storysoldier 15th Feb 18, 11:13 AM
    • 12 Posts
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    storysoldier
    • #5
    • 15th Feb 18, 11:13 AM
    • #5
    • 15th Feb 18, 11:13 AM
    Cancelled on the site. Yes, I must have ticked t&cs, but didn't know I couldn't cancel at the end of the term. Given the Competition & Markets Authority guidance, how would a court be likely to view it?

    I was on auto renewal for the Post Office Home insurance and they sent a reminder in time before the renewal was due.
    • DoaM
    • By DoaM 15th Feb 18, 11:53 AM
    • 7,890 Posts
    • 7,698 Thanks
    DoaM
    • #6
    • 15th Feb 18, 11:53 AM
    • #6
    • 15th Feb 18, 11:53 AM
    So did you follow what section 13 says when you cancelled? If yes then they have no rights to any auto-renewal; if no then they do.

    The fact an insurance company sends a reminder is because they premium is subject to change every year therefore they are obliged to do so ... if the fees for the dating site were also changing then they'd be equally liable to inform you; as the fees weren't changing they weren't obliged to advise you of the auto-renewal.
    Diary of a madman
    Walk the line again today
    Entries of confusion
    Dear diary, I'm here to stay
    • storysoldier
    • By storysoldier 15th Feb 18, 2:29 PM
    • 12 Posts
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    storysoldier
    • #7
    • 15th Feb 18, 2:29 PM
    • #7
    • 15th Feb 18, 2:29 PM
    The renewal amount is higher. Does that change anything?

    How common is it for companies to take consumers to court for a sum below 150?
    • storysoldier
    • By storysoldier 15th Feb 18, 2:32 PM
    • 12 Posts
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    storysoldier
    • #8
    • 15th Feb 18, 2:32 PM
    • #8
    • 15th Feb 18, 2:32 PM
    Does the guidance from the Competiton & Markets authority not apply?

    As it is a new payment, for new content it's a new contract. So why shouldn't there be the same 14 day cooling off period? Why won't that be a valid argument?
    • Fosterdog
    • By Fosterdog 15th Feb 18, 2:43 PM
    • 4,313 Posts
    • 7,513 Thanks
    Fosterdog
    • #9
    • 15th Feb 18, 2:43 PM
    • #9
    • 15th Feb 18, 2:43 PM
    Does the guidance from the Competiton & Markets authority not apply?

    As it is a new payment, for new content it's a new contract. So why shouldn't there be the same 14 day cooling off period? Why won't that be a valid argument?
    Originally posted by storysoldier
    It's not a new contract, it's an extension of an existing contract which you agreed to when you signed up, a cooling off period is to give you the opportunity to fully understand and agree to your contract and service, that doesn't alter after the initial period so you have had plenty of time to acquaint yourself fully with the contract and service. How does the amount differ? Were you at any point informed of the cost once the auto renew kicked in? Such as first three months at a special discount then x per quarter ongoing?
    • Les79
    • By Les79 15th Feb 18, 2:58 PM
    • 1,414 Posts
    • 1,566 Thanks
    Les79
    Paid membership within first 14 days- do you mean of the renewed term?

    Looked up a few points:

    Under the Distance Selling Regulations 2000, information on the term of the original contract, cancellation conditions and any additional payments should have been provided prior to the conclusion of the contract.

    As per guidance issued by the Competition and Markets Authority, a renewal can be treated as a new contract, if there is !!!8220;fresh content!!!8221; offered to the consumer by virtue of the renewal and/or where a new payment is made by the consumer.

    So the same !!!8220;14 day!!!8221; rule that applies to new contracts, would apply to renewals. Otherwise, it would be unfair contract terms.

    The guidance says - it is also good business practice for businesses to send reminders of renewals to its customers and to ensure that its customers have received a clear explanation of how the long contract is due to run and how it can be cancelled. Automatic renewals without sufficient reminders are likely to be regarded as unfair terms as are long notice periods or cancellation fees.
    Originally posted by storysoldier
    The Competiton & Markets authority - Well, I've never heard of that before now! Learn something new every day


    I have to say though but I think you'll be fine If you put in that much effort into instead finding love in real life I reckon you'll be a smash hit!
    • Moneyineptitude
    • By Moneyineptitude 15th Feb 18, 3:51 PM
    • 24,735 Posts
    • 14,270 Thanks
    Moneyineptitude
    How common is it for companies to take consumers to court for a sum below 150?
    Originally posted by storysoldier
    Are you hoping they'll simply write the debt off? That won't happen.
    • unholyangel
    • By unholyangel 15th Feb 18, 4:13 PM
    • 13,974 Posts
    • 11,225 Thanks
    unholyangel
    The renewal amount is higher. Does that change anything?

    How common is it for companies to take consumers to court for a sum below 150?
    Originally posted by storysoldier
    They technically can't increase the price without giving you the corresponding right to cancel without being affected by it.

    However that is based on the price actually increasing rather than (for example) a scenario where you had a introductory discount which doesn't apply on renewal.
    Money doesn't solve poverty.....it creates it.
    • storysoldier
    • By storysoldier 16th Feb 18, 9:08 AM
    • 12 Posts
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    storysoldier
    Fosterdog - they hadn't informed me about a price change at the time of renewal.
    They've now sent a PDF of what they say is the original email confirmation of the contract. I never got it.

