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    • camsoft
    • By camsoft 11th May 18, 12:46 PM
    • 23Posts
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    camsoft
    Cancellation fee question?
    • #1
    • 11th May 18, 12:46 PM
    Cancellation fee question? 11th May 18 at 12:46 PM
    Hello, hope someone can help me understand my rights regarding the following matter.

    We joined a local baby swimming group and paid for a season up-front by debit card. My wife's card number recently changed due to getting a new card issued. The swimming group contacted us recently as they we're unable to charge our card, my wife questioned why they would be attempting to charge our card again and was told it's in their T&Cs that in the middle of the current season they auto-renewal for the next season in their words "to give existing members a priority". Apparently we have to inform them by some arbitrary deadline (in middle of current season) if we don't want to continue.

    We told them that we don't want to continue and they re saying that we'll need to pay a £50 administration fee as per their T&Cs.

    From my point of view a £50 fee is completely unacceptable as we've not actually paid them for another season, no money has been taken for the reasons mentioned above.

    Having now checked the T&Cs it does waffle on quite a lot about auto-renewing and deadline to cancel auto-renewal and refund and cancellation policies.

    None of this was made clear to us when we joined, though we did get an email before the cancellation deadline but was unfortunately miss placed by my wife.

    It's seems odd that paying up-front by card, would allow them to keep our card details on file just to bill us again when they would like.

    Clearly according to their terms we're are in the wrong, but I feel their terms weren't made clear to as when we booked, I also don't feel their £50 is a fair amount.

    I question if I have to pay it at all, as I've not paid them for another year as they are unable to charge the card. So am I still in a legally binding contract, we paid for a season, we've not paid for another even though they want us to.

    Where do I stand on this?
Page 1
    • unholyangel
    • By unholyangel 11th May 18, 2:33 PM
    • 12,785 Posts
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    unholyangel
    • #2
    • 11th May 18, 2:33 PM
    • #2
    • 11th May 18, 2:33 PM
    When did you enter the contract, how (face to face? online?), did they provide you with a copy of the T&C's and if they did, when and in what format (email, paper etc)?

    ETA: Also, what does the cancellation clause state with regards to cancelling and how/when to cancel? You say it would require you to cancel in the middle of the season...can you give an example of exact time frames? For example season starts March, ends September, required to cancel by July for a season not beginning until October.
    Last edited by unholyangel; 11-05-2018 at 2:38 PM.
    Money doesn't solve poverty.....it creates it.
    • LilElvis
    • By LilElvis 11th May 18, 2:59 PM
    • 3,822 Posts
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    LilElvis
    • #3
    • 11th May 18, 2:59 PM
    • #3
    • 11th May 18, 2:59 PM
    When did you enter the contract, how (face to face? online?), did they provide you with a copy of the T&C's and if they did, when and in what format (email, paper etc)?

    ETA: Also, what does the cancellation clause state with regards to cancelling and how/when to cancel? You say it would require you to cancel in the middle of the season...can you give an example of exact time frames? For example season starts March, ends September, required to cancel by July for a season not beginning until October.
    Originally posted by unholyangel
    Sounds like Water Babies. Terms are August-October, November-January, February -April and May-July and, yes, enrolment for the next session was done half way through the current one with email reminders (which the OP received). I was given a big started pack complete with T&Cs when I joined and I do recall there being an admin fee if you didn't cancel in the given timeframe as they would then have difficulty in rejigging the classes which are already quite small. I believe they are run as franchises. Best £2k+ we spent, though it took us 140 lessons and over 4 years for our daughter to "get it". Swims like a fish now and will spend all day in water if we let her!
    • camsoft
    • By camsoft 11th May 18, 3:25 PM
    • 23 Posts
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    camsoft
    • #4
    • 11th May 18, 3:25 PM
    • #4
    • 11th May 18, 3:25 PM
    Sounds like Water Babies. Terms are August-October, November-January, February -April and May-July and, yes, enrolment for the next session was done half way through the current one with email reminders (which the OP received). I was given a big started pack complete with T&Cs when I joined and I do recall there being an admin fee if you didn't cancel in the given timeframe as they would then have difficulty in rejigging the classes which are already quite small. I believe they are run as franchises. Best £2k+ we spent, though it took us 140 lessons and over 4 years for our daughter to "get it". Swims like a fish now and will spend all day in water if we let her!
    Originally posted by LilElvis
    Yep I don't have an issue with the lessons they are very good if a little pricey. But I do object to a cancellation fee of £50 when no money has changed hands.

    My question was more around if I've not paid them for another season regardless of their T&Cs am I legally bound to pay them a cancellation fee?

