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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
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I need to know if this is legal: I started a roll on 1 month

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I need to know if this is legal: I started a roll on 1 month contract with a gym 6 months ago. I cancelled the direct debit in february as i no longer required their services. 6 months later I get a letter from them saying that I owe £200 (for services I have not used since I have not been in that gym for the last 5 months, and they are threatening to take legal action if it is not paid in the next 7 days.
JA: What state are you in? And is a local attorney or other consumer protection advocate helping with this?
Customer: Im in the UK
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: I have contacted the debt collection agency and have got a copy of the contract that was signed 6 months ago
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: what other information would they need?

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
perfect thank you

Have you checked the terms of the contract to see if you are liable for these?

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
can I send it you?

ok yes please you can attach on here

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Agreement administered on behalf of Wright Leisure Limited /as Xercise4Less by Harlands Services Ltd
HELPLINE – 01444 449 033 /***@******.*** / 2nd Floor Rockwood House, 9-17
Perrymount Road, Haywards Heath, RH16 3TW.
Registered in England No.(###) ###-####VAT Registration No. GB(###) ###-####70
PRINCIPLE TERMS
1. This agreement is between you and Wright Leisure Limited trading/as Xercise4Less. This agreement
commences once you have indicated your acceptance in the joining process. If you did not join on the clubs
premises you have 14 full days after joining (or 14 full days from when your chosen club opens, if you joined
during a pre-opening sales phase) to cancel this agreement for any reason. To exercise this right you must
inform Xercise4less by using the cancellation option in your Xercise4Less app or by visiting the Xercise4less
website and submitting a cancellation form.
If you exercise this right to cancel we (Harlands Services from Xercise4Less) will reimburse you all joining
and membership fee payments received from you. If you have used the service before requesting to cancel
then we (Xercise4Less) will reduce your membership fee refund by a pro rata amount equal to the number of
days from joining to the date cancellation was requested.
If you joined on our trade premises you have no legal entitlement to a cooling-off period.
2. Your membership starts immediately (or when your club opens in the case of a pre-sale membership).
3. You will be entitled to all the rights and privileges exercisable for the Type of Membership chosen.
Memberships are not transferable to another person or branch.
FEES AND CHARGES
4. The Direct Debit Payment Amount is due from you to us (Xercise4Less). You are obligated to make the
Minimum No. of Direct Debit Payments stated with the first one being paid on the 1st Direct Debit Payment
Date and then every month thereafter. You are obligated to make every Direct Debit Payment regardless of
non-attendance, except where the cancellation terms below (or under the Principal Terms) are met. You are
unable to amend the date of your Direct Debit payments.
5. If you fail to pay any monies due under this agreement or if any Direct Debit is returned unpaid or any cheque
is returned unpaid or if any other form of payment is not honoured for whatever reason, you shall pay us
(Harlands Services) on demand an administration fee of £25 (which we (Harlands Services) require to cover
our costs of seeking to pursue such payment from you).
6. You agree to advise us (Harlands Services or Xercise4Less) promptly of any change to your agreement
details that you provided upon joining.
7. If you fail to pay any amount due under this agreement for a period of more than thirty days, then we
(Harlands Services) may pass the debt to a third party company for collection. The reasonable and direct
costs incurred in employing the third party company will be borne by you including costs in tracing you if you
have changed your address without telling us (Harlands Services).
8. Once you have completed the Minimum No. Of Direct Debit Payments we (Harlands Services) will
automatically continue collecting Direct Debit Payments every month. Your membership will be extended by
one month for each payment (“Renewal Period”). This renewal Direct Debit payment amount may only be
amended if we (Harlands Services) advise you in writing giving not less than 30 days’ notice.
9. If you have fulfilled your commitment to the membership you have joined, you may prevent the Automatic
Renewal at any time by visiting the Xercise4less website and submitting an online cancellation form (you
should give us (Xercise4Less) not less than 30 days’ notice).
10. Harlands will manage and process the cancellation of your membership upon receipt of a properly submitted
cancellation request form either via the cancellation option in your Xercise4Less app or the Xercise4Less
website. Should your direct debit be cancelled at any time you may incur fees as a result of any missed
payments. If you wish to have confirmation of any amendments to your account at any stage please contact
the Harlands helpline on***@******.*** or by phone on 01444 449033.
11. CANCELLATION WITHIN CONTRACT
Relocation: This agreement can be cancelled in the event that your new permanent address is more than 15
miles away from any Xercise4less facility upon receipt of a copy of a utility bill or bank statement showing the
new address. Visit the Xercise4Less website and upload the relevant documents when you complete the
online cancellation form.
Long term (over 3 month) illness or injury: This agreement may be cancelled in the event of an illness, injury
or medical condition which in the written opinion of a doctor or other suitably qualified medical practitioner
prohibits exercise for 3 months or longer upon appropriate proof being provided. Visit either the Xercise4Less
app or the Xercise4Less website and upload the relevant documents when
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
you complete the online cancellation form.
Pregnancy: This agreement can be cancelled if you become pregnant upon the appropriate written proof
being given - Visit either the Xercise4Less app or the Xercise4Less website and upload the relevant
documents when you complete the online cancellation form.
Please note – ANY Cancellation for the above reasons will not be effected until the appropriate proof is
provided.
Only cancellations submitted online via the app or website will be accepted
Breach: This agreement can be cancelled if we (Xercise4Less) are in breach of contract including if we do not
provide facilities or services you may reasonably expect and we have fallen well below that standard.
12. FREEZING
You are able to freeze your membership for a continuous period of up to 3 months without charge, for any
reason. We will allow a maximum of 3 months frozen membership in any one calendar year.
Temporary Illness or Injury: This agreement may be frozen for a maximum of 3 months in addition to the
allowable 3-month freeze period as outlined above, in the event of a temporary illness, injury or medical
condition which in the written opinion of a doctor or other suitably qualified medical practitioner prohibits
exercise for a period of time
All freeze requests must be submitted either via your Xercise4Less app or the Xercise4Less website and will
not be effective until your request has been confirmed by Harlands Services Limited.
Once your freeze has been processed you will not have access to the facilities until the freeze period has come
to an end.
Please note – A freeze period does not affect the Minimum No. of Direct Debit Payments you are due to make
and any payments remaining at the time of the freeze will remain due and recommence on a monthly basis
once the freeze period has completed. (Freeze of payment must be submitted 14 working days before the
direct debit payment is due to be taken, if the submission is too close to the payment date the following
payment will be frozen).
Please note if your membership included the benefit of a free period then we (Harlands Services) will stop
making collections during that free period and recommence making collections on the renewal date.
13. GENERAL TERMS
The Monthly membership fee is due each month in full, upfront, in advance and with the exception of
cancellations under the principal terms, no partial refund of the monthly membership fee will be made unless
you are cancelling under cooling-off regulations detailed in Clause 1.
You agree to comply with the Rules of Membership which are displayed prominently in the Club and relate to
opening hours, use of facilities and your conduct. We (Xercise4Less) may make reasonable changes to these
Rules at any time provided we (Xercise4Less) give you reasonable advance notice of the change.
If we (Xercise4Less) take no action or let you off any breach of this agreement or give you extra time to pay or
comply, it will not stop us enforcing the terms of this agreement strictly at a future date.
We (Xercise4Less) will do our best to resolve any disputes over this agreement. If you wish to take court
proceedings against us (Xercise4Less) you must do so within the United Kingdom. Relevant UK law will
apply.
If any part of this agreement is disallowed or found to be ineffective by any court or regulator, the other
provisions shall continue to apply.
We (Xercise4Less) may terminate this agreement with immediate effect on notice to you if you are in breach
of the Clubs Rules (i.e. Stealing or other criminal activities within the facility). In this event you will not be
liable to pay any further Direct Debit Payments, provided such breach is not deemed by us (Xercise4Less) to
have occurred primarily in order to qualify you for a refund.
By ticking the relevant boxes during the sign-up process you are agreeing to the contractual agreement. You
will only be granted access to the facilities once you have

