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Fitness First cancellation policy complaint

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I joined Fitness First and was told that my gym membership would be for a minimum of 3 months.  At the time I was advised that to cancel, I had to give at least one month's notice.

Well I tried to go to the gym regularly, but in the end had to give up.  I just do not have the required levels of motivation and I have in fact lost more weight since just by running round the block!

Anyway, I posted a letter dated January 6th and I also sent them a copy of the letter on the same day as an email attachment.  I've just received a letter from Fitness First today (February 16th) querying the cancellation of my direct debit mandate because my membership is 'still active'.

Fitness First cancellation policy could have been clearer I telephoned Fitness First and was told that - contrary to what I was told verbally when signing up, the actual notice period required was a ‘calendar month’.  So effectively the month’s notice only kicked in from the 1st February and that meant that I therefore still owed a fee for the whole of that month!

What a greedy, money-grabbing, unclear cancellation policy that is!  It has just confirmed my impression of the company as one seeking to 'maximise profit and minimise input', including poor customer service and an unclear explanation of membership terms and conditions.  I am fed-up with being the 'victim' with these big, faceless, greedy companies.

By: Alaneroberts


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Paul1985

Guys, I am a ff member. I am a migrant from mainland China. To be fair to say, until the time I called ff to cancell membership, the staff there were quite friendly, and the pools are good.
But ff's 4 weeks cancellation policy, which I was not loudly told when joined it, I believe from my legal knowledge, most probably, it should be seen as illegal against consumer law. Especially when a member is even not on a long term contract. I personally was paying the higher rate by direct debit every two weeks as I was told I could cancell anytime.
I remember, a few years ago, a similar case in China ended up with the defeat of a gym, as the judge ruled, generally gym should not charge consumers for days not used, and a tiny print on contract when emphasizing the 4 weeks notice period is misleading and hence invalid. This was in in China. I was satisfied with almost all things in Australia in regards to law. But this 4 week notice policy does make me believe ff is not doing things properly as i thought it would this time.
My email paulho333@hotmail.com
This is the first post I did online in life. Funny!
5th Sep 12 03:09

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Stalag 14

jobby...'It's political correctness gone mad!' The war cry of the thwarted bigot

Not so, just that some of us don't see offence in every remark, unlike the Loony Left Guardian reading, sandal creeps.
When school children are given a record, because of an innocent remark, that happens to be overheard by one of the aforementioned you know the world has gone mad.
23rd May 12 07:05

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Greg Jones

FF are flat out liars. They said they had WI
FI, no cost, at Tysons....a complete lie. They said they had towel service for free....well after 2 weeks they took that away. They say you are guaranteed satisfaction, and yet, they won't even refund my pre-paid last month's fee.

What a rip - off? Do yourself a favor beforehand, don't even think about joining that so called club...what a den of liars and thieves.......terrible.
22nd May 12 03:05

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Kenny (Site Admin)

miserablemoaninggit - temporary situation there. New site will allow you to page through old comments. Yes I know, where is it then?? It's nearly there - still testing!
20th Jun 11 06:06

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miserablemoaninggit

I notice that it is now not possible to see the 'older' comments. I suspect this may be for reasons of 'space', so to speak, but it would have been nice to be kept informed. This seems to apply to the other gripes also.
20th Jun 11 06:06

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Big Ron

I work for them and yes it's all about the $$. Think about it, there are nearly 350000 members in australia, and the company has a membership attrition of 47% per year so basically every 2 years they have lost every single member and replaced them again. If each can have their membership drawn out an extra week that's an extra $25.00 (average weekly membership) x 350000!! That's alot of extra coin in their pockets. Go to a small local gym or an Anytime Fitness, they are franchised so the owners do what's right by the member and don't just screw em over...
20th Jun 11 01:06

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Jaime

That's what happend to me too. I make a cancellation on 22 of April but more than 20times call I made and wrote a letter of complaint then only the person in charge called me back and make a cancellation on May 13th and mean I have to pay up till 30 of the June. It's really money-grabbing.
13th May 11 02:05

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miserablemoaninggit

Fitness First are basically in the gutter of the 'gym street', so to speak. Judging by many of the comments on this gripe, a nasty head office staff who have been trained to essentially be fraudulent in order to obtain money from people, including setting up direct debits without permission, giving out misleading information, and ultimately setting out contract conditions that are simply designed to 'milk money' from customers, rather than setting out a business where the customers come first, and there is genuine regard for their welfare. There is clearly a disconnect between the way the contracts are presented in the gym and the actual conditions that are set out in the small print. Yes, it is the responsibility of the customer to read the small print, I accept that. However, joining a gym can be a difficult decision, and the way the gym initially shows a great interest and, indeed, 'human warmth' in their potential customer can be very disarming. Of course, once joined, Fitness First has very little interest in them except in maintaining a steady stream of revenue; unfortunately, they do not equate maintaining this stream with good facilities, good customer service or basic regard for the well-being of their customer base. A disgusting business, to say the least!
19th Apr 11 10:04

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Anon

Fitness first use every dodge lie untruth half lie,on holiday,left early,just left,who did u speak to,I really want to help,change the person u speak to,sweet talk,head office this,head office that,I will call you back,not back,not in,left message,cal back,on holiday,not back from holiday,say one thing & do/say something to keep u on hold.
18th Apr 11 11:04

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grumpyoldwoman

Well I suspect that MikeP just took the opportunity to have a joke about the word "golly", which we all know has two meanings.
16th Feb 11 06:02

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different anon

Grumpy old woman, you might have realised but Mike clearly didn't or he would not have made the remark about gollies and political correctness.

There should be no embarassment involved in simply not knowing something.
15th Feb 11 05:02

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grumpyoldwoman

Anon, I think we all realised that; Margarette was trying to be polite.
15th Feb 11 10:02

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Anon

OMG is text speak for oh my god, not golly. Someone was having a joke with you
15th Feb 11 10:02

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grumpyoldwoman

OMG is nearly as annoying as LOL; however the latter is more annoying because, as far as I can tell, it has two distinct meanings and assuming the wrong one can lead to disaster!

Incidentally I had one of the unmentionable toys beginning with "g", and a badge from tokens saved from the backs of jam jars. To me it was just a funny character, like my teddy bear.
15th Feb 11 09:02

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MikeP

Thanks. I suppose people use the abbreviation because 'golly' has been banned from use due to its connotations of 'gollywog' as in the adverts for marmalade and jam before PC fluffies ruled the country.

http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/01290/gollywog_1290023a.jpg
15th Feb 11 09:02

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Margarette N.

OMG means Oh My Golly.

Should you pay for something you cannot use?
15th Feb 11 08:02

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Margarette N.

The ques is: Will you pay them even if you do not make use of their service anymore?
15th Feb 11 08:02

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MikeP

"OMG. Same thing happened to me"

Can I ask again what OMG means, it keeps appearing in comments?
15th Feb 11 08:02

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PreyPhil

OMG. Same thing happened to me. I am enrolled for four months and it should end this January 2011. But...to my surprise, they're still charging me this month, Feb...until March because of the effin "calendar month" policy. They should have given us a notice if we should continue or not. If they are really confident of their service, they wouldn't be afraid to remind/call or at least properly notify their clients, esp their new members. RIght? It is a company tactic. I am so mad about this.
15th Feb 11 08:02

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Merjo9

Well you seem to be lucky enough to only pay for 1 extra month. We were promised to get signed up to a 4 months contract and when we wanted to quit they told us it is actually a 1 year contract. So they lied to us and there is no way to cancel it.
Customer service is awful.
3rd Feb 11 01:02

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alaneroberts

Tom, if you haven't signed the contract, then forgot about it. Just keep a close check on your bank account to ensure that they do not set up another direct debit. Don't communicate by telephone - absolutely pointless!
Andy - exactly the point of my original gripe. 'Shysters' is putting it mildly.
14th Dec 10 02:12

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Andy Fuller

I just read my Terms and it say's, "3.6 You are required to give 1 month's notice of termination which will commence on the first day of the following month and expire on the last day of that month".
So really they should say two months, as if you gave notice on the 1st Nov, you pay up until the 30th of December...
Fitness Farce shysters
14th Dec 10 10:12

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Tom

I also am having major trouble with fitness first..... I had my membership 3 months and decided I would cancel due to better offer. I called a month in advance to cancel... paid the last month and forgot about it. 2 months later I received a letter from there credit debt department saying I owed them £354.45.....which I guess is a whole years membership not even deducting the months I had already paid......i have tried to call them numerous amounts of times. keep getting fobbed off why do they treat it like I owe them something wen I havnt even used there service. and worse of all I signed up over the phone and they say I have signed there contract.....which is a lie they have a copy on there system which they have sent. not yet recieved!!
13th Dec 10 07:12

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alaneroberts

The trouble with The Weekly Gripe is that one name can be used by another, and another, etc etc
7th Dec 10 11:12

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Stacey

Actually, it's a bit rude but it's kinda true too. I know I have to work on my English. Its just getting round to it.
7th Dec 10 03:12

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alaneroberts

Victor Khan, you are presuming a lot when you state that 'Good advice gave her some very good advice'. That is hardly the case, and therefore the rest of your post is really quite irrelevant.
7th Dec 10 01:12

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Victor Khan

roberts you are not being helpful to Stacey. Good advice gave her some very good advice, and you have pettily attempted to protect her from it, just to score a very weak linguistic point. Stacey has probably spent her life around apologists for her poor education and the result of their efforts might be those which are evident in her writing. So roberts, what positive contribution can you claim? Your 'love' and intervention serves only to keep the uneducated down, below your own status. Such 'generosity', Stacey can do without.
3rd Dec 10 05:12

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alaneroberts

anon, you have completely ignored the context in which I pointed out the absence of the 'e' given. If you had taken account of the context, then you would realise that really I don't given a damn about the 'e', but rather the superior, patronising tone of 'Good advice' and his/her post to Stacey. I suggest you take the trouble to read more than just the immediately preceding post before adding your own, and that way you will not come across as rather stupid and somewhat pedantic
2nd Dec 10 06:12

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anon

alaneroberts, it's just a given name. It's not a dictionary entry. There are gazillions of names in this world that you and I would misspell for this reason. I happen to know someone who spells her name the way I spelled it. Okay? I could claim that you don't realise your own name should be spelled with a capital A, (E?) and R.
2nd Dec 10 01:12

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alaneroberts

Good advice, Stacey's name has an 'e' in it. Who did you say was nearly illiterate?
1st Dec 10 05:12

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alaneroberts

Stacey, read some of my previous posts on this matter - that should help. Stop worrying about CARS - it's just Fitness First trying to scare you. If you haven't got the money, you haven't got the money!
1st Dec 10 05:12

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0

Good advice

Stacy, don't worry about your body. It's your brain that is your real problem. You are nearly illiterate. Stop watching TV and get yourself some education before it is too late.

Losing weight won't help. You'll put it all back on when all you can afford is chips and bacon butties.

Trust me. Sort your brain out now.
1st Dec 10 02:12

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stacey

I took out the membership when I was 16 without my parents knowing and I cancelled the direct debit because I couldnt pay it no more and my mum and dad was going mad. I rung up fitness first asking to cancel the membership but they said I had to go down to the gym, which I have no way of getting there now.
I am now recieving letters from C.A.R.S saying I owe them 250 pound, but I have no way of paying this, they are saying they are going to take action, I rung them and tried to explain my situation but they wernt helpful at all and now I dont know what to do.
1st Dec 10 10:12

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bille

hi, I totally agree with you as something same is happening with me. They talk about customer service but when it comes to money they don't even care about their customers. They are taking the money from my account even though it was decided between us that they will freeze my account as I didn't go to the gym for nearly 8 months and paid the money. Because I did the 12 months contract.
27th Nov 10 10:11

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alaneroberts

precious . . . Seems to me that if you haven't signed the contract, then there is no contract, therefore there is essentially nothing to worry about. You just have to be strong and assertive, and realise that their so-called 'debt collection agency' will just engage in psychological tactics to try and get you to pay up. Be strong! Don't bother speaking on the telephone - they are trained to intimidate. If you do get into a telephone call with them, just laugh and put the phone down. Just communicate by letter. As for the texts; buy a new SIM card, change your number, get a new phone - any of these options mean that the texts will go away. What all this boils down to is: TAKE CONTROL of the situation and refuse to be intimidated.
13th Oct 10 07:10

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precious

.. we payed the administration fee but then cancelled it because our credit card guarantor didnt agree , they said that they will just provide us a guarantor , at first we said fine but after a day or two we texted them that we will just cancel it and leave the first payment that we made because we havent signed the last contract and havent meet with their given guarantor .. we know they havent passed our forms to the administration because they said our form is not yet complete and they are waiting for us thats why we just left it .. but then their texting us now that we have 3month debt and they are going to pass us to what they call collections agency .. any advice pls ? thanks .. though we're quite scared because were under 18 ..
12th Oct 10 05:10