    How have I entered into another contract if I've not actually paid them for another season.
    • Fosterdog
    • By Fosterdog 11th May 18, 3:42 PM
    • 3,991 Posts
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    Fosterdog
    • #5
    • 11th May 18, 3:42 PM
    • #5
    • 11th May 18, 3:42 PM
    Yep I don't have an issue with the lessons they are very good if a little pricey. But I do object to a cancellation fee of £50 when no money has changed hands.

    My question was more around if I've not paid them for another season regardless of their T&Cs am I legally bound to pay them a cancellation fee?

    How have I entered into another contract if I've not actually paid them for another season.
    Originally posted by camsoft
    You have entered a renewal of an existing contract rather than an entirely new contract. If their T&Cs are watertight then yes you owe them the money and you are lucky that they allow cancellations at all, they could (if they can't fill your space) seek payment for the entire amount, the fact they only choose to charge an admin fee and allow you to get out of your legally binding contract early is a good thing and £50 is a bargain price for that. You don't have to pay but be prepared for them to pass it on to debt collectors or to take the claim to court where they would win as they have proof you owe the money by way of a signed contract, you have no defence to that. This route could also rack up additional charges.

    The easiest route is to pay the £50 and in future actually read what you are signing up for.
    • camsoft
    • By camsoft 11th May 18, 3:54 PM
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    camsoft
    • #6
    • 11th May 18, 3:54 PM
    • #6
    • 11th May 18, 3:54 PM
    You have entered a renewal of an existing contract rather than an entirely new contract. If their T&Cs are watertight then yes you owe them the money and you are lucky that they allow cancellations at all, they could (if they can't fill your space) seek payment for the entire amount, the fact they only choose to charge an admin fee and allow you to get out of your legally binding contract early is a good thing and £50 is a bargain price for that. You don't have to pay but be prepared for them to pass it on to debt collectors or to take the claim to court where they would win as they have proof you owe the money by way of a signed contract, you have no defence to that. This route could also rack up additional charges.

    The easiest route is to pay the £50 and in future actually read what you are signing up for.
    Originally posted by Fosterdog
    I wasn't looking for the patronisation I was looking for advice regarding their demand for a arbitrary "administration" fee. Legal contracts are only as legal a framework of law they are based in. I know from the history of bank charges that the banks T&Cs were not particularly water tight regarding what constitutes a reasonable fee?

    £50 fee and the stealth tactics to get us to renewal to me seem a little off. It wasn't clear when we booked otherwise we would not be having this conversation.

    At the same time who reads T&Cs, this element of their conditions should have been clearer and more explicit.
    • camsoft
    • By camsoft 11th May 18, 4:03 PM
    • 23 Posts
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    camsoft
    • #7
    • 11th May 18, 4:03 PM
    • #7
    • 11th May 18, 4:03 PM
    So after speaking to my wife she booked over the phone and is adamant that they did not mention anything about auto-renwal, they just told her to expect a pack in the post.
    • unholyangel
    • By unholyangel 11th May 18, 4:21 PM
    • 12,785 Posts
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    unholyangel
    • #8
    • 11th May 18, 4:21 PM
    • #8
    • 11th May 18, 4:21 PM
    So when did you enter the contract, when did the lessons start and when did you receive the pack? What did the pack contain? Did they inform you of all this information in accordance with this section of the CCRs (and did they do it before you were bound by the contract)?
    Money doesn't solve poverty.....it creates it.
    • LilElvis
    • By LilElvis 11th May 18, 4:40 PM
    • 3,822 Posts
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    LilElvis
    • #9
    • 11th May 18, 4:40 PM
    • #9
    • 11th May 18, 4:40 PM
    I wasn't looking for the patronisation I was looking for advice regarding their demand for a arbitrary "administration" fee. Legal contracts are only as legal a framework of law they are based in. I know from the history of bank charges that the banks T&Cs were not particularly water tight regarding what constitutes a reasonable fee?

    £50 fee and the stealth tactics to get us to renewal to me seem a little off. It wasn't clear when we booked otherwise we would not be having this conversation.

    At the same time who reads T&Cs, this element of their conditions should have been clearer and more explicit.
    Originally posted by camsoft
    People who don't want to fall foul of cancellation charges read them.

    Did your wife receive the pack in the post? It's a big, glossy folder with the terms, information about the underwater photography, brochure for the happy nappies and swim aids etc.
    • camsoft
    • By camsoft 11th May 18, 4:44 PM
    • 23 Posts
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    camsoft
    People who don't want to fall foul of cancellation charges read them.

