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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
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I had a gym membership, which was charged by standing order,

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I had a gym membership, which was charged by standing order, monthly. The contract requires payment in advance as well as a months notice for cancelation after the full term of the contract has concluded. The gym was quiet unusual in that the only access is by an electronic key fob which unlocked and allowed you to pass 2 separate doors, so as to gain access to the gym. If a monthly payment was missed, after the month of prepayment was spent, your key would stop working and you would be left unable to access the gym, until you had fixed your billing issue. So basically if you hadn't paid for the time you were denied access. Access was only available when your membership was fully paid up.
This was all fine. However when I came to the end of my contract and cancelled my membership I told a member of staff and cancelled my standing order. Which, considering I was now on a rolling monthly contract, I assumed would be fine. Apparently I had to give 1 month notice by email, so as to cancel my contract. Now, today, because of the confusion They are trying to chase me for 3 months arrears of membership. My question is:
Doesn't the fact that they did not provide a service and refused me access to the gym after I stopped my standing order stop them from being able to oblige me to pay fees? As they are effectively trying to charge me for a service which was not rendered.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Ben Jones :

Have they justified why they are chasing you for 3 months' worth of arrears rather than the one, which was your notice period to terminate?

Customer:

Basically I stopped my standing order, they stopped providing the service and then they did not contact me for 2 months, at which point, when they did contact me, I re-iterated that I had told a member of staff and cancelled my standing order and so I beleived I had cancelled. In addition I hadn't been to the gym and hadn't been receiving access because I hadn't paid. They said that I hadn't given proper notice and that it had to be by email, despite me literally telling the girl on the phone I wanted to cancel. So after they had called me I had to send an email to cancel but they still want me to pay for the months before the email notification takes effect. i.e. the months between which I stopped my standing order, up to when I emailed and for an additional month after the email. The additional month is because the contract says they need 1 months notice.

Ben Jones :

You do have an argument to challenge the request to pay for 3 months and the most you should be paying for is the month’s notice which it is alleged you did not give. This is in effect a breach of contract claim, where the gym can only pursue you for actual losses incurred as a result of your breach. You may not have followed the exact steps for issuing notice but you did notify them in some way that you were planning on leaving and you also cancelled your standing order with them. Charging you for more than what they have lost would be a penalty clause and be unlawful. In effect their argument would allow them to sue anyone who has tried to cancel and stopped their payments an ongoing monthly fee for the whole time until they either give proper notice or agree to pay, so it is unlikely to be lawful that they can charge an ongoing monthly fee when the person is not using their services. Had you cancelled the standing order partway through the initial fixed term then it would have been possible for them to pursue you for the fees that would have covered the remainder of that period as you would have been tied in. But once your initial fixed term expires and you enter a rolling contract period, you can cancel with a month’s notice so all they should be pursuing you for is the lack of giving the required notice, which would be just a month’s worth of fees.

Customer:

Thank you so much for the advice. I thought it seemed unfair. You really have lifted a weight of my mind abd have been really helpfull. Cheers!!

Ben Jones :

You are most welcome. Please take a second to leave a positive rating for the advice I have provided as that is an important part of our process. Thank you and feel free to bookmark my profile for future help:



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Customer:

Cheers!

Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 45360
Experience: Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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