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alaneroberts

Unfortunately, you are bound by a 12 month membership contract and if you have cancelled within that, then you do owe Fitness First the balance. If afterwards, then you need to give them the required notice. However, if your financial difficulties mean that you cannot pay, then you cannot pay. Either come to some sort of arrangement with them, or allow the very slim possibility of it going to Court. Provide proof of income and expenditure, and ask the Court to agree a reasonable amount to repay any money owing arising from the terms of the contract. Tell your bank that Fitness First abused the terms of the direct debit mandate, and that the bank must issue you with a refund. Keep all the correspondence sent to you, and copies of letters that you send in reply. Don't bother with making or accepting telephone calls to/from Fitness First - a complete waste of time. They will probably try to make the letters look 'official' and 'legal', and they will come from their so-called 'debt collection agency' etc. It is all psychological to persuade you to pay up; they are completely unconcerned about your financial hardship. Contracts generally have to be honoured, but unfortunately Fitness First fails to balance its insistence of this with good practice in ensuring that the notice period is clear, and that new clients are properly informed of precisely how to give notice of cancellation. Rather, the drive to maximise profits and the clearly flawed operating mechanisms of this company, result in bad practice, rudeness, and arrogance on the part of its employees, from the staff in the gyms and their failure to realise that effective recruitment and retention of new members should go hand-in-hand with high quality customer service, to the people in the finance department at their headquarters (here in the UK) who seem to pride themselves on a 'hard-headed', inflexible approach that includes the abuse of the direct debit system.
4th Oct 10 11:10

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lildumbooo111

me n my frend joined a fitness first on last year which was probably on june. because of some financial problems I had to cancel my 12 mth membership. but they are just denying. my frend already cancelled her membershhip by giving a letter to them, but mine they are just ignoring and just sending me threathen letters saying you will be taken to the court which is ridiculous. I have send the letter again saying about my financial problems but still they are saying you cant cancel it. wat a greedy club is this!! m so frustrated, as I have cancel my direct debit as well. but they renewed by account without saying to me which is absolutely fraud and start taking my money. they are now talking about cheques that should be handed to the head office....should I take soliticars or fight for the court help me someone ????
4th Oct 10 09:10

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Angel9164

Hi Alan - Good news... I got a solicitor to write a couple of well-worded letters and told them I had a letter drafted to Watchdog that explained abou their practices along with the lack of training and consideration of their employees to know their very basic membership rules. Eventually I got a response back to say they had wiped that final £32. I guess they rely on a lot of people paying it because they're scared of the threat of debt collection. I'm still going to be getting in touch with the lovely Ann Robinson though...
11th Sep 10 08:09

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liz

Again on Fittnes First. Even if you cancel your membership well in advance you are likely to receive letters demamding payment for 'unpayd fees' related to the months when you were no longer a member - so beware and keep your cancellation receipt for a very long time
7th Sep 10 10:09

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alaneroberts

Angel9164, further to my last post, I need to be more clear. A gym contract can be deemed as entering into a credit agreement. However, once the initial 12-month period is over - which it is in your case - then it 'rolls over' into a monthly-renewable contract. You've given notice and you have terminated the contract, and therefore that's that as far as the 'credit aspect' of the agreement is. You are now in dispute regarding the final payment and, as such, it cannot really have any impact upon your credit file. Even if it does potentially have an impact, it cannot be anything more than '1 missed payment', something that we can all have appearing on our files now and again due to lack of care e.g. missing the minimum credit card payment by the due date. So, please do not let them worry you about your credit file. For peace of mind, of course, you can request a copy of your credit file from, say, Experian, and just pay the statutory fee of a few pounds - not sure of the exact amount, and get it sent to you into the post. Experian will try to get you to sign up to 'credit expert' as they call it, but really it is far cheaper just to get a copy sent to you through the post. Experian is obliged to supply it to you by law, and cannot charge more than the statutory fee (until recently, I believe this was as low as £2).
17th Aug 10 11:08

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alaneroberts

sniggles57, you must complain - very strongly - to your bank about the fact that the direct debit was set up again without your authorisation. What contract was she on? Was she within a 12-month contract? Read the terms and conditions.
Angel9164, this will not affect your credit rating because it isn't a credit agreement that you entered into; it is a gym contract. My advice is to keep a careful check of your direct debit mandates to ensure that you do not end up paying like the unfortunate daughter of sniggles57. I'm assuming that you have proof of the recorded delivery still? If so, just stick it out; put up with the irritation of their so-called 'debt collection agency', which is just really Fitness First trying to 'put the wind up' people. Do not bother telephoning. Answer every letter they send, even if you just have to repeat exactly what you stated previously. Keep copies. You gave them the calendar month notice on the 2nd June, and that is that. Their response stating that they did not receive it conflicts with the recorded delivery status of the letter. They will threaten you with Court but it is almost certain that they will not take it that far. If they do, attend court and explain your case - it will probably be just one Judge in his office. Do not compromise. Do not get afraid. Be tough and 'laugh' out loud at them whenever you can! That's what I did. Good luck.
17th Aug 10 03:08

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Angel9164

Hi there Alan. Thanks for your response. I sent them the letter by recorded delivery and it arrived 2nd June. My payment comes out on the 2nd of each month. Becsue the letter arrived on 2nd June - they are saying that my cancellation doesn't come into affect until 2nd July, which is when my one months notice begins and one months notice from there is my 2nd August payment as its paid one month in arrears! Absolutely unbelievable. A friend of mine who is a solicitor helped me write a letter to them - and they just repsonded today basically saying that they didn't receive my notification til 2nd July - so therefore I owe them the 2nd August payment and could I send them a cheque or ring them to make payment....Ummmmmmm no! Are you sure this won't affect my credit rating? I had been a member there for 18 months and hated every second of it, but it was the only local option. What do you advise next Alan please? any help is much appreciated :0)
17th Aug 10 12:08

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sniggles57

Unfortunately, my daughter is in the same predicament. She gave 1 month's notice and cancelled her direct debit and she thought that was that. It would seem that somehow they have managed to re-submit the direct debit and have been receiving membership subscriptions for the last 4 months to the tune of £151.18. When she rang Customer Service and she was told that she would have to pay the first 6 months subscription before it could be cancelled. After reading all your comments it does not look good, I don't think she will get her money back. How did they manage to get further subscriptions out of her bank when she cancelled the direct debit. Calling them is a waste of time at best the person on the other end is economically with the truth and at worst does not know anything.
16th Aug 10 06:08

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alaneroberts

Thanks Angel9164. Just remember that it is absolutely pointless discussing your account over the telephone. Quite simply, do not telephone them or get into a conversation with them if they call you. Just keep it all in writing. Reply to every letter they send, even if it just means repeating what you stated in your previous letter. Ignore any threats to your credit file - it has nothing to do with credit. I'm assuming the cancellation was after your initial 12-month contract? I'm a little confused when you say you gave notice in on the 2nd of June and yet they are demanding a payment for August? Even with the 'calendar month' requirement, they can only demand a payment for July. Did you give the notice in writing?
13th Aug 10 09:08

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Angel9164

Hiya - I'm currently experiencing exactly the same thing... They said to me one months notice, so I gave it and cancelled my direct debit in July. They are now telling me I owe them for August too - even though I gave notice on 2nd June! Really shocking, shoody customer service as I asked the people who worked in the gym and at no point did they tell me that the one months notice was date critical. I'm currently battling with their credit control team and am refusing to pay. The main problem is that all the numpties that work in their gyms aren't trained properly and have absolutely no idea of the ins and outs of the membership process. Fitness First is like the McDonalds of gyms... no decent service, they just want you money and don't want to have anything else to do with you. I'll keep fighting this until they cancel that additional payment - and I will also be contacting the MD. Total cowboys. The thing is I was going to keep using their sunbeds at a profit of about £120 a year to them... which they've now royally screwed up for being greedy so and so's.
12th Aug 10 03:08

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gymfreak

had some joy I contacted the managing director ar fitness first and had some joy his email is Contact: John Gamble Telephone: 01202 845103 Email: JohnGamble@fitnessfirst.com
9th Aug 10 12:08

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angry woman

Reading further posts about FF - its amazing how nothing has actually ever been done to stop them. I've also taken legal advise and have been liaising with Trading Standards. I've been told to also contact FIA - Fitness Industry Authority - the regulating body. I've made them aware of the funny goings on - they have also advise that if they are doinf thinggs such as with drawing money from accounts by various means and not cancelling your contracts although you have done exactly what you was supposed to have done - then they are in breech of their contract and we can take them to a smaill claims court. But imagine taking such a big firm to court - it will not be a viable thing to do - although they are in the wrong! More complaints need to be made to people who can make a difference. Anyone thought about Watchdog- enough material for a whole series don't you think.

Anyway this is my later afternoon moan about FF - slowly trying to resolve the isse - will keep you guys posted.
15th Jul 10 05:07

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123Tele

Im sorry to read some of these posts. If you wish to cancel a direct debit with FF you should contact your bank and inform them, some banks allow this to be done over the phone but it is advisable to put it in writing to your bank or building society. You can advise FF if you wish, but the bank are responsible for cancelling DD. If you have a problem with a DD you should use your banks internal complaints procedure. If are still contractually obliged to make payment FF may still pursue you for this money though. No comment on the complex nature of cancellation policy, went to visit FF was some confusion about cancellation policy and the amount of notice required, decided in the end not to join the gym, partly because of this.
14th Jul 10 11:07

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alaneroberts

Sorry to hear about that, Margy. Yet another example of FF setting up a direct debit without permission. I'm very suspicious about direct debits now, and only agree to them very, very reluctantly. The banks should not be allowing this to occurr and I suggest you argue with your bank for your money back. Make sure you have internet banking, and check your direct debit mandates very regularly; that way, you can stop any that are illicitly set up before FF have a chance to debit a payment. If your bank does not have internet banking - then change banks! One thing I've learned from FF - I now have ZERO loyalty to any company, be it gyms, banks, or anything else forthat matter. Good luck!
10th Jul 10 07:07

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Margy

My Husband and I have had exactly the same problem with canceling membership at Fitness First. My Husband has had spinal fusion which has left him unable to go to the gym on doctors orders, myself I have been diognosed with spondalitus and in three weeks having surgery for same. We canceled the policy allowing them a months notice yet they have still taken their direct debit even though we canceled it with the bank they were allowed without our permission to set up another payment. I received another letter today 8th July 2010 that they have not been able to take my payment! What DO you have to do to get through to them show them your surgery! Its disgusting and I advise anyone not to join up!
8th Jul 10 07:07

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alaneroberts

angry woman, thanks for your message. Just remember CARS is effectively part of FF, and is not interested in the rights and wrongs of the situation. Their only remit is to screw you for more money - as simple as that. Don't even bother speaking with them on the telephone - pointless really. Just do it in writing by simply restating the facts. If they do phone you, instruct them not to because you want everything in writing, and then give in heartily to the temptation to laugh at them. Best wishes
15th Jun 10 06:06

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angry woman

alaneroberts, many thanks for responding below - they are doing exactly what you described - trying to scam people for an extra month's payment. I've done everything in my remit to ensure I have followed their stupid processes - but now have THEIR internal dcollection team C.A.R.S chasing payment - but they are so stupidily thick. I made him stumble a few times as I stuck by my guns and have let trading standards know of the situation and said I will not be paying. I have been assured by my solicitor that they will not persue to the level of CCJ's as this will cost them more. Very tempted to get Watchdog involved in this. Can;t believe they still have so many customers - maybe they're stuck there and can't find the door.
15th Jun 10 12:06

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alaneroberts

Zoottah, thanks for that. Unfortunately, the practice with Fitness First is - according to a number of posts - that even when some customers have cancelled the direct debit themselves with their bank, FF have then set it up again without their permission. I try to avoid using direct debit mandates as much as possible; effectively, it is giving a company permission to debit money directly from a bank account. The fact that direct debits can be set up now on the phone or internet and, therefore, not requiring a customer to be physically present and to give their signature is, in my opinion, quite worrying - at least when it comes to disgusting companies like Fitness First.
14th Jun 10 11:06

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Zoottah

I have worked as a receptionist for Fitness First for a while, answering the phone and dealing with club members.
I can say I had DOZENS of clients calling in daily with your same exact problem, obviously quite upset and complaining as their money kept being taken from their accounts. Every day I passed these peoples' contacts to the club's manager (unfortunately that was all I was allowed to do) only to hear from the same exact customers again over the next days/weeks, complaining that no one had got back to them and that their money was still being taken from them.

I got sick of the job after a while (and eventually ended up telling the customers on the phone "honestly, I think there's something dodgy going on here") and eventually I quit, and when leaving I asked to the manager "can I be reassured you have canceled MY direct debit with you guys?" (I was a customer first, then eventually ended up working there part time) and I was told "oh sure, don't worry, we would never keep YOURS going" (eye blink)

All this simply to say that, if I can say my personal opinion, to my humble little eyes, this all looked like a big SCAM.
All I can say is CANCEL THE DIRECT DEBIT WITH YOUR BANK RIGHT AWAY.