    The original fee was an offer at 113. And it's 134 on renewal.

    Apropos of the not writing debt off, I had another experience of a parking fee wrongly issued. I'd paid the parking charge at an IBIS hotel. However was issued a parking charge of a hundred something pounds. All my efforts with the IBIS staff to communicate to the independent parking company met with no success. I kept getting collection letters which I ignored, because I had proof that I'd paid the parking in the first place. I was ready to dispute it if it went to court.
    Finally the letters stopped.
    That may not apply in this case, but just saying. Debts apparently do get written off.
    • Fosterdog
    • By Fosterdog 16th Feb 18, 9:31 AM
    • 4,313 Posts
    • 7,513 Thanks
    Fosterdog
    Your parking scenario is entirely different, you didn't actually owe them the debt, if it had gone to court you would have had the proof needed to get it dropped. In this case you do actually owe the debt so if it did go to court you would have no valid defence. Maybe the parking company realised their error and instead of writing to tell you and apologise they just chose to stop contacting you. They also get 6 years to chase you so if it was less than 6 years ago they could start chasing you again at any time. So you have not in fact had a debt written off.
    • Les79
    • By Les79 16th Feb 18, 10:03 PM
    • 1,414 Posts
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    Les79
    In this case you do actually owe the debt so if it did go to court you would have no valid defence.
    Originally posted by Fosterdog
    THAT BEING SAID, OP has raised two fairly clear points relating to:

    - Distance Selling Regulations 2000
    - Competition and Markets Authority

    The first a lot of people on here will be familiar with, but the second I doubt people will know as much (sounds like they dish out ADVICE rather than regulations).

    OP is more than entitled to present those points as their defense, and I wouldn't confidently rule out them being invalid defenses. OP would probably need to seek proper legal advice (at a cost) if they wish to explore this further.
    • Fosterdog
    • By Fosterdog 16th Feb 18, 10:16 PM
    • 4,313 Posts
    • 7,513 Thanks
    Fosterdog
    THAT BEING SAID, OP has raised two fairly clear points relating to:

    - Distance Selling Regulations 2000
    - Competition and Markets Authority

    The first a lot of people on here will be familiar with, but the second I doubt people will know as much (sounds like they dish out ADVICE rather than regulations).

    OP is more than entitled to present those points as their defense, and I wouldn't confidently rule out them being invalid defenses. OP would probably need to seek proper legal advice (at a cost) if they wish to explore this further.
    Originally posted by Les79
    Of course they could be entered as a defence but they would be laughed out of court considering the Distance Selling Regulations 2000 are no longer in force and haven't been for the last five years. They were replaced by the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013, even then that would only give additional rights to the cancellation terms on the initial contract and not on a renewal.

    The competitions and markets authority deals with the fairness and legality of competitions and auctions not dating sites and renewals of contracts. Plain and simply both acts quoted are irrelevant to the situation so would not be the basis of a good defence.
    • Les79
    • By Les79 16th Feb 18, 10:27 PM
    • 1,414 Posts
    • 1,566 Thanks
    Les79
    Of course they could be entered as a defence but they would be laughed out of court considering the Distance Selling Regulations 2000 are no longer in force and haven't been for the last five years. They were replaced by the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013, even then that would only give additional rights to the cancellation terms on the initial contract and not on a renewal.

    The competitions and markets authority deals with the fairness and legality of competitions and auctions not dating sites and renewals of contracts. Plain and simply both acts quoted are irrelevant to the situation so would not be the basis of a good defence.
    Originally posted by Fosterdog
    Ah! I feel you may have saved OP a few quid there
    • storysoldier
    • By storysoldier 17th Feb 18, 1:45 PM
    • 12 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    storysoldier
    Thanks, everyone! I looked at both sides of the argument - calling their bluff and paying it. In spite of some solid arguments here about Elite chasing down the payment, I have my doubts. If I win the lottery, I'll take a chance on an auto-renewal contract to see what happens if I decide to cancel.

    I decided to pay on this occasion and have learnt my lesson. It's one of the few times I've fallen foul of cancelling in time on anything. From next time on, I will have an eagle eye on cancellations.
    • KeithP
    • By KeithP 17th Feb 18, 6:37 PM
    • 17,813 Posts
    • 21,660 Thanks
    KeithP
    The competitions and markets authority deals with the fairness and legality of competitions and auctions not dating sites and renewals of contracts.
    Originally posted by Fosterdog
    What??

    "The CMA deals with the fairness of competitions and auctions"?

    Whilst they may do that, although they don't mention it on their website, that is nowhere near the limit of their mandate.

    I'll not list them here, but you might want to read the CMA's 'about us' page for a more inclusive list of their goals and responsibilities.
    .
    • Fosterdog
    • By Fosterdog 17th Feb 18, 7:39 PM
    • 4,313 Posts
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    Fosterdog
    What??

    "The CMA deals with the fairness of competitions and auctions"?

    Whilst they may do that, although they don't mention it on their website, that is nowhere near the limit of their mandate.

    I'll not list them here, but you might want to read the CMA's 'about us' page for a more inclusive list of their goals and responsibilities.
    Originally posted by KeithP
    Yeah, sorry about that I don't know why but when I read the competitions part and my brain automatically went to the wrong type of competition and it was the Gambling Act I was thinking of controlling that, which obviously would cover competitions but not business competition.
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