Did any of the conditions for cancellation under Clause 11 apply?

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
I live 28 miles away

Did you complete the online cancellation form and supply them with the required documents to prove that?

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
no, when I joined up to the gym I was not informed of this cancellation policy, only that I had been signed up to a 1 month contract
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
I was given the impression that I was only liable for 1 month

ok well you have the right to cancel the agreement if you had relocated more than 15 miles away from the club. Remind them of this condition and state that you will use it as your defence in the event that they make a claim. As you have a clear clause allowing for cancellation their claim would have no reasonable prospects of success and they will be wasting the court’s time, as well as yours. As a result you would then request the court to penalise them in costs for pursuing this weak claim. They cannot be prevented from claiming, but if they do you have the right to defend it, relying on this clause and also asking the court to consider a penalty if they pursued a claim that had no prospects of success but they did so anyway.

Does this answer your query?

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
almost
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
you are saying that if this clause was not in the contract, I would be liable for the costs, even though I was not informed of the cancellation policy, or informed that they were continuing to charge me for services I have not used until 6 months later, whereby a debt collection agency then informed me this, with their admin fees on top?

But it was in the contract was it not? I am just due in court so will reply this afternoon

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
it was in the contract yes. but there are many others, I had read up on this and there are a lot of people being charged ridiculous amounts for the same thing. Their circumstances are not exactly the same as mine, but jist of it is that they keep charging when they shouldnt, or that they slap a big bill months later without informing you of payments you 'owe' them until a substantial amount has been accrued. If this is not legal, I would like something to be done about it, if this is legal, I would like something to be done about it.

Hi there, many aspects of this would not be legal especially if they were covered under contract and go against their terms. You can report them to Trading Standards for alleged unfair consumer practices and they can investigate them and consider whether further enforcement action is necessary. Does this clarify things a bit more for you?

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
it does, thank you very much. I explained that I could cancel the contract under the aforementioned clause, and they have replied that I am within my rights to do so, but that I still owe £240.38 for being a member, because I wasnt paying for a service, I was paying for a membership.
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Attached are the two letters for reference. In the mean time I have filed a complaint with the FCA and attempted to file a case with the retail ADR but they said they could not help because the business in question had failed to cooperate with them in the past. What other steps can I take besides, as you have already mentioned, complaining to trading standards?

You have to let them take this forward and if they make a claim in court for the amount they are after, deal with it and hope the curt finds in your favour. They are usually quite fair

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
you are saying that I have done everything that I can and that I need to wait for them to push ahead?

For the time being and apart from going to TS, all you can do is continue negotiating with them and wait for them to take the formal steps. Without them claiming they simply cannot force you to pay anyway

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
ok thank you so much for all of your help and advice

All the best

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