All the best
14th Jun 10 12:06

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alaneroberts

angry woman, yes, as long as you cancel within the initial 12 month period, there is no need to give any notice but you are obliged to paying for the full 12 month period. You entered into a contract for membership for 12 months and that is that. You are not required to notify them one month before that you will not be renewing your contract after the 12 months. It is ONLY when it has 'rolled-over' so to speak into the monthly, renewable contract, that you will be required to give notice. Many gyms ignore this and try to demand that notice is given within the 12 months - thereby forcing people to pay for at least another month on top of the 12 months. So, basically, you have to pay for the whole 12 months; inform them before the 12 months is over - it doesn't have to be a month, as long as it is by the last day of the 12 month initial period - that you are cancelling; do it in writing, send it in the post by recorded delivery; cancel your direct debit after the last payment has left your account and instruct your bank that under no circumstances must another DD with fitness first be set up (FF have set up DD's without informing the bank account owner). Any demands for an 'exit interview' will be deemed as unreasonable/unfair and can be ignored. The key point is to cancel IN WRITING and have proof of this.
9th Jun 10 08:06

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angry woman

So if you cancel your FF within the 12 month period at any point then you are free from making any further payments? 12 month contract to finish in May 15th and I gave my notice 1month or less than one month before thisfor example - then would this be enough for no further payments?
9th Jun 10 03:06

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alaneroberts

Dale, I have no formal legal background, just reasonably well-researched and, more importantly, very well experienced. As for your credit history, it is highly unlikely that the there will be any impact upon your credit file whatsoever. I check my own credit file regularly with Experian, and have done so for many years, and FF never once made any appearance on it whatsoever. Even if they did, I was prepared to make a 'statement of correction' on it, allowing an explanation to be given which all would see. The threat to credit files is so often used - or should I say, misused! - by companies these days, even when they haven't actually entered into any credit agreement with people. Such threats should not be allowed to bypass the actual situation - morally and legally. By the way, did you cancel 'within' your twelve-month initial membership contract period? If you did, there is no need to give 'any' notice period. The only requirement for a notice period is when the contract has 'rolled-over' into the monthly, renewable stage. Stick with it Dale; if you don't you'll probably 'kick yourself', so to speak, in the future and will feel that sense of injustice that can keep us awake at night. Best wishes
26th May 10 01:05

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Dale

Alan, I thank you for your response and it does back up what I believed as a 'lay-person' I cannot prove what was said in the telephone conversation although I have the email sent proof for the 26th March, I am not sure how this is viewed in court though. Do you have any legal background as what you say does sound very convincing, or are you just well researched?

It is essential that nothing goes against my credit history although I would like to fight this unjust situation and will probably follow your advice after a little further research, just to be doubly sure.
24th May 10 07:05

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alaneroberts

Dale, exit interview? Absolutely ridiculous and it has no basis in law, and therefore can be ignored. You verbally and in writing (email) stated that you wished to cancel, giving more than a full calendar month (April). You have been entirely reasonable and, therefore, should be prepared to go to Court. To be frank though, it is almost certain that FF will not pursue this in court; instead, they will pass the matter over to their so-called 'debt collection agency' (they probably share the same office) who will pester you for some time with 'legal sounding' letters etc. Be prepared to make a response to each one, in writing, simply stating your case - simply and clearly, repeating the word 'reasonable' over and over again in relation to your actions. Stick it out; don't let them bully you into submission; you are entirely in the right, legally and morally. Keep us posted as to the outcome, if you don't mind. Best wishes!
24th May 10 07:05

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Dale

(............Continued entry from previous)I’ve had a conversation with FF on the 12th April telling me that to cancel I must have an exit interview and that I would owe payments for May as I need to give one calendar months notice at the exit interview. I said that I didn't agree with that and that it was unfair and not reasonable. They told me that I would get a letter/phone call when payments were not received. Two letters later the second of which threatens action, I have phoned them explaining the same as above. They were not interested and told me that on their records I had not served written notice until 12 April and that I owe payments for May. I have until June or they will take action against me. I suggested that we settle this in court as I believe that what I had done was reasonable. Surely good customer service would give me the benefit of the doubt and apologise for not getting back to me. I have told them that I am now going to get further legal advice before I make any payment as I don't want to be bullied into making this payment.

When I challenged the lady about their procedures in the event of receiving an email or phone call about cancellation she would not be clear. I suggested that my original email/call could have been responded to suggesting that I need an exit interview, this I could have arranged in time to properly cancel in May without penalty. Did they choose to ignore me to earn more money, is this their code of practice to ignore cancellations generating more income, if so that is not ethical?
24th May 10 11:05

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Dale

I’ve the same issue with Fitness First and their cancellation policy. I requested that a friend had a trial and was told that somebody would call me back, no one made any attempt to contact me, as a result I had a trial at Topnoch and Joined there. I phoned Fitness First to express my wish to cancel on 26 March and was told that somebody would phone me back, yet again no one ever did! I sent an email on the same day at 10pm to the correct branch address clearly stating that I would make one last payment for April and that I was cancelling membership. I received no response at all for 2 weeks. Just before 12 April I handed in a letter (same content as the email) to my branch and was told that I needed to have an exit interview to cancel and that the letter wasn't good enough. Why? I requested that they give/send me the forms and I would sign them and cancel. They told me that I wasn't able to do this without an exit interview. Again, why not? (see next entry..................)
24th May 10 11:05

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Christina

I am making a tv programme about consumer rights and I'm looking for cases of people who have had problems cancelling their gym membership. We will be taking on cases to try and get people's money back. If you think you have a case please email me on christina.schultz@reeftv.com
14th May 10 10:05

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Daisy

Fitness First are completely unethical. When I cancelled my membership I had to make an appointment, fill in several forms, then pay more than I contractually owed - frankly it was only a few pounds and I paid it to get rid of this company from my life. Now they have done the same to a friend of mine and I am motivated 5 years after my own experience to browse these blog sites and realise that they systematically steal from their customers. They train their staff to commit fraud. DO NOT JOIN FITNESS FIRST, there are other gyms out there with better ethics.
13th May 10 08:05

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angry woman

Oh and worried about getting a CCJ against me if this goes to court. I can write them letter after letters but they will never admit fault.
13th May 10 07:05

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angry woman

Oh and worried about getting a CCJ against me if this goes to court. I can write them letter after letters but they will never admit fault.
13th May 10 06:05

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angry woman

I'v had the same problem - gave them enough notice by means of sending a letter to head office - they then said I've sent it to the wrong address, then they said oh no its the correct address, now they saying they've not received it - and then it came to yes we've recieved it but gave me 3 types of BS excuses to get extra month pay out of me;
a, your supoosed to give one calendar month before your contract is to end - well I did
b, oh no it had to be the month before the month it is due to end - well is this not the same thing? Or were they trying to say 2 months before its due to end?
c, you have to give us notice 28 days before your next DD is due.

Another thing - they never managed to set up my DD properly my bank are not aware of anything to do with FF, so I just paid ad hoc. They are demanding another months fee - but I should not be paying this. What will happen if they don't get a penny out of me?
13th May 10 05:05

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alaneroberts

Mark, the more I think about it, the more I realise that you are taking the piss!
2nd May 10 10:05

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alaneroberts

Mark, I suppose a lesson to be learned here. Ensure that you can 'prove' the cancellation. I'm somewhat puzzled though about your reference to bad credit and cannot really see how you could possibly have bad credit as a result of a £60 debt. Also, I very much doubt that you were rejected for a police job because of this. It's not as if you had a county court judgement against you. Also, you haven't actually broken a credit agreement really, just a membership contract, a completely different matter that Experian or other credit agency would have no interest in. I recommend that you apply for your credit file from Experian - you can order it over the internet, or have it posted to you for £2, or a little more, not sure. If, by a very strange and almost unbelievable possibility, FF have registered a bad debt against your name, then you can actually write to Experian to request that they remove it, considering the circumstances. At the very least, you will be allowed to make an explanatory statement alongside it that will appear in the future should to any company/employer who applies to see your credit file. As individuals, we can fight disgusting companys like FF, and we do have great worth in doing so. FF must not be allowed to get away with its way of doing business. One last thing, a bad debt does not remain on your credit file indefinetely. There is a cut off period of about 6 to 7 years anyway. Mark, no offense, but I suggest that you reconsider what happened and re-evaluate what FF can actually do to your credit file. It is actually very little, especially in the circumstances you outlined.
16th Apr 10 07:04

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Mark

About 6 years ago, I was a member of FF for over a year and then I cancelled, by directly giving them a letter, they told me that's OK. So I stopped my Direct Debt, and 2 months later, received a letter stating that I owed 60 pounds. I went straight down there and they said that I never wrote them a letter. I refused to pay and they threatened me with court action, but nothing came of it. To this day they have black listed me for bad credit and my worst horror was that, I was being Vetted for a Police Job, and they rejected me due to bad Credit! Someone with no worth in this world like me, can not compete with a powerhouse like FF.
15th Apr 10 05:04

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alaneroberts

annoyedwrexham, it is possible that if you just happen to 'lose' your card, report it to the bank, that this will stop any further payments from being deducted i.e. any debits set up on the card will become defunct. I'm not totally sure about this, but it is a possibility.
8th Apr 10 12:04

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annoyedwrexham

my son joined FF 5mths ago and I allowed him to use our bank details to set up a DD, 3mths in he lost his job, and moved out I cancelled the DD and low and behold FF actually took the monthly fee out of our account using the card payment method unbloody believiable that they can just take the money whenever they like and the damn contract wasnt even ours. my argument with them was that they should have billed the contract holder my son for breach of contract and not use our bank details to extact money for themselves....... would never ever advise anyone to get involved with this unproffessional money grabbing company
2nd Apr 10 03:04

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Lams

@ JAY ! You are for sure working for them! I joined Fitness First last year . I lost my card about 8 months ago and never got a new one . All this because I moved house and was not going to the Fitness First I regisered in. I had a platinium card , so had access to nearly all fitness first. When I asked for a new one , they said I had to go to the FF I registered in. As im quiet busy and the other FF was quiet far I couldnt + they said they would post it , which has never been done. Been paying them 8 months for nothing.
On top of that, I had to leave the UK for a few month . The person who enrolled me assured me I could give one month notice and explain my personal situtation when wanting to terminate my membership . No , that was not true , I had to pay£ 75 to cancel the membership!!!!!! My contract has never been given to me !!!
Finally , they are very disorganised, unprofessional and money grabbers.
Its not worth it !!!!!!! Don't go there!!!!!
1st Apr 10 01:04

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Natalie

I completely agree! They contradict themselves and it appears thats all they care about is the money as appose to good customer service. I joined the beginning of feb and I have never had such, since then in march I became ill but thought I would recover in 2 weeks but I didnt and had to go under futher investigations, they told me I was able to freeze my membership but only for a minimum of 3months. A month and a half later still ill I was still uinable to attend the gym, so I decided to ring them again as I had paid 60pound and used it 3 tyms. Contradicting them self they told me I could bring in a doctors note to them and they will sort something out, even though they informed me prior that minimum is 2months. So I retrieved a doctors note and brought it in, then they told me I still had to pay april as its to late to freeze that month; totalling of 90pound pound cost without using the gym. They have frozen it for 2 months (costing 9pound p/m). Costing 108pound for not even stepping in the gym once. I think these flaws need to be made clear when you are signed up. On top of this when I joined up I was told over the phone that I would be able to use the gym in birmingham as well as Coventry.. However when I queried this in the gym It had not been set up, and when they rang head office they quoted 'she thought she had it in birmingham so needs to set it up as she dont' when I heard this it made me very distressed and angry as I did not mistakely think it, I was told it or you could say lied to!.. as well as this they didnt give me a choice of contract, and I was not given the option and did not know there was a 3month membership. Do any of you know what would happen if I cancelled my direct debt. Because I feel ive been robbed of my money enough. Or would there be consequences?
I would apprechiate any advice.

I hope you learn from my mistakes when choosing a gym
Much love
Natalie :)
26th Mar 10 02:03

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Jay

trust me Esporta is a lot worse. all private gyms/ "health clubs" are like that. best thing to do is get a pay as you go council gym membership.
26th Mar 10 09:03

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jake

Fitness first are horrible. The person who gave me a tour of the place lied to me about costs and that I could cancel at any time which is a fkn load of rubbish.




Fitness first are scum and I warn anyone to stay away from them, they will scam you.
12th Mar 10 03:03

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alaneroberts

'Hissy fit'? LOL, how old are you? 90? Well, I'll have to take your word for it; there have been quite a few postings in the past that have obviously been from fitness first employees, probably at the head office. In fact, some admitted it. Maybe take the trouble to read more of the postings before offering something that is, really, quite irritating. Your previous to last posting made reference to a 'few' people. Hardly that.
11th Mar 10 06:03

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mary p

You need to calm down alan, if you got a problem with fitness first then fine but don't take it out on me for posting something that doesn't agree with you! Forums always have mixed opinions, if your going to pull a hissy fit everytime someone writes something different don't start one in the first place. PS fitness first dont pay me a salery, I work for the NHS so I have no idea what your on about
11th Mar 10 06:03

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alaneroberts

yes, mary p, but on this forum, within the context of the very many bad experiences, your now 'very good' experience, is really quite irrelevant. Thank you for your contribution, but show some respect now for the rest of us, and accept that the vast majority of us have had a horrendous experience. These rather pathetic attempts at sabotage, including the posting previous to yours from FitnessFirstSUCKS, smack of 'desperation', intending to make the rest of us look like idiots with an illegitimate greivance. Say what you will, but Fitness First really is a greedy, money grabbing company with a rotten to the core customer service record - in relation to the many, many postings on this forum. I doubt that FF are really paying you such a high salary to justify these attempts to disregard what the rest of us are saying. Laughable really. It really does confirm what I, and so many others, have been saying about FF all along.
9th Mar 10 07:03

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mary p

I can see a few people have had a bad experience but I have to say mine was very good.
9th Mar 10 06:03

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FitnessFirstSUCKS

I had the same experience too. damn. my membership is supposed to last until January 16 of this year, and now they're billing me for 4 months(including the month of April) .i called them and they told me that even though I signed for a "12-month contract" I still have to pay for the following months until I cancel my membership. What the hell's the membership for?
9th Mar 10 05:03

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alaneroberts

Thanks mary p. Fitness First though seems to be particularly adept at giving very poor customer service. They are very poor at communication; they refuse to listen to reasoned argument; they set up direct debits without permission; they fail to respond to letters, or at the very least, ignore the actual contents of letters; they resort to the use of a so-called 'debt collection agency' (laughable really) at the drop of a hat; they insist on a notice period during an initial 12-month contract, and that is actually in conflict with UK Trading Standards - it is only when the contract 'rolls over' to the monthly contract that they can insist on a notice period. The many postings made in response to my initial posting, confirms all that I've said, and much more. People have been treated absymally by this awful company and, quite simply, it is unacceptable. It is time that we in the UK began to 'kick back', so to speak, against companies like Fitness First that insist on ridiculous contracts; and they provide rubbish service whilst demanding high prices. I, for one, have had enough!
7th Mar 10 09:03

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mary p

"I telephoned Fitness First and was told that - contrary to what I was told verbally when signing up, the actual notice period required was a ‘calendar month’. So effectively the month’s notice only kicked in from the 1st February and that meant that I therefore still owed a fee for the whole of that month!"