    Did your wife receive the pack in the post? It's a big, glossy folder with the terms, information about the underwater photography, brochure for the happy nappies and swim aids etc.
    Originally posted by LilElvis
    Yes she did receive the pack but didn't read the terms and conditions. Who does? Do you read every T&C for everything you've entered into a contract for. They had taken the money before telling us of the terms of the contract.
    • LilElvis
    • By LilElvis 11th May 18, 4:54 PM
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    LilElvis
    Yes she did receive the pack but didn't read the terms and conditions. Who does? Do you read every T&C for everything you've entered into a contract for. They had taken the money before telling us of the terms of the contract.
    Originally posted by camsoft
    Well I clearly did read them as I managed to cease our classes without incurring a charge. I've looked at my old emails and the reminder email I received for rebooking clearly restated the cancellation procedure, prompted you to call them if your card details had changed, gave the dates by which action had to be taken, the admin fee payable if you didn't cancel by that date and the date on which the renewal payment would be taken.
    • camsoft
    • By camsoft 11th May 18, 5:21 PM
    • 23 Posts
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    camsoft
    Well I clearly did read them as I managed to cease our classes without incurring a charge. I've looked at my old emails and the reminder email I received for rebooking clearly restated the cancellation procedure, prompted you to call them if your card details had changed, gave the dates by which action had to be taken, the admin fee payable if you didn't cancel by that date and the date on which the renewal payment would be taken.
    Originally posted by LilElvis
    Doesn't really change anything, there are rules about being upfront and clear regarding entering into a contract. What do you think this PPI stuff is all about. You make it sound like all contracts are water tight, which clearly is not the case.

    As I said I want to know if I have grounds based on the information I've given to refuse payment.
    • LilElvis
    • By LilElvis 11th May 18, 5:24 PM
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    LilElvis
    Doesn't really change anything, there are rules about being upfront and clear regarding entering into a contract. What do you think this PPI stuff is all about. You make it sound like all contracts are water tight, which clearly is not the case.

    As I said I want to know if I have grounds based on the information I've given to refuse payment.
    Originally posted by camsoft
    You still need to respond to the questions asked by unholyangel in post #8
    • Aylesbury Duck
    • By Aylesbury Duck 11th May 18, 8:28 PM
    • 2,315 Posts
    • 3,137 Thanks
    Aylesbury Duck
    Yes she did receive the pack but didn't read the terms and conditions. Who does? Do you read every T&C for everything you've entered into a contract for.
    Originally posted by camsoft
    Oh for goodness' sake that is pathetic, take some responsibility. You didn't read something you should have done and it's come back to bite you. Your risk, your choice, your consequences.
    Please forgive the deliberate omission of apostrophes on some posts whilst I await MSE to do something about the daft codes that appear in their place when typing on certain devices.
    • Svein Forkbeard
    • By Svein Forkbeard 12th May 18, 7:31 AM
    • 485 Posts
    • 1,114 Thanks
    Svein Forkbeard
    So to clarify:-

    You didn't bother reading the T&Cs which were sent to you and you ignored the reminder email.

    Don't fancy your chances should they elect to take you to court.
    Hi, we’ve had to remove your signature. If you’re not sure why please read the forum rules or email the forum team if you’re still unsure - MSE ForumTeam
    • Les79
    • By Les79 12th May 18, 9:43 AM
    • 437 Posts
    • 541 Thanks
    Les79
    I wasn't looking for the patronisation I was looking for advice regarding their demand for a arbitrary "administration" fee. Legal contracts are only as legal a framework of law they are based in. I know from the history of bank charges that the banks T&Cs were not particularly water tight regarding what constitutes a reasonable fee?

    £50 fee and the stealth tactics to get us to renewal to me seem a little off. It wasn't clear when we booked otherwise we would not be having this conversation.

    At the same time who reads T&Cs, this element of their conditions should have been clearer and more explicit.
    Originally posted by camsoft
    Sadly, it is hard not to come across as "patronising" when you have to explain to a grown adult how to check what they are signing and the reasons why this is important.

    That being said, *maybe* you have a case with the fee being excessive or an argument that the company could have mitigated their losses. That being said, they've assumed that you were renewing so have turned away quite a bit of business already; I certainly don't blame them for charging you a nominal fee in relation to that (and £50 may be nominal enough) because they have almost certainly suffered losses due to your breach of contract.

    Ultimately, you'll probably need a solicitor/CAB advice on this one.
    • sheramber
    • By sheramber 12th May 18, 11:31 AM
    • 5,229 Posts
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    sheramber
    If you want a legal answer then pay a solicitor to give you one.

    They have asked for a £50 cancellation fee rather than holding you to paying for another session.

    Yes, I do read the terms and conditions before I sign up for something.
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