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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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Hi, I am contacting you regarding a problem with my local

Resolved Question:

Hi,

I am contacting you regarding a problem with my local fitness centre.
I have had monthly membership for some months now.
Payment is by direct debit - £40 until the end of last year which got reduced to £35 in Jan.

I did not go to the fitness Centre not even once back in Dec & I went there only twice in Jan.
I couldn't use my membership card to be able to get a receipt to give to the class teacher in Jan.
I was informed there was a problem with the payment.

I checked my account statement and informed the Centre that the Jan payment had gone through in the beginning of the month like it is supposed to.
Then the receptionist finally told me that there was a problem with the Dec payment instead.

After checking my account statement for Dec it became apparent that the payment of £40 got automatically transferred from my account on the 5th of Dec but for some unknown reason it had bounced back to my account on the very same day. This was not due to insufficient funds in my account and my other direct debit payment had gone through on the very same day without it bouncing back.

I was not informed by the Centre at any point in Dec that this kind of error had occurred.
I found out around couple of weeks ago.

The trouble is the Centre is now forcing me to pay for the Dec membership to be able to continue being member even if the money bouncing back was beyond my control.
I suspect there’s been a problem in their account.

They also suspended my membership last week even if January payment went through OK on 6th of Jan.
I find their reaction unbelievable. How can they possibly suspend my membership when Jan was paid??
Also, I have never once refused to make the payment. I am happy with direct debit but how could I possibly take responsibility for the Dec error as I had enough money in my account and
I was not informed there and then.

I have told to the managers I want to continue being a member! but that I won’t be paying for the Dec now because the money bouncing back was beyond my control and I was not informed about this at a time.
Also, due to the fact I suffer from depression I did not manage to go and do any exercise in the fitness Centre in Dec.

But I made a good start in Jan and I do want to keep it up but now the Centre has suspended my membership and I won’t get it back unless I pay for Dec.
They have said they can refund the Jan membership which I think they definitely should do. I just really don’t want to lose my monthly membership!

Can you please advise are they really allowed to demand the Dec payment now even if it wasn't my fault and I wasn't informed about it back then,
or else I can no longer be a member?


Please help.

Many Thanks,
Miia
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 3 years ago.

Alex Watts : Hello my name is XXXXX XXXXX I will help you with this. Please note that I am a working Solicitor and may be on and offline as I have to attend Court and meet with clients, even at weekends. As such you may not get an instant response when you reply, but rest assured I will be giving your question my immediate attention upon return You do not need to wait here as you will get an email when I reply.
Alex Watts : In short though for whatever reason December has not been paid?
Alex Watts : Do their terms and conditions allow for membership to be suspended please?
Customer:

No Dec has not been paid.

Customer:

I do not know as I don't have a document about my membership. I did not realize to ask because it is paid by monthly so you can basically cancel it whenever.

Customer:

They are a charity not a chain

Alex Watts :

Ok. Its bad news then I am afriad.

Alex Watts :

If you failed to pay December then they can suspend your membership, even if it was not your fault.

Alex Watts :

This is because you owe them each month and it is your responsibility to make sure they get it.

Alex Watts :

This means even if it bounces back for whatever reason you should still ensure payment.

Alex Watts :

They can suspend membership because technically you are in arrears by 1 month.

Alex Watts :

So January would have paid December and so on.

Alex Watts :

They are allowed to demand December payment even though it was not your fault because of the reasons above.

Alex Watts :

I am sorry if this is not the answer you want and certainly not the one I want to give you, but I have a duty to be honest

Alex Watts :

You have a contract to pay monthly and if for whatever reason you do not, then sadly they can suspend.

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer:

but how about the fact they did not inform me in Dec? I was totally clueless. I could have checked it there and then had they informed me.

Alex Watts :

Yes I understand that - but it is still YOUR responsibility to check your Direct Debits every month to make sure they go out and stay out.

Alex Watts :

For this it is both parts, you and them

Alex Watts :

Does that help?

Customer:

as it the membership is currently cancelled (i told them I had taken direct debit off online so no more money will be transferred until this is sorted) & if i now start a 'new membership' is it likely that I am on their blacklist and will not get the monthly membership back unless I pay for Dec??

Customer:

so they should have checked their account too and inform me there and then??

Alex Watts :

Yes.

Alex Watts :

But you should also have checked yours

Alex Watts :

You can't blame them

Alex Watts :

They can't blame you

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything?

Customer:

so regardless i have to pay for Dec or no membership??