It does say that there is a calendar month noctice cancellation on the contract, I had to cancel and had to do the same. Its the way most companies run Alan. Lucky you didn't join David Lloyd gyms, thats 3 months notice!
6th Mar 10 01:03

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alaneroberts

Jay, LOL, what a moronic posting you have made. Clearly, you haven't really bothered to read my original posting, or if you did, you failed to process the details rationally, resulting in a rather stupid, quite irrelevant point. Is the standard of Fitness First employees these days? I think it probably must be . . . LOL. Read the postings, you idiot, and then realise that the complaint is not simply wanting to cancel a 12 month contract after 6 months. That - I hope, Jay, that I am putting this simply enough for you - is not the issue. Either stop being a lazy, lazy little person, and leave this forum alone, or take the time and trouble to actually read some of the postings, including the original. Perhaps, though, you should 'take your brain to the gym' before you do so; clearly, it is not yet up to a suitable level of fitness. LOL
5th Mar 10 08:03

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Jay

LOL this list of complaints makes me laugh. I joined fitness first knowing its a 12 month contract. I can say most of the people writing on this, mainly alaneroberts, are very very naive. Whether its a gym, morgage, mobile phone, internet, whatever they are all contracts you sign (google the word contract you lot). Its just common sense and im not sticking up for fitness first at all but what you lot need to realize is that it is a profit making company and you do sign a contract for 12 months and unlike most companies, fitness first allow you to cancel if you move away from the area, doctors reason, even loosing your job! Cancelling the direct debit would just bring in debt collectors. 12 month contract, your signiture, you want to cancel at 6 months, what planet are you lot on moaning that you can't do that. This forum is full of people who didn't achieve their results they wanted because they'd rather be lazy. FITNESS FIRST IS A VERY GOOD COMPANY FOR PEOPLE WITH COMMON SENSE AND A BAD COMPANY FOR PEOPLE WITHOUT COMMON SENSE
5th Mar 10 12:03

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Alaneroberts

I meant, of course, 'without' the account holders permission.
9th Feb 10 07:02

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Alaneroberts

Gzoom, also, make sure you cancel your Direct Debit and keep a very, very careful eye on your account because FF have been known to set up a Direct Debit again with the account holders permission. Ensure that you tell your Bank that they must not set up a DD with FF, under no circumstances. Don't expect FF to cancel it for you before taking out the extra month. Do it yourself and do it NOW! Best of luck. Let us know what happens.
9th Feb 10 07:02

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Alaneroberts

Gzoom, you are completely within your rights. You cancelled well within the 12 months. Believe me, they have absolutely no right to insist on that extra month, and as a matter of principle (and, hopefully, a matter of pride and justice) you should not pay that extra month. Their reference to the DD going out on the 1.2.2010 is completely irrelevant. It isn't just about their contract, the Office of Fair Trading makes it very clear that you have the right to cancel within the minimum contract period, and that if you do so, it simply cannot roll over into another month. Believe me, this will not go to the small claims court. If it does, the Judge will rule in your favour without any doubt. It will not go to Court because FF know they are wrong. What will probably happen is that they will pass your account over to their so-called 'Debt Collection Agency', and hope that you will succumb to the pressure of letters over a period of time, even some phone calls. Some of the letters will be even made to look 'official' as if they are from a court. Just laugh, and laugh again! Respond to the letters in writing, stating the facts, telling them not to contact you because it will be harassment. Do the same on the telephone. Don't worry about it! You are completely within your rights. Just laugh at them. FF is pathetic!
9th Feb 10 07:02

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Gzoom

I joined fitness first on the 31 - 01- 2009 for a minimal of 12 months. They received a letter from me and acknowledged that I cancelled my memembership on the 6 - 01 -2010, however they wanted to charge me for the month of Feburary 2010. When I pointed out that their own contract states that as long as I was in the minimal period of the contract I didn't have to give 1 month noticed I was told that because the Direct Debit had gone out on the 1.1.2010 I was out side the "minimal contract period" despite the contract clearly stating 31 - 01 -2010 as the end of my minimal contract period.

Like lots of people i'm quite fedup at theres companies which are more than happy to take money, but don't care about their actual customers, so even though I enjoyed the last 11 months of using the Gym at fitness first am more than ready to go to a small calims court and argue about their interpretation of the contract
9th Feb 10 01:02

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alaneroberts

FF, you're a loyal employee. Congratulations for that aspect of your job. Numerous awards? Well. . . . . what can I say? Many rewards? Lots of rewards? Wow! Loads of rewards? And yet, this gripe has been created, and the many, many responses have been given. Also, the point has never been about a simply one month cancellation notice. If you actually read the original grips - given by myself - you will realise that it is a little more complicated than that. Also, what about basic 'decency'? You state that 'you should read anything before you sign it' which is, of course, true on one level. However, Fitness First is, it seems, adept at working on other levels, particularly the level of 'deception' and 'deceit', and lulling a potential customer into a false sense of security, lying to them, getting them to sign on the dotted line, and then their 'actually' being a customer becomes something to deeply regret. A company like Fitness First exploits the best and most decent things about being human, and then profits from the worst aspects of being human. Still FF, you are earning a wage with Fitness First, although I expect it is hardly a 'living wage'. However, thanks anyway for your input . . . . interesting, and strangely 'sad' at the same time.
31st Jan 10 09:01

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FF

I have to say I work for Fitness First and not only has the health club chain won numerous awards for customer service, when a member joins they cleary sign under where it says how long the contract is for. It's the same for mobile phones and all over services like that and it clearly says after that period theres a one month notice to cancel. Its pretty clear you should read anything before you sign it and the ones that don't are the ones that get upset.
31st Jan 10 08:01

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Fitness First member

Completely agree with you Fitness First are useless and have the worst customer service I have ever come accross not to mention dirty gyms/ shower facilities and - unclear policies.
Avoid Fitness First at all costs- they'll scam you !!!
14th Jan 10 05:01

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alaneroberts

morgan,
The lesson to learn from this is that you - and your daughter - must put things in writing! It is no good verbally telling a disgusting company like Fitness First that the contract is to be put on hold. However, if your daughter did, then she must argue her case and, if it is taken to court, be prepared to attend. A county court in a matter like this usually consists of a judge sitting in his office. It is highly unlikely that anyone from Fitness First would turn-up, and the judge would immediately be 'impressed'/a little more sympathetic, if your daughter did, and if she clearly explained to him or her what happened. Good luck!
14th Jan 10 04:01

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alaneroberts

liz,

If your cancellation letter was sent WITHIN the initial 12-month contract period, then you do not have to give any notice, never mind a full calendar month. It is only when the 12 months ends, and then the contract moves into a 'rolling one-month' contract that you have to give notice. You can confirm this by googling trading standards and gym membership, but I know I am right on this. Also, the so-called 'debt collection agency' is virtually just another part of the FF finance department. Be bloody minded! Argue your case. Although, if your cancellation was within the 12 months, then you can effectively laugh every time they send a letter. If they take you to court - which is extremely unlikely in any event for such a small sum - then you will clearly win!
14th Jan 10 04:01

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alaneroberts

otis, as far as I understand it, because you are 17years old, the contract with Fitness First can only be effective if you gave signed parental consent. I believe this is in their terms and conditions, so you will need to check your contract carefully. I believe it will be right near the start, item 1.1 under 'membership'. If you did not give signed parental consent, then the contract is null and void, and therefore you must simply ensure that your direct debit mandate is cancelled. To be on the safe side, cancel the direct debit with your bank in writing, making it clear that you do not give permission for any further direct debits to be set up with fitness first. Also, put in writing to Fitness First that, as far as you are concerned, the contract is null and void. Telephoning them or going into the gym to speak to them is absolutely POINTLESS! Do not bother. If it is not in writing, then you are wasting your time, and anyway, they will only verbally try to persuade you to stay with them and tie you in to a lengthy, expensive contract. If none of this applies because 'signed parental consent' was given, then quickly check out the contract terms and conditions under 'termination by you'. It may be that within 10 days, you could cancel if you express your disatisfaction with any services offered by FF. I'm sure you will be able to find something to be dissatisfied about. It would be nice if you could post back and let us know how you went on. Good luck!
14th Jan 10 04:01

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liz

Same thing happened to me. My cancellation letter was received on the 3rd of the month and I had to wait till the 1st of the next month for the letter to be actioned! I am disputing this and now I am receiving phone calls and texts from a debt collecting company saying I owe fees from 2008!! This seems like harrassment and intimidation to me. Any help anyone?
14th Jan 10 12:01

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otis

I signed up today thinking that I would be paying £35 for 12 months I am 17 and I didnt know that they ment £35 a month for 12 months as they didnt say that they said £35 for 12 months now I know I want to cancel my membership I called them before and they said come in on friday and we can talk about it. I have done some research on the internet and saw that it is hard to cancel. how do I cancel.
13th Jan 10 06:01

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morgan

my daughter is havin the same problem, she put her contract on hold in november because of only being in agencey work, which she told fitness first when she signed up. now they are after 202 pounds and saying her contract is still active. this is wrong why sould you pay for something you havent had or used.sehad only been with them a month. surely you can cancel your contract after the 1st 30 days?
13th Jan 10 12:01

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gymfreak

had some joy I contacted the managing director ar fitness first and had some joy
his email is
Contact: John Gamble
Telephone: 01202 845103
Email: JohnGamble@fitnessfirst.com
22nd Dec 09 08:12

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gymfreak

your not the only one having trouble with this company I have read many blogs from the internet they billed me in december even though I cancelled and gave them one months notice
i cancelled the direct debit and they set it up 4 times now I had to change my debit card as they took money from that also
22nd Dec 09 12:12

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graeme

After phoning and cancelling my membership with fitness first they later informed me of their cancellation policy!!! beware if you join, you have to pay an extra month if you leave!!!! I had to pay an extra £60 as I moved house and didint get their letter on time! THEY ARE MONEY GRABBING WASTERS!!!!!! NEVER EVER JOIN FITNESS FIRST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
22nd Dec 09 10:12

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alaneroberts

Brisa, double-check your contract. It will almost certainly stipulate that the contract will automatically be renewed after the 12-month period, but check just in case. If it doesn't, then to hell with them, just cancel your direct debit and don't give them a penny more.
10th Oct 09 12:10

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Brisa

Unfortunately I also had the same problem yesterday...I twice asked at the reception how should I procedure to cancel my contract of 12 months which has already expired. They just told me to pay the current month and then bring a letter to reception requiring the cancellation .I did exactly what I was told to.Surprisingly The Manager said that I should pay November as well, because I should read my contract and give one month notice...I wonder how such a place can provide a dreadful customer service.You can never trust on the staff at the reception, because they will be nice to you only to persuade you to join the gym, after that, you will always be misled...
From now on I will speak loudly whenever I can...
Fitness First the worst company you can think of becoming a member!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
9th Oct 09 12:10

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alaneroberts

Everyone needs to be clear. During a 'fixed' contract period, there is no need to give any notice period to cancel your membership, as long as it is done within the actual fixed period. So, if a 12 month contract ends, say, 30th September 2009, you can cancel on the 30th September 2009. You need to check your contract carefully though, because it may well be that your contract will automatically move into a 'rolling contract' after the fixed period. If that is the case, then once this period starts, up to 3 months notice can be required. Any contract that stipulates any cancellation notice period during a fixed term contract, is deemed as 'unfair' by the Office of Fair Trading, and you will not be bound to it.
21st Sep 09 06:09

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Allison64

I have experienced something similar with Bannantynes. I was told clearly by the manager when joining that required notice was three months. After a few months, I duly gave three months notice, only to be told that membership was for a minimum of one year.
It did indeed state 12 months in the small print, but I signed the contract on the word of the manager. If he had told me about the 12 months minimum, I would not have joined as I was unsure of my commitment.
They are now pursuing me aggressively for six months of payments!
21st Sep 09 04:09

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al

The problem with them isnt so much the contract itself. it's the way they get you to sign up and then in the face of the relentless problems that they encounter, they don't operate any customer service or benefit of the doubt, they just hold you to the contract and prepare to lose a customer forever. It's bizarre.

http://fitnessfirstnazis.blogspot.com/
16th Sep 09 03:09

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alaneroberts

I would advise you to simply cancel the direct debit with the bank. However, if you do want to carry on paying, remember that there is no need to give any 3 month notice period within a 12 month contract. Just ensure you tell them - in writing - that you wish to cancel before the end of the 12 months. A 3 month notice period can only be imposed after the 12 months, when your contract will move over to a rolling one-month contract. Check your contract and make sure there is no clause about 'automatic' renewal.
27th Aug 09 05:08

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samantha

I completely agree with what you have written here, I joined fitness first gym in march 09 and was told that the minimum contract I could have was that of 12months. Hopeing I would be motivated by the team at the club I assumed I would definately attend and be pleased enough to stay there for a month so I signed up. direct debit was set up etc. Having had no motivation and no weight loss in the last 6months the only feeling I have is regret. I regret signing up and would say to anyone do not do it!!! you are better off running round your village and lifting cans of beans and dancing in your front room. Fitness First is a money grabbing company and I wish I could cancel as I have been made redundant and cant afford the payments but they wont allow it. so I am literally throwing a pound away a day which doesnt seem much but after a year that is £360 down the drain.
27th Aug 09 04:08

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grumpyoldwoman

Oh go away you and get a name of your own!

