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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69368
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Hello, I am a member of a health club and my locker, which

Customer Question

Hello,

I am a member of a health club and my locker, which was locked was broken in to. valuables were stolen. It was reported to the police and i gave a statement. I do not have insurance and i have sought to claim for the loss from the health club. the health club have responded stating that the T&Cs that i signed up to accepted that items placed in lockers are done so at my own risk. it was acknowledged by the club manager that this is not an isolated incident and theft like this has happened in the recent past. i feel that there is a breach of duty of care from the club for not alerting its members of the recent thefts. I feel that i should have an entitlement to claim from the club or their insurers

i would appreciate your views.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Hi.

Thank you for your question. My name is Jo and I will try to help with this.

What was the value of the items that were stolen?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

a watch worth £3000 and approx £200 in cash

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I can attach the T&Cs if you would like to have a quick scan thru them?


 

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Thanks.

I cannot really give you good news.

If the terms and conditions that you were agreed to and presumably signed, when you join the club say that the club is not responsible for things left in the lockers, it is unlikely that any claim against the club would be successful.

However it is not black and white because whether that term is reasonable or not and therefore whether it would be something the club could rely on would depend on whether it passed the UCTA (unfair Contract Terms Act test of "reasonableness” as it is an attempt to reduce or remove liability.

The test is not definitive but takes into account things such as the bargaining power of the parties. It also takes into account whether it is possible to ensure for things such as the loss which is being excluded.

On the first, you have no bargaining power however on the second you were able to insure for this but for whatever reason I've you had no insurance or it did not cover these items. This is one of those where the judge would decide if it went to court.

What does not assist you is the fact that there is an exclusion in the terms and conditions that you agreed to and signed and that these lockers if they are normal changing room type lockers would not really be the best place to put a £3000 watch and hundreds of pounds in cash while at the gym.

It is also likely that you would be asked to provide a receipt for the watch and proof that you had so much cash with you for a visit to the health club.

If the health club steadfastly refused to pay up you will have no option but to take them to the Small Claims Court for the judge to decide the issue.

I think this one could go either way but I think it is possible that even if the judge did decide that the club had breached their duty of care, you were partly responsible for having such high value items in the locker in the first place I'm afraid.

I am sorry that this is partly bad news for you

Can I clarify anything for you?

Jo
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Jo,


 


Thank you for your reply. The T&Cs do not make specific reference to lockers this was something that the club said. From what i can see the T&Cs say that the client enters the club at there own risk, in the same sentence it asks to seek medical advice. it can be intreperted that this refers to health issues only.


 


I have the receipt for the watch, which i have forwarded to the police. at this point i am not worried about the cash


 


file://localhost/Users/shanemcgill/Desktop/20140325150545568.pdf


 


 

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
If there is no mention of valuables in their terms and conditions, it severely weakens their stance.

What also weakens their stands is that they are aware of this problem it seems but have done nothing about it!

Fortunately, you have the receipt for the watch and the matter has been reported to the police so they should be taking it more seriously.

If they will either not pay up or refer this to their insurance company, you have no option but to sue them in the Small Claims Court
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Okay, Thank you


 


One last thing. my membership is with an irish branch of this uk Health club chain. In the conditions under the Governing Law section. it states "that the agreement will be governed by Irish law, that the irish courts will deal with any claims or disagreements under the agreement".


 


i am presuming i will need to take my claim to the small claims court in Ireland even though the theft occured in the UK?


 


 

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
The short answer is yes. However I would issue proceedings in the Small Claims Court against the UK club and let them put in as a defence that it is the wrong jurisdiction.

It is worth trying because issuing proceedings in an Irish court for £3000 is not going to be particularly practical

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