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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71154
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I cancelled my gym membership by post because I had not used

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I cancelled my gym membership by post because I had not used it in over a year. I have now received a letter from a debt collection agency informing me that because I had not sent the letter via recorded delivery (the gym had not received it according to them) I am still obliged to pay them! They are threatening county court action (the monthly amount I paid was £40 which was £28 for myself and £12 for my daughter). They are claiming an amount of £71 - one month payment plus £15 admin fee which doesn't add up anyway. I kept a copy of my original letter to them, dated 13th June 2014. Can I contest this?
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Were you locked into a contract with them please?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The contract was on a monthly basis - one months notice required. The last payment made was on 1st July 2014 after I had sent cancellation letter of 13th June 2014.

Is it a month from the payment date or just one calendar month?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I assume it is a month from payment date - I paid monthly up front

Ok. But what does the contract say on that point? Or do you just not know?
Not that it is the point they are raising but that could change.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I don't know. I simply filled in an online application (strange that you can apply online but not cancel?). The contract as far as I can remember is that you have to give a full months notice in writing, which is what I did. Their line is that they did not receive my letter of cancellation so are claiming a further months membership fee from me, which now includes a £15 admin charge and as far as I can make out they are claiming £28 each for both myself and my daughter. My daughter was a minor at the time of joining so her membership was £12 and not £28

The fact that she was a minor isn't an issue here because the contract is with you and you are an adult.
If this comes down to a dispute over whether you sent the notice in time though then probably you would win on that point. They are very unlikely to sue over a sum under £100. Its not worth the manpower. If they do though then you can always give oral evidence of your recollection of when you posted it and the Court probably would accept it unless you are wildly incredible.
They cannot just levy admin charges that do not cover their losses anyway.
To contest this you just refuse to pay and invite them to sue. They will send you many more threatening letters though.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

They say that they have papers prepared to send to court (which will then include solicitors fees, interest and the court fee!). I will verbally contest it and thank you for clarifying that common sense should come down in my favour. I have a copy of my letter in any case, although the girl I spoke to on the telephone told me that this would not be accepted as I could have typed it at any time! Thank you for your time.

All you have received is a debt collection letter threatening fire and brimstone. That has no legal status.
Don't worry about what the girl on the telephone says. You don't end up working as a receptionist for a debt collection firm because you were an intellectual giant.
You only have to show that it is more likely than not that you did send it and if you have a copy that is helpful.
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