Please note everyone that comments being posted using this name are not bcoming from me!
12th Aug 09 08:08

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grumpyoldwoman

I"ve just eaten a bowl of alpen and now I have to get up to wash the bl**dy bowl ! these scientists are always boasting about how fantastic they are, well when are they going to invent a bowl that cleans itself !?
12th Aug 09 07:08

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alaneroberts

The point I was trying to make was not so much 'obvious' as 'implicit'.
12th Aug 09 06:08

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MikeP

"Your strident response to M.janet adaranijo is somewhat unnecessary. "
That's your opinion. I disagree.

"As for half the members of the forum being 'illiterate and mentally under resourced'! Well, you certainly are not illiterate . . . ."
I know that. Why not tell me something that I and others might need to know, instead of stating the obvious? What is your point?


*alaneroberts
11th Aug 09 07:08

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alaneroberts

MikeP,

Your strident response to M.janet adaranijo is somewhat unnecessary. Clearly, she should not be posting her telephone number. As for half the members of the forum being 'illiterate and mentally under resourced'! Well, you certainly are not illiterate . . . .
10th Aug 09 10:08

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alaneroberts

MoneyFirstCustomerLast ,

You need to speak to your bank and get a refund. You should be covered by the direct debit guarantee, I think.
10th Aug 09 10:08

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MoneyFirstCustomerLast

I have just experienced a similar thing. I cancelled my membership and direct debit three months ago. Lo and behold they have set up a direct debit again this month without my authorisation and taken £35 out of my account when I have not even been a member. They are a bunch of *&$%"!
3rd Aug 09 06:08

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MikeP

"the manager said that I should inform their head office .please help me to solve this problem"

If you are aged 10 or under then I suggest you ask a grown up to help you. If this is the case then read no further.

If you are older than 10 than I suggest that you are some kind of a retard. In fact the problem is you. You have clear instructions on how to proceed but you are asking for advice on a forum where half the users seem to be as illiterate and mentally under resourced, to put it kindly, as yourself.

Posting your phone number on a public forum is also stupid, it poses a risk to your personal security, particularly as one could assume that you live in Walthworth (wherever that is .... do you mean Walworth?)
31st Jul 09 07:07

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M.janet adaranijo

I moboluwaduro janet adaranijo joined fitnessfirst at walthworth on 30/07/09 and I signed for 1year contract but due to my job condition I want to change to monthly but the manager said that I should inform their head office .please help me to solve this problem.for any enquiry contact me on 07960708715
31st Jul 09 07:07

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Nic x

I can't stand fitness first...they are biggest gang of useless poor mannered & ill educated fitness centres I have ever used. I set up a three month trial period with them in January expecting the direct debits to stop at the end of march providing I didn't sign up to continue my membership for another 9 months like the member of staff told me.
Roll on April......dd went out of one account which was empty meaning a £38 overdraft charge!.....fuming, went upto fitness first to find out what was going on and they said if I don't cancel it myself then it will automatically jump to a 12month contract... I argued my point that the member of staff told me different to which I was basically called a liar as the manager responded with 'our staff are properly trained and without proof of her saying anything like that, we can't really use that' to which reply he got was 'who the FxxK carries a voice recorder to the gym'? Eventually I got told I wouldn't be refunded this months membership, it takes 30 days to cancel -meaning another payment...a £30 cancellation charge plus Im banned for being abusive towards staff and they wont refund my overdraft charges......£128 to cancel cheers WxxxxxxxxS.
Oh and if you think Fitness First are bad. DO NOT GET A PHONE FROM CARPHONE WAREHOUSE EVERRRRRRRRR!!!
28th Jul 09 01:07

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stephenbower42@yahoo.co.uk

I joined fitness first 4 months ago, very strictly on a month by month basis as I had been recently made redundant. The contract I signed was on the Lifestyle membership but had the minimum membership information crossed out. Last month I cancelled my membership, and this month cancelled my DD. now I am receiving letters threatening court action if I do not continue to pay my membership fee until the end of 12 months. I spoke to head office and they said their copy of the contract clearly stated 12 months minimum term. They sent another copy out to me and it sure does - CROSSED OUT - Speaking to them again today and apparantly they do not see the fact that all the text refering to minimum contract is crossed out makes any difference.
I'd just like to give Wayne from Fitness First Leicester Forest East a big thanks a lot buddy . . .
I won't be paying them a penny.
27th Jul 09 04:07

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alaneroberts

Thanks emmaf. I would say that another lesson to learn is NEVER EVER AGAIN fill in a direct debit mandate on a card, including a credit card. You do not have the same level of protection as a bank direct debit which you can simply cancel yourself. I wouldn't really accept having to pay until the end of August, although I take your point about having to put things in writing. It's up to you but one possible way of ensuring that no other payments are taken from your card is by contacting your card provider and reporting the card 'lost'. The card provider should then effectively cancel that card and issue you with another card that has a different account number. Another point also is that I'm assuming that you were initially told to wait until the end of June to cancel because that was the end of your 12 month contract? If that is the case, you need to check your contract because the Office of Fair Trading does not look kindly on 'automatic renewals. Does it say anything about automatic renewals? During the 12 month period, you can give notice of cancellation at any point because you are only committed to that 12 months. In other words, no notice period really is required if you are still 'within' the first 12 months. My advice is to try and stop any more further payments and then really sit down and think your situation through to see if there is any way of avoiding forking out any more money to this evil company.
13th Jul 09 07:07

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emmaf

I forgot to mention I had to complete a highly irritating questionnaire about what my goals were, had I fulfilled them and how important were my goals to me - not as important as getting my money back!
13th Jul 09 07:07

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emmaf

I have just learnt the hard way that you always need confirmation in writing. When I called Fitness First in January to say that I wanted to terminate my subscription I was told that I had to wait until the end of the year (30th June 09) and then my subscription would terminate automatically. So on 30th June I cancelled my direct debit but was surprised when on the 6th July Fitness First took a card payment from my account. I then called their Customer Services to be told that I had to give a month's notice but because I had cancelled my direct debit in June that was seen as cnacellation and the subscription would end 31st July. I was told to call Membership Service to "discuss the cancellation process" further (of course none of the groups talk to each other internally). Membership services told me I would have to pay until the end of August. I then learnt my lesson and asked for that in writing (email and letter by post).
13th Jul 09 06:07

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alaneroberts

Katrina, expect more letters from the so-called 'debt collection agency'. Don't let them frighten you. Try and respond briefly to each letter, clearly stating that you cancelled at the end of April; keep a copy of every letter. If you are contacted by telephone, remember you are in your own home; don't let yourself be intimidated by some horrible 'git' on the other end of the phone. I've found in the past that the best way to deal with them is to laugh long and loud before 'gently' replacing the receiver. Best of luck.
Jim Lover, I hope you are right. I hope Fitness First's expansion policy will backfire and that people will realise that it is just one, big money-grabbing machine, with little care for the satisfaction of its customers.
11th Jul 09 01:07

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Jim Lover

Totally agree. Fitness First took over my gym a couple of years ago and have slowly ruined it. So bizarre that they boast about being the biggest Gym in the world. Doesn't really mean much when your gyms/service are generally of poor quality. Am leaving Fitness First as of today and joining Nuffield/Cannons. They may be more expensive, but their facilities are exceptional and they seem to be run very professionally. Their agressive expansion policy will no doubt backfire one day when they have little or no members. Having dealt with them over my final payment/months notice and the shoddy way they run their gyms, I have gone from indifference to a point where I would actively/strongly discourage people from joining.
8th Jul 09 04:07

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Katrina

I have just encountered the very same problem with Fitness First and it is the second time they have done this to me. I handed a letter into the Runcorn Gym on 30th April (dated 30th April) giving one months written notice for my membership to terminate on 31st May 09. I paid my direct debit on 1st of May for the month of May but then received a letter in June demanding a further payment for the month of June. I contacted them to be told that they were informed by Runcorn that they didn't receive the letter until 6th of May and as far as they are concerned I am obliged to pay for the month of June. As far as I am concerned, this is an error caused by their own incompetence and I will not be paying any more monies to them. I would not recommend anyone join this Gym as they are rip off merchants who will stop at nothing to extort more money than they are legally entitled to from honest people like myself.
8th Jul 09 10:07

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alaneroberts

Take the trouble to read the posts in this gripe, especially the earlier ones. Don't pay! Stick with it! Go to court if you have to!
17th Jun 09 11:06

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MadwithFitness

Same story here. During my visit to the health and beauty centre located inside Fitness First (but independent of them) I was allowed to use the Sauna which did not work. Stupidly thought it was just one of those days and signed up for a three month contract with one free month. Within the first 3 weeks I decided to cancel. I contacted them by phone as I was scheduled to leave the country urgently and would not benefit from the service. I was told I would be called back re the matter; also a personal trainer never contacted me until after I made a request to cancel. I had to call them several times before they asked me to make payment before cancelling. By this time I was seeing red due to their slack customer service. I cancelled my dd, upon receiving debt collection letters; I wrote telling them to check their system. I have never swiped to use the gym during the 3month term.

I cannot pay 112pounds for a service I have never used. Anyone know what rights we have? I am also prepared to go to court.
13th Jun 09 05:06

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alaneroberts

hate gym's, well said! Your post reflects the despicable nature of this awful company. The only thing I would add is that direct debits should be cancelled with the bank yourself - don't rely on Fitness First to do it. They will quite happily continue to take out the money. Further, NEVER set up a direct debit via a credit card - that is a nightmare to cancel.
6th Jun 09 08:06

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hate gym's

I had problem after problem with fitness first. I signed up to a 3 month contract and was going quite regularly. After 2 and a half months I received a letter saying FINAL DEMAND and that they wrote to me before, which they had not! Asking me for money I owed. At the time I was not aware if the money was coming out or not as everything was set up using my boyfriends bank details. But still I did NOT receive any letter before the FINAL DEMAND. I went in to pay it off, then asked the girl at the counter if we could cancel mine and my boyfriends contract (on the contract it says you can either write a letter or make an appointment with the general manager to fill out a cancellation form). She said she'll just take our names and number and she'll get someone to cancel it for us. Which I thought was better than messing about with letters and forms. We did not her from them so we thought it was sorted, however, my boyfriend was still being charged for his membership. We went back and they said he hasn't canceled his membership and mine was already canceled during the first 3 months.We asked to speak to the manager and the girl said that we couldn't. Well I wasn't leaving until we did. We finally spoke to the manager who didn't want to help! Everything we said, he said "I don't understand" Why be a manager if you don't understand what someone is saying to you?!?!?!? The whole time they were trying to get rid of us. Giving us head office number. I asked for a complaints form and they wouldn't give me one. I have never seen such poor customer service in my life. I work in customer service and I would never speak to a customer how they spoke to me. The staff need proper training and the management need to be sacked if they can't do their job. DON'T JOIN FITNESS FIRST, DON'T BELIEVE WHAT THEY TELL YOU, NOT ALL IS TRUE!
5th Jun 09 11:06

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nhkossmann

Fitness Firts is the worst company in UK. They have very unclear policies and their 10 days money guaranteed is just all fake...don't go for all these very bad and greedy companies like Fitness First!!!
1st Jun 09 08:06

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alaneroberts

doh! Gym fan, you need to concentrate more on exercising your brain rather than your body! Your post is a bit . . . . muscular in a really dense kind of way!
9th May 09 08:05

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Gym fan

Well I think everyone is missing the point. The OP said his reason for cancelling is basically lack of motivation, ie. cannot be bothered to go to the gym. Well why not simply carry on going to the gym and then it will not be an issue.
1st Apr 09 01:04

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boras

FF.I am going through a bad experience.when I asked them to cancel my membership they asked me to pay the half term membership fees then they will terminate the contract they said and agent said that it is on offer. what about vat . they are not following the vat charges. Recently there are changes for vat. they are not implementing that vat change.
31st Mar 09 10:03

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Kazu

I agreee. Fitness First provide: dirty showers, changing rooms with noisey TVs, used towels over the floor, plastic bags and other rubbish which isn't cleared up for hours, as well as the added bonus of instructors who don't even know the names of moves they are supposed to instruct. Oh, and they'll cancel classes without notice meaning you waste time getting to the gym and back for no reason.
29th Mar 09 09:03

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alaneroberts

yeah, yeah 'no name' (your 'name' says it all). Get off your soap box! Or go and travel to the planet Vulcan - I'm sure you will be made welcome there, "it's all logical see?" Yuk!
12th Mar 09 08:03

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no name

Do you read a contract before you put your signature on it? When you book a flight ticket online do you read term & con? I don’t think so’ you just simply click the button that you agree because you are lazy to read it and on the end you don't know the correct procedure .It’s same with mobile phone contracts, banks accounts etc.
It’s easy to blame customer service, bad communication. Blame yourself.
10th Feb 09 09:02

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JOEY

Right now I am dealing with exactly the same situation as you described above. I am not taking this lightly; I will even take it to a small claims court. Because I used the information that was given, thinking there was no further obligation to Fitness First and I joined a next gym club (I moved home). They should have learnt by now that they need to change their policy and the receptionist or the person at the end of the phone should give you the correct information, if they don't know or are not advise to do so, they should state this clearly and advise you to book an appointment with the relevant person. If you contact me via e-mail: I will like to get some names, so that I can use it to provide evidence of the unfair consumer treatment that we hard working people have to undergo.
jj_self@excite.com
29th Jan 09 12:01

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Bartender

I am not surprised to see so many comments here. Its very important to get the copy of your contract with FF. When a person joins they say lot of things but when you cancel you find the true terms and conditions are not the same as it was verbally told. They casually say "you need to give one months notice" they never say that the notice will start from 1st of next month :). I faced a similar situation, I dont think I can do anything but to pay for an additional month even though I didnt use the gym. FF is a very greedy company but I guess its doing well financially and their gym seems to be full, so why worry about ethics n all. :)
16th Dec 08 12:12

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alaneroberts

Steve, stop being so patronising. It's not simply a matter of reading a contract, it's a matter of fairness and of effective communication, neither of which Fitness First seems capable of doing. READ THE ORIGINAL POSTING and make the effort to look at some of the earlier postings. DON'T BE A LAZY!
29th Nov 08 10:11

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AVATAR123

I had similar experience and I completely agree with you and I wish more people can search on Google by saying "Cheater Fitness First" or "Bad cancellation policy".
26th Nov 08 05:11

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Steve

Upon POSTING your letter, the notice takes effect the FOLLOWING month and ENDS ON THAT MONTH. So if your membership ends on January 2008, you should had posted your letter during December 2007. READ YOUR CONTRACT'S TERMS AND CONDITIONS!