Customer:

should t they check with their bank to see what went wrong??

Alex Watts :

Yes. But so should you.

Alex Watts :

You are in arrears.

Alex Watts :

They should have checked, so should have you.

Customer:

I have been suffering from depression and I did not check my account more than once in Dec which was days before the 5th or many days after...I did not spot this and did not even realize to check the membership payment as I could not get out from the flat not even once to go and do some exercise.

Customer:

if i pay it now what can they do in return if it was an error from both sides???

Alex Watts :

Yes but you owed the month - you can't get away from that

Alex Watts :

They have offered January back

Alex Watts :

You can't expect more than that

Alex Watts :

You owe December.

Alex Watts :

It should have been paid - it was not

Alex Watts :

You are not entitled to compensation or a free period

Customer:

can you confirm i got this right? we are even in that I owe them for the Dec regardless but as they have promised to refund the Jan - I will not have to pay anything other than Feb membership as I want to continue. do they have to refund me or can they just cancel it and take money from me for Dec and that's it??

Alex Watts :

I think you will have to pay December as well

Customer:

does law really say that direct debit not going through is the fault of the person from who's account it is supposed to get automatically transferred ?

Customer:

this was beyond my control... does law not agree on that... really??

Alex Watts :

Yes but you were obliged by CONTRACT to pay it,

Alex Watts :

Whether or not it was your fault does not matter.

Alex Watts :

If you pay for car insurance monthly and for whatever reason it does not go out - you would be driving without insurance.

Customer:

but I dont even have the contract. Haven't they made a mistake on that too?

Alex Watts :

If you were stopped by the Police and said, I thought it went out - that would not be a defence.

Alex Watts :

No, a contract can be verbal or written.

Alex Watts :

The botXXXXX XXXXXne is you were contracted and agreed to pay x a month.

Alex Watts :

It failed in December.

Alex Watts :

You are liable for December.

Alex Watts :

They should have checked - you should have checked.

Customer:

I know...but verbal contracts are a lot harder to prove

Alex Watts :

But you are liable for December.

Customer:

they should have checked but regardless I have to pay and they don't have to do anything, right??

Alex Watts :

You have to pay December, yes

Alex Watts :

I am sorry as I know this is not the answer you want and certainly not the one I want to give you, but I have a duty to be honest

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer:

and they don't have to refund for Jan or anything

Alex Watts :

Technically no - but I would hope they would want to keep you as a customer.

Customer:

I understand and appreciate the honesty. but i cannot believe the fitness centre can get away with this and I have to pay almost 80 pounds all of a sudden

Customer:

can they refuse to give me membership in the future then because of this?

Alex Watts :

They could but unlikely.

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything?

Customer:

so if i just leave it as it is. no DEC payment no membership. but then start a new membership later on in year ?

Alex Watts :

You could yes.

Customer:

or should i just contact their chief executive and wait what happens

Alex Watts :

You can do that and see what happens yes.

Alex Watts :

They may take a commercial decision.

Alex Watts :

Does that help?

Customer:

what does that mean??

Alex Watts :

They may think it is better to keep you as a customer.

Customer:

sorry if im repeating myself but i want to be 100% clear about everything when i next contact them

Alex Watts :

Yes

Customer:

now they 'promised' to refund Jan - can I not say we are even in that case and just pay for this month immediately?

Alex Watts :

Yes you could.

Alex Watts :

And that would be a sensible way forward.

Alex Watts :

If this answers your question could I invite you leave feedback on my service which I hope has been excellent today, if you need more information or help then please click reply.


Please remember that I am always happy to help if you have future questions, even if I am in Court I can normally respond within a few hours. For future information, please start them with ‘For Alex W’.


 


Please bookmark my profile if you wish for future help: http://www.justanswer.co.uk/law/expert-alexwatts/

Customer:

Ok i have emailed to them.

Alex Watts :

Ok. Good luck with this.

Alex Watts :

Please remember to leave feedback before you go today

Customer:

one more thing about this website. I am a little bit confused....I agreed to 7 day free trial but I think the 33pounds was taken from my account before we started chatting. and now if I trade you excellent I wont be getting it back, right? I am just confused what that free trial applies to?

Alex Watts :

I am an expert, I am nothing to do with billing. I think once you rate you can email and cancel the free trial.

Customer:

was meant to put ok service.

Customer:

I'm sorry

Customer:

how could i change this

Alex Watts :

Ok - you should be able to click OK service now

Alex Watts :

Please try again - thanks

Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience: Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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