But you do have a leg to stand on in court if you had not read the contract at all, agreed everything verbally because you trusted the employee who was 'the expert' and you know no better.
22nd Nov 08 07:11

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alaneroberts

Anonymous, in your case, I would just ignore it. It is almost a certainty that they will not take you to court. If they do, make sure you attend and state your case. These companies assume that people will not bother to attend, so it is left to a judge in his office, on his own, to decide. Turn up, and it will be you and just the judge - an opportunity to give him the details.
22nd Nov 08 10:11

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Anonymous

I recently received an aggressive letter regarding my Fitness First membership. the letter was from a debt collection agency named Easy Date.. I was told that failure to pay my outstanding balance would result in Court summons. I have had no contact from Fitness First and have not been a member for over 5 months. I found this all very confusing, especially the name of the company. I am refusing to pay the money as yet and have heard nothing since. Don't know if anyone has had any similar dealings or stories..?
16th Nov 08 04:11

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cj

AB I have experience in cancelling my fitness first and not paying the outstanding fees, They just go to debt collection agencies who you offer an amount to. They normally say no and sell the debt on and the roundabout spins on. Over two years I still owe the same I did when I cancelled hehe
30th Jul 08 09:07

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JR

I read the gripe about fitness first and my sun has had the same problem being charged a month. he went to the Gym where he was a member and verbally cancelled the contract and was told to cancel his direct debit and that would be sufficient. I live overseas most of the year and I feel I and my family are being mislead constantly in this country and never wish to live or work in the UK in the near future.
30th Jul 08 03:07

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AB

Hi everyone. I have attempted to cancel my membership becuase I am moving away to america but have been advised I would need to make a payment of £150 as I have signed onto a 12month term and I am only 4 months into it. Can anyone advise what steps Fitness first take to reclaim their debt? Obviously I don't want a bad credit rating. But I just want to know whether it is just debt collectors who I will offer £2 a month for payment or whether they go ahead with CCJ's. Does anyone have any knowledge/experience before I cancel my direct debits and start to play hard ball with them?
25th Jul 08 10:07

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Norm

We could not agree more with you about fitness first. Seems all very one sided. we were told we could put our payment on freeze but not that it extended the policy and they have never given an exact date when our "contract" was up. The SMALL print certainly wants to be a lot bigger and as usual a reminder to us all that contracts are to be read- espcially with a company like Fitness First.
23rd Jun 08 02:06

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Alaneroberts

What do you mean you cannot be bothered to cancel your card? In that case, you have no real reason to moan. If you have evidence that you have cancelled your membership, then you are supposed to ring up your credit card provider, inform them of that fact, and put the amounts incorrectly debited into 'dispute'.
It is possible also to inform your credit card provider that your card has been 'lost', and this will put a 'stop' on your card and you will be issued with a new card with a new number.
Andy, do us all a favour and take control of the situation! It amazes me how so many people seem to feel so disempowered, and allow greedy, money-grabbing companies like Fitness First to rob them of their hard earned money. What is that all about? I certainly cannot relate to such an attitude and, hopefully, never will. Dear me!
9th Jun 08 11:06

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Andy

Just had exactly the same thing. Canceled my membership on April 20th. Allowed them to bill me on May 5th then canceled the direct debit. Just noticed they have used my Debit Card details to rob me of another £37! so that 2.5months i've now paid for. Completely disgusted. I can't be bothered to cancel my card.
9th Jun 08 04:06

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TOMMO

I had that exact experience with FF as well, culminating yesterday when I paid them for the month I owed. I tried to request the terms and conditions from them twice to clarify before hand. The 1st time they were sent to the wrong address, the 2nd time I don't think they were sent at all. I was told yesterday by their 'Customer Services' that it was conveinient for me that I hadn't received the T&Cs, implying that I was stalling on paying them back. Incidently, I decided to leave, after being a member in a Suffolk town since 2005, because the gyms were dirty, equipment poor, the staff rude (there were 3 very good exceptions to this) and that everytime I was there, they were always showing more and more people round, cramming people in, taking there money. The gym must have been 300-400% over-subscribed. I'm going to try and get my money back for the way I was treated yesterday by a certain RH in the credit control department, I could be p'ing into the wind.

The Office of Fair Trading Guidance on Unfair Terms and Conditions in Health & Fitness Agreements may help anyone trying to get some money back from them.

They are bullys and conmen and there business is appalling.
30th May 08 08:05

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splitty

Absolutley. The same thing has happened to me after clearly being told (admittedly by what looked like a very junior member of staff) that my membership would only run for 3 months.
23rd May 08 12:05

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alaneroberts

Surely this is completely unacceptable and you should insist that your bank refunds you the money. Don't let this drop!
8th May 08 11:05

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LH

I have had a very similar experience. Cancelled my direct debit due to appalling customer relations and they took money out of my account using my debit card details, without even a courtesy phone call to tell me they were doing so. I am utterly disgusted with them.
8th May 08 09:05

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alaneroberts

SH,

This sounds quite typical - a significant number of people have had problems with their contracts when relocating. Fitness First can only seem to work on the 'short-term', not realising that the way they are treating you and others is bad for long term business. The culture of working within Fitness First is clearly one of a money-grabbing disregard for the well-being of their customers. Whatever you do, do not pay. One of the things that Fitness First is so eager to "sell" to new customers is that they are essentially joining a nationwide network of gyms. Quite reasonably, you joined and asked about what would happen if you were to relocate. You did, and at no fault of your own, the gym in Edinburgh wsa closed for a year. It would be unreasonable of them in those circumstances to expect you to simply 'freeze' your membership. So, you are quite right to cancel. Now, you must NOT let yourself be intimidated by them. If they persist, expect CARS to come onto the scene, and they are just a bunch of complete gits not even worthy of acknowledging their existence (although do respond to every letter with a letter of your own, and do not get into a conversation with them on the telephone). Good luck!
7th Apr 08 07:04

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SH

I am VERY disappointed with Fitness First on so many levels. First of all their gyms are filthy and breading ground for MRSA. Second, it was explained to me that when I joined Fitness First if I was to relocate I could transfer my membership to that Fitness First. I have been relocated for work up to Edinburgh and the only Fitness First in all of Edinburgh has closed for at least a year. The members of that Fitness First had the option to cancel or freeze their memberships. I decided to cancel. They tried to charge me for the remainder of the contract stating that "Not their fault I am moving, and that the Fitness First that I joined is not closing" So, they feel no obligation. I really think that this is BAD BUSINESS!!
7th Apr 08 07:04

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alaneroberts

KL, do not allow yourself to be intimidated. The so-called 'Debt Collectors' - CARS - are just a bunch of snivelling, manipulative, scum bags that try to intimidate. Stick to your defence. Reply to every letter in writing. Do NOT bother to telephone - a complete waste of time. DO NOT allow them to telephone you. Meet their arrogance head-on.
18th Mar 08 11:03

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KL

I agree, they even sent the Debt Collectors on me and now I have been asked to pay for the whole of March because they received my letter in February.

1. Their phones lines are always busy! Couldn't pay for January just before I left for my holidays. Got back, Debt Collectors on my back with an extra £25 admin fee!
2. Wrote to complain and to cancel my membership
3. Didn't get an ackowledgement but the usual letter asking me to pay up my monthly membership fee.
4. They do not promote all typs of fitness, it's all about profit!
5. Seems like each gym has their own policy and membership fees.
6. Changing rooms are dirty
7. Showers drip......!!! very bad quality.

I suggest you contact this person whose wants to do a research for a TV show ( I think) and tell her your story: aimee@flametv.co.uk

We should not let companies like this get away with conning people.
14th Mar 08 09:03

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Disgruntled

My wife & I joined joined Fitness First Cheltenham about a year ago. Took out a trial 3 month membership before signing up for a full 12 months. At the time I signed up for the full 12 months I discovered that they had put the prices up by over 10%, on the premise of upgrading to a 'Platinum club' - this appears to mean absolutely nothing otheer than giving them an excuse to increase the prices. We are now coming to leave and have discovered that a months notice period is required, something that we were never told at the time.
11th Mar 08 12:03

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Fee

I can only tell anyone who reads this to join another gym other than fitness first. I had a similar experience as above where I signed for 3 month's, though the gym said I had signed for 12 months. As I was unable to go to the gym, I was paying for the membership for an extra 7 months without using it. It was only when I found my contract 7 months later, which I knew all along that I had signed a 3 month contract.
On top of this, they were so unprofessional in handling this complaint.
5th Mar 08 11:03

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alaneroberts

Mmmmm......so a nice positive message from Anon. I wonder? Perhaps a sad, little, lowly paid fitness first employee? WOW, actually I can say that Fitness First is the worlds biggest, most crappest health club chain in the world. Facilities can be rubbish, staff generally disinterested. Just think of all those people who you are getting incredibly stressed and irritated by your money-grabbing, greedy, probably illegal cancellation policy. Can I just say you people who join health club's it's your responsibility to avoid Fitness First like the plague, you are an adult, so wise up and realise that unlike some other health clubs, Fitness First is the pits. So, lay into FITNESS FIRST as much as policy and reclaim your life, free it from the idiots who represent this incredibly poor health club.
28th Feb 08 11:02

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Anon

I have been a member of fitness first and can I say WOW your the worlds biggest health club chain in the world. Facilities are great, staff are very friendly Just think of all those people who you are getting to achieve there goals. Can I just say you people who join health clubs it's your responsibility to read a contract you are an adult and I have found many other health clubs the same as what you guys are trying to say. So lay of FITNESS FIRST and get a life!!!
27th Feb 08 09:02

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alaneroberts

My sympathies with your experience of Fitness First. The level of incompetence that they display at all levels can be breath-taking. However, one thing that they always manage to do in terms of 'keeping their eye on the ball' so to speak, is MONEY. Their incompetence usually means that the customer is left 'out of pocket' rather than them. So, cancel the direct debit and terminate your membership as a matter of urgency!

Good luck!
4th Jan 08 01:01

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itness? couldnt be first cos

FF gave me an incorrect membership when I joined in Nottingham, I clearly stated & included on the app form that my permenant address is in Leicester & would need to use both Gyms in Notts & leices, when I started using the Gym in Leices aswell all was OK for 1 month, then I was told by the Leices Gym that my membership wasnt valid to use that gym & I would have to go to Nottingham, I called Nottingham FF & they could not deal with my query & I would have to speak to Leicester FF, Leicester said I would need to speak to Notts who then upgraded my membership & ignored my initial complaint & said I would be unable to canx my membership, then about 1mnth later Leices FF told me Notts FF was closing so I asked them to transfer my membership to Leices, then I get a letter from the new owners of the Notts Gym which I ignored as I had spoken to Leices Gym & already requested my membership to be moved to Leices FF, then New gym owners have claimed a d/d from my account which I have duly requested back & now they are saying I am in a binding contract with them which is rubbish because I signed a contract with FF... incompetant & possibly the worst service possible.
4th Jan 08 11:01

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alaneroberts

ff evader,

You haven't entered into a credit agreement with FF. Your credit file will not be affected.
You have legitimate reasons to cancel your membership.

Don't worry about it. Just keep a careful record of dates/correspondance so that you will always be clear about your position and ready to defend yourself should you need to.

Don't be bullied by CARS - the debt collection agency used by FF.
11th Dec 07 11:12

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ff evader

I went to a ff in Wales. I signed up on the pretence I could leave if my job contacted was not renewed (as advised by there induction staff). Low and behold it wasn't so I ended up leaving Wales, moving more than 10 miles away from a ff with no job as allowed in the contract. So I tried in fane to cancel my contact. Not finding I could, I left Wales for good and walked straight into my bank to cancel my direct debit. I did however leave a letter at the ff in Wales before hand. I no longer live at the address I signed up with ff and I happen to lose the mobile number I gave them. I can’t help but feel a very bad taste in my mouth. Granted the debt collection agency and ff have not contacted me but I am left wondering how far they will go too contact me. I am just wondering can they give me a CCJ even though im not in contact with them or being fully aware of it being processed. Looking at the comments on this site I have yet to find someone that has been successfully taken to court by these w*****s. any feed back would be nice.
7th Dec 07 01:12

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MattC

Jim,

Regarding your advice to Doormatt. The contract with FF is not a credit agreement as such, so it is highly unlikely to effect future mortgage applications. A CCJ is also highly unlikely - CARS tend to be full of 'bluff', preferring themselves to try and bully the money out of people whilst keeping costs to an absolute minimum.

I think my advice stands to Doormatt - just keep out of it and let your son's residence in Australia work to his considerable advantage.
16th Nov 07 11:11

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Jim

Alan,
That's the nail on the head - the 'pally pally' sales pitch. It's what convinces us to sign a £700 contract without reading the t's and c's. Even though you sign to say you have read them..."by signing this contract you are agreeing to to the terms and conitions".
Yes it's very easy to say you don't have time to read through every terms and conditions, but surely enough time to check the key notice and payment issues? Otherwise you are exposed to this sort of chaos. If you get into bed with a murderer, don't be surprised if he kills you.

Doormatt,
If your son is not expecting to be in London then write to the debt collectors and FF to explain and ride it out. If you son expects to return, will he want a CCJ? Could it mess up mortgage applications at a later date? Personally I would go back to FF and moan like hell. Try Suzanne Loughaine at the Poole head office, don't know the number off hand. She is Sales Director I think - something like that.
16th Nov 07 03:11

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MattC

If he received nothing in return then it would seem that he does have some case. Fitness First tend to very quickly pass non-collection accounts over to a debt collection agency - it is part of their extraordinarily aggressive approach to people they think owe them money.

Remember, this is not a criminal matter. Your son is in Australia. I say again, your son is in Australia!. My advice to you as his mother is to leave well alone and return further letters to the sender unopened. It is a matter for your son, as simple as that. I would suggest that there are some data-protection issues here - it is not right that FF should send a copy of a signed contract to you when the contract concerns someone else.

Although I understand your motivation, stop being the interfering mother. Sometimes it pays to do nothing!
16th Nov 07 08:11

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doormatt

My son has just returned to Aus from a year or so in London. FF have chased him for non-payment of membership fees. It seems that he has signed up for a 12 month membership (pity he didn't see this site first). He has received nothing in return, no membership card, no nothing. He has not attended any sessions at the gym. He is now in Australia.
One of my son's ex-housemates sent him a copy of the debt collectors' threatening letter re Court action if he doesn't pay something in excess of 500 pounds. I am assuming this amount includes the debt collectors fees.
I am getting the impression that FF have sold the debtors' list to the debt collectors, as sometimes happens here in Australia, and the debt collectors then chase the debtor. Can anyone confirm this?
I have requested a detailed account and a copy of my son's signed contract. Does he have a leg to stand on? Has anyone else had an experience of this type?
16th Nov 07 04:11

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alaneroberts

Jim,

Of course we should take responsibility. However, consumers can take responsibility by 'asking' about the notice period. Unfortunately, as human beings we do tend to be easily taken in by other human beings. On the one hand, Fitness First like to have this 'pally pally', one-on-one relationship when signing up to membership. On the other hand, they are quite prepared to 'cut corners' to ensure that the consumer signs up. I was verbally told that the required membership would be 'a months notice' which I took on good faith because I accepted that this was a reasonable requirement. I understood this to mean 'a month' from whichever date the notice was given. So, if given on the 6th of January, it would effectively carry over to the 6th of February, and the overall payment would be calculated on a simple pro-rata basis - hardly taxing for the worst of mathematicians.

In an ideal world, we would all carefully read the terms and conditions. If we had the time. Fitness First's terms and conditions number a total of 10.8, in tiny print, covering 3 columns of a sheet the width of but much longer than A4. What I am trying to say, Jim, is that it is TOO EASY to be pedantic about terms and conditions and point out that we should read them all. We sign up in a busy gym, having been charmed by the sales representative, with the priorities of health and fitness on mind and the nervousness of joining a gym whilst conscious perhaps of one's excess weight and appearance. Yes, let's read the terms and conditions but lets also be realistic about the situation and acknowledge that we are not all lawyers who get rich poring over the legal ins and outs of gym contracts.

Anyway, if you read the many, many posts to this thread, the cases are far more complex than a simple failure to read terms and conditions. One of the main issues is the simple laziness of the 'credit control' department of Fitness First to even acknowledge cancellation letters, as in my case.
12th Nov 07 08:11

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Jim

Yes I do think it's reasonable to have to give a full clear calendar months notice. I appreciate that this isn't stated in the FF contract - so I'm suggesting that it should be, and in my opinion that is a justified notice period. The extreme for the consumer is that it could turn out to be 8 weeks notice - which doesn't seem all that severe to me as a worst case scenario. Everybody would know that their membership expired at the end of the following month. I kinda think that once a month has started, and you are a member, then you are committed to paying for that month and it shouldn't form part of the notice period. That just seems sensible to me...wrong for FF and all other health club companies for not making notice periods clear - because it's not very difficult.


Esporta's 12 month contract used to be a credit agreement. Esporta were borrowing the whole years money up front from a finance company and the consumer was agreeing to pay it back monthly. If you tried to leave within the 12 month you got a bayliff knocking at your door!!
Esporta got a kicking for mis-selling the memberships as people argued they were not made aware of the 3 month notice period. What amazes me is that people were prepared to sign up to a £60 per month membership and comit to a whole year, so £720, and not read the t's & c's. They then moan when they find out they have to pay 3 months notice or risk getting poor credit. I think as consumers we should take responsibility to read through t's and c's when spending several hundred pounds and not just taking the word of a slaes assistant who is probably on commission.
12th Nov 07 05:11

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Rob

At least it's not as bad as Esporta .... West End Tennis and Health Club in Southsmpton have managed to hide 3-CALENDAR (rather than 3-months) MONTHS as their notice period.

They also have a membership department that REFUSE to responsd to messages left at the club or emails sent via their website.
11th Nov 07 02:11

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alaneroberts

Jim,

As Graham points out, you are expressing ignorance about the actual terms of the Fitness First contract. I was the one who initiated this topic and if you would actually 'bother' to read the first post, it clearly lays out that Fitness First can effectively demand almost two months notice to terminate the contract. If you 'bothered' to read the very many posts, you would see that Fitness First has treated people in an extremely shoddy and underhand manner, employing aggressive, inflexible and uncaring practices that wouldn't be expected of any half-reputable company.

To the anonymous posting,

You clearly work for Fitness First as your posting is just blatant propaganda. How sad is that? Or is it pathetic? Definetely one or the other.
8th Nov 07 08:11

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Graham B

Jim, if FF's terms and conditions were as you suggest then that would be in improvement, however, they are not. Instead FF has a calendar month notice requirement, which it interprets as follows: If you give notice on say 2nd January, you would have to pay the membership fees for the whole of January, and also the whole of February (i.e. there has to be a clear calendar month). So you could end up having to give as much as 8 weeks' notice...to leave a gym!? Of course, the intended meaning of "calendar month" (which is arguable in any event) is not defined in the contract terms and is only explained to customers once they tell FF they wish to cancel. Still think that sounds reasonable?? As Laura says, Watchdog has taken FF to task because it agrees its customers are being badly treated. I'm sure they have made the effort to arm themselves with the facts, unlike you who just comes across as a bit of a numpty.
8th Nov 07 04:11

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Laura

Jim, maybe if you'd care to read the comments here, you would see that the majority of people are not complaining about the £25 charge. It is the contract and its terms that are unfair. Watchdog agree with us or why would they have bothered? The CAB & Lawyers also agree that the contract is unfair and as a result the contract terms will be changing. So I dont know about people here being "FAT AND STUPID" but maybe if you were clever enough to read the issues here your own comments might be valid!
8th Nov 07 02:11

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Jim

I think it is acceptable for a health club to charge people for the whole calendar month in which they leave. Irrespective of when the direct debit leaves your account you are paying for that month. My experience of health clubs is that they add on - or give away the extra days in the month you join. So if you join on the 24th of the month then they either add 1 week to you first payment or they give it to you free and take membership from the 1st of the next month. I think the consumers have to take a little responsibility and hand their notice in at the optimum time...otherwise we might as well revert to 'pay as you go' which would irritate a lot of people.

There is a victim support group for people who feel aggrieved by this particular issue from "big, faceless, greedy" health club companies - it's called We ARE FAT AND STUPID.
8th Nov 07 11:11

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Graham B

Anon,

Reading your post, the question that immediately sprang to mind was "how can someone type while wearing a straight jacket?". You are clearly a bit simple so it wouldn't be fair to rip your child-like offering to shreds. Suffice to say though, you've obviously missed the point here! It is the company's morally bankrupt approach to business and total lack of respect for its customers that people most object to. And if you think that FF can get you to achieve your goals, it is perhaps you that needs to get a life (not to mention more inspiring goals)!!!
7th Nov 07 12:11

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Anon

I have been a member of fitness first and can I say WOW your the worlds biggest health club chain in the world. Facilities are great,staff are very friendly Just think of all those people who you are getting to achieve there goals. Can I just say you people who join health clubs it's your responsibility to read a contract you are an adult and I have found many other health clubs the same as what you guys are trying to say. So lay of FITNESS FIRST and get a life!!!
7th Nov 07 12:11

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ex ff employee

Having worked at Fitness First's "Head Office" it is no surprise to read the many stories concerning ex members negative experiences at the hands of this cowboy run company!
It was no real surprise that they ended up being on Watchdog last night, just wondered what took them so long to take them on!

In the short time I was employed there I saw many dodgy practices, largely by unscrupulous membership consultants based in their clubs who are poorly paid & heavily targeted to get sales, blatant theft by their Credit Control department, difficult cancellation processes to squeeze more money out of members & none of this money put back into the maintenance of their clubs! What is annoying is that they claim in last nights show that they had made errors in these incidents & wanted to give viewers the impression these were isolated but I dealt with 100's of members that were treated the same as this & some worse!

All Fitness First care about is money, that much is evident when regularly they allow their Customer Service team to struggle on as little as 3-4 people for the whole of the UK (that's around 185+ gyms) & the staff are also expected to include the Customer Service for their gym based staff too, yet their Credit Control team runs with 20 or so people.

I hope being on Watchdog will give them the shake up they need, at least they realise they can't carry on treating people in this way. Well done to those that contacted WD & made this happen!
1st Nov 07 05:11

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alaneroberts

Bellzie,

Thanks for the details. My apologies if I sounded a bit 'paranoid' in my previous post but so many people have complained about the underhand tactics of Fitness First that it is perhaps not surprising. Of course, the original posting is about the 'Fitness First cancellation policy' and clearly cancelling membership was not an issue for you. I would speculate that if you had decided to CANCEL your membership, then you may well have initiated a very different experience. I accept your comment about the helpfulness of the staff at Bury-St-Edmunds and they should be congratulated. However, beware of the staff at the head office 'credit control department' - Nicola and her cronies - because they are like 'smiling assassins' who would just love to pass your account to CARS because they are simply incapable themselves of showing intelligency, flexibility, understanding and basic human decency in many of the cases that they deal with.
28th Oct 07 11:10

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Bellzie

I was not trying to conpensate with my view of my own experience I was just simply adding my comment.

I was a member of fitness first bury-st-edmunds and I had a great experience when I lost weight there, and when I needed to move I was given alot of time by them to help me find my nearest gym so that I could carry on my membership, and the staff at the club were really helpful too. And I think that I speak on behalf of other members that feel that it is a shame that it is not available for much longer.

I am not disagreeing with the things that people have said I was just a bit shocked. Now I am aware that no everones opinion is the same, and I am sorry for your experiences they don't sound like very good ones.
28th Oct 07 08:10

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alaneroberts

Bellzie,

It is a very great pity that your one positive comment so woefully and inadequatefully fails to compensate for the extremely negative experience that the rest of us have had. It is a pity that you fail to leave any specfic details about the particular club (town) of which you are a member, and any particular details of the 'queries' that you have had and that have so admirably been addressed by the staff at Fitness First.

No details? Mmmm . . . . I wonder why that is? Interestingly, you state that 'staff go out of their way in making "us individuals". Are you speaking as an individual? Or are you speaking on behalf of many? If so, how so?

Mmmmm . . . . somehow, your posting doesn't quite add up . . . . I feel a bit queasy so I need to go now . . . . yuk!
28th Oct 07 12:10

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Bellzie

I am shocked to hear that there are so many negative views about fitness first. I have nothing but positive comments for fitness first and they have excelled in their customer service to help me through my queries, and am sad to hear these comments as they are the opposite of my happy experience with them. I always felt a valid member, and the staff went out of their way in making us individuals and not part of a large money making machine.
26th Oct 07 08:10

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Laura

Hi, Everyone

Please get in touch with Watchdog about Fitness First

I informed Watchdog about Fitness First and one of there researchers called me and she was very interested and appauled at the way Fitness First treat people

I told her that Fitness First are only interested in the money and harrass people via Text Message, Mobile phone calls and theses demanding CARS letters

I explained what the CAB said about unfair terms of contract

Please email Watchdog via the BBC website. The more people who complain about this the better

Fortunately for me, my FF problem has now been sorted but I still want them to be sorted out!!
25th Oct 07 05:10

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alaneroberts

TC,

£10 for a copy of your contract? How absolutely ridiculous. Over the space of my correspondance with Fitness First/CARS, they sent me 3 copies of my contract. The idea of a 'charge' would have been absolutely ridiculous.

I dout that any County Court would look favourably on you being charged for a copy of your contract. Say "to hell with you", stick to your guns and refuse to pay anything. These people become more disgusting by the day!
11th Oct 07 11:10

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TC

I have had CARS on to me following my gym cancellation due t the health hazard of the Gym constantly getting skin rashes and irritations that needed prescription drugs. I have requested copies of the contract to which they said there would be a charge of £10. There contracts are a method to extort money from people that have been paying GYM membership for many years. I think it unlikely that any of these people will ever return or recommend Fitness First.
11th Oct 07 02:10

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alaneroberts

Bill,

An excellent letter. Expresses my sentitments - and I suspect of many others - of this disgusting company clearly and humourously. Keep up the good work.
10th Oct 07 08:10

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Bill

This is the text of my recent letter to Fitness First:

Fitness First Membership and Credit Control Dept
Re Member 1xxx
Holborn Branch
London

Dear Sirs,

Life is simply too short to have anything further to do with your irritating and aggressive company. Please cancel my gym membership forthwith and make a note that this is a result of your way over the top policies when a direct debit has been missed. The cost incurred as a result has not only been disproportionate, but the experience in general, when a gym is intended to enhance one’s quality life rather than add to your woes and stress levels mean that I never want to so much as think of Fitness First ever again.

The gyms themselves are really not that great in the first place; they smell of stale sweat and general body odour, they are crowded to an unacceptable degree, members cannot take a shower without catching athlete’s foot, and lastly as the novelty of gym membership rapidly fades you realise that most of your branches are damp putrid basements, more appropriate for storing old boilers, which indeed is a fairly accurate description of most of your female staff and members.

As you can see I am not a happy customer, and from now on will relish putting Fitness Last. In fact I am off to spend my next month’s subscription on a large and fattening lunch, and hereafter I will exercise in the park and fresh air as human beings were intended to do. If I miss anything of the monotony I will have a gerbil’s wheel installed on the wall of my living room.

Yours sincerely,

WRCCC
9th Oct 07 01:10

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FFhater

Fitness first is awful for this. I wrote to them to give my notice on 23rd July 2007 that I would be making my last payment August 2008 making August my last active month. Then in September 4th I recieved a call from them asking why I hadent paid septembers fees, after a lengthly disscusion with one of their rude phone monkeys we resolved the issue. By the end of September I had a FINAL NOTICE letter issued. When I phoned to ask what was going on they claimed they had not processed it until the end of August. Not my fault their staff are incompetent! Apparantly it is though. Have contacted trading standards and will probably take them to court before they take me!
4th Oct 07 12:10

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alaneroberts

In response to the previous post.

What a lazy person you must be. You obvously haven't bothered to read the many posts to this particular topic, otherwise you wouldn't make such a pathetically irrelevant comment. 'Just talk to them' you say - I'm rolling over with laughter. You haven't got a clue mate!
26th Sep 07 06:09

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R

Rubbish - if they see your letter was dated prior they won't hold you to February! Just talk to them! Honestly - get something better to moan about.
26th Sep 07 02:09

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Peter

Most people have heard of Al Capone the notorious American gangster in the 1920s that did everything he could to line his pockets by extracting money from innocent victims, by fraud and extortion. I never realised that this type of illegal behaviour was allowed to happen in England today. Until that is, I joined The Gym Club in Ipswich. I was offered a one-month free trial at The Next Generation Gym club. I told them I was not a resident in England and was over oholiday, but their time- share tactics persuaded me to join. I was told I could cancel at any time and re-new when I visited England the next time. However I was only able to use their facilities on two occasions as I injured the base of my spine on their faulty electro magnetic abdominal machine, and have needed therapy ever since. I phoned next Generation gym club to cancel my membership. To my surprise, I was told I had to give three months notice and had to pay the full yearly membership before I could even consider leaving. I was not told this at the time of joining.
The Next Generation Gym Club are now trying to extort £777.20 with £140 court costs plus …listen to this 8% interest for just two visits to the gym club. Is this not extortion to the first degree? Tell me about your problems you have had so no other unsuspecting victims can fall foul to this fraud, and forced into debt by this extortion racket.
A contract by definition is a document between two or more persons with conditions reasonable and acceptable to all parties and in accordance with the law. The contract by the gym clubs is not reasonable or fair to all parties and therefore is deemed unjust enrichment to only the gym club which is not lawful.

Email me on peterwithpain@ yahoo.com
12th Sep 07 06:09

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Brad

I agree something needs to be done. I don't know how many of us need to write to Trading Standards before action is taken but clearly the more the merrier. I am not sure whether anyone else has come across the Office of Fair Trading's 2002 report 'Guidance on unfair terms in health and fitness club arrangements' but it makes interesting reading (well, interesting if you are an 'interested party'!) and I believe FF's standard contract still includes clauses which fall foul of some of the OFT's observations. All good ammunition, should anyone actually get to court.
4th Sep 07 06:09

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Laura

So Fitness First took a £25.95 cancellation fee from me, and agreed that my membership would be cancelled due to a supporting letter from my doctor. 2 weeks later and CARS have send me a FINAL DEMAND for £258 and a warning that I will be taken to court.

I have kept all my letters about this and still have my (unsigned!!) contract so I hope they do take me to court.. They will have some explaining to do and then THEY will have to pay up.

What a mess. Obviously when a dispute is settled Fitness First dont even have the competency to communicate with CARS to close the case.

I have written to Trading Standards & even Emailed Watchdog about Fitness First. The Citezins Advice weren't even surprised when I told them it was Fitness First. They have to deal with this all the time

Something has to be done!
4th Sep 07 03:09

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alaneroberts

Graham,

Thanks very much for that advice. Yes, judging from the website, it seems that you are right about CARS. I've refused to allow myself to be bullied by them and stated that I am prepared to go to court, if necessary. I haven't heard from them now for quite some time. Like you say, it is probably very doubtful that they would take me to court because of the costs involved. I am somewhat disappointed really as I strongly believe that I am in the right and I wanted to state this to a presiding judge and put the contract to the test.

Interesting to that you say LOVEFILM use CARS. I've been in 2 minds about cancelling my contract with LOVEFILM recently, and that revelation has made up my mind to cancel asap.

Cheers Graham. I hope other readers take heart from your post also - I get the impression that some are too easily "caving-in" to the bullying tactics of FF and CARS. I never thought that I could hate a company so much . . .
31st Aug 07 12:08

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fitenss first victim

FFV,
Thanks for all the feedback for today,I am feelimg that I am not alone in this battel,FF is a nightmear and cant wait to WAKE UP.
22nd Aug 07 07:08

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alaneroberts

Fitness First Victim,

By all means go to CAB if you wish. Also, take the time and trouble to read the many posts given on this topic - there is a lot of good advice about dealing with Fitness First. As I've stated in many previous posts, CARS is clearly an affiliated body to FF; it is highly likely that they share the same office as the infamous 'credit control department'. Moving your account over to CARS is just a way of trying to threaten and intimidate you. Don't be fooled.

Stick with it! Don't give in! Go to court if you have to! Interestingly, we haven't had a single posting by anyone who have been taken to court by FF. I suspect strongly that they realise that the terms and conditions they have set out would not stand a chance of being upheld in court.
22nd Aug 07 05:08

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alaneroberts

Claire,

You must INSIST that you gave in the letter as required. Don't accept that you have to give another month's notice. You have done what you were required to do and that is that. It is not your fault that they have no record of the letter. Hopefully, you kept a copy of the letter. That horrible woman at the head office - the 'credit control department' - Nicola I believe her name is (at least she is one of the 'main' creatures that crouches there) is obviously trained to be assertive. In my experience, the best way to undermine these people on the phone (although I do not advise having any telephone contact) is to laugh when they raise their voice/become aggressive. It completely takes the wind out of their sails.

Always remember that when you are on the phone, you have a 'guest' in your home, and guests must behave appropriately. Start getting more assertive and less accomodating to one of the most disgusting, disreputable, obnoxious companies on the face of this earth!
22nd Aug 07 05:08

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Claire

I have tried to cancel my membership with Fitness First. I was advised by Head Office and by my local club that I needed to bring a letter in giving 30 days notice. I handed a letter to my club on the 13/07/07. When 30 days had passed I rang my club to check that my membership had been cancelled and they informed me that they had no record of my letter, therefore I would be required to give another 30 days notice. Head Office and my Membership Advisor have been very unhelpful - the particular lady I have been dealing with at Head Office has been rude and inefficient. I am most upset with the company and will not be returning to one of their gyms again.
22nd Aug 07 03:08

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Brad

FFV, sorry to hear your story. It sounds familiar. I am speculating, but when you say that FF have passed your details to CARS, rather than your husband's, I assume that it was you who signed the contract and that FF ticked the box which ties you to a 12-month minimum membership? If you have your copy of the contract, check what it says for category of membership and in the box where you signed. By all means take it to the local Citizens Advice Bureau - I found them helpful. Ask them if you have a case that you were misled when joining and that therefore the terms of your contract are unfair. At least your husband was there when you joined and can back up your version of what you were told about cancellation. Is there any other evidence of this?
The bad news is that there are various stories like this on the web and CARS are likely to blindly pursue what they see as the 'debt', without considering the arguments you have, so you will need to ask CAB how best to deal with them.
22nd Aug 07 01:08

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Fitness First Victim

Me and my husband joint fitness first in oct/06.when we walked in to the gym an adviser come out and showed us around the gym then we sat down he explained about the gym facilities ext.
I asked him will we be able to cancel our membership at any time. He said yes as long as you give us one month notice.

6 months latter we decided to stop going to the gym as ourcircumstances has changed and we posted over a recorded letter to our gym club with a one month notice.a month latter we canceled the direct debit.
Fitness first has forward on my information to CARS asking to pay £219.80.they are not chasing my husband for the money although the direct debit was going out form his account?
Will be going to the citizens advise.
22nd Aug 07 09:08

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0

Fitness First Victim

Me and my husband joint fitness first in oct/06.when we walked in to the gym an adviser come out and showed us around the gym then we sat down he explained about the gym facilities ext.
I asked him will we be able to cancel our membership at any time. He said yes as long as you give us one month notice.

6 months latter we decided to stop going to the gym as ourcircumstances has changed and we posted over a recorded letter to our gym club with a one month notice.a month latter we canceled the direct debit.
Fitness first has forward on my information to CARS asking to pay £219.80.they are not chasing my husband for the money although the direct debit was going out form his account?
Will be going to the citizens advise.
22nd Aug 07 08:08

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Brad

I am interested in this exchange because all three of my kids have had problems with cancelling their gym membership; including being misled about the terms and conditions of membership, being told over the phone that their membership was cancelled when it wasn't, being chased for money even after cancellation, etc etc. And wow, you need an interview and to sign an application request form in order to leave, rather than to join!!!
Sure, people should read contracts before they sign them, but it seems to me that Fitness First are systematically guilty of misselling, misleading etc and that their terms and conditions for cancellation are entirely unreasonable.
Something should be done; this needs a wider audience. I have been in contact with Consumers Direct/Trading Standards but remain unsure if anything will come of it.
20th Aug 07 12:08

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alaneroberts

Great news Laura! Further to your comments about debit/credit card. If someone has made the 'mistake' of setting up a debit authority on a card (a completely different ball game than bank account direct debit) then one could hope that the card is 'lost' and that a new card has to be issued. If a card is reported as 'lost' or 'stolen', the bank issues a new card with a different account number, so any debit authority has to be renewed by the cardholder.

Like you, I hate Fitness First so much! It amazes me that any company can think that it can do good business in the long-term with such disreputable and disagreeable practices. The company deserves to 'go under', so to speak.
17th Aug 07 06:08

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Laura

If I were you Classbird I wouldn't pay.. If you had a 12 month contract and your 12 months is up let them take you to court. Your contract term is 12 months. They just decide to extend peoples contracts willy nilly and them charge them for the privelidge? I think not. OMG I hate Fitness First sooo much.. I really wish I hadn't ever went in there..
17th Aug 07 01:08

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Laura

My advisor at the Citezins advice contacted Fitness First to ask why they referred my case to CARS debt recovery and to explain why they didn't accept the letter from my doctor.

So 3 days later, I got a letter from Fitness First Head Office saying that they have now accepted my cancellation request but I still owe £25.95 for the month of June (I cancelled my Direct Debit before I tried to cancel my membership so fair enough)

Big difference from £258.55 - to now £25.95.

Dont give in to these mugs and CARS still phone me as well even after Fitness First have finally accepted that they have to cancel my membership.. As far as I know they CANNOT decline when you have a doctors note so bear that in mind people.

THERESE.. What might have happened is when you cancelled your Direct debit they still had Credit or Debit Card details on file. (See your contract) I was lucky that I got a new debit card from my bank and this will make your old card invalid.
17th Aug 07 01:08

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alaneroberts

Laura,

Thanks very much for your post. Please, please keep us all informed about what happens. It sounds very much as if you have an excellent case. Very best wishes - keep in touch.
12th Aug 07 11:08

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alaneroberts

Therese,

If the direct debit was cancelled, and yet the bank still paid out, then claim the money back from the back under your 'direct debit guarantee'. Do NOT accept the situaton - FIGHT ON! As consumers, we've got to keep on at companies like Fitness First, otherwise they will win, and we shall become victims . . . this is unacceptable!

Keep us informed about the situation - talking amongst ourselves it both informative and reassuring. Good luck!
12th Aug 07 11:08

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Therese

I am absolutely furious. Have tried to cancell my membership with Fittness first and also cancelled my direct debit, but for some reason they still managed to charge me from the bank!!! They are proper scumbags I am so angry! What a horrible company!
7th Aug 07 04:08

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Laura

Well after having sent my 5th cancellation request, including a letter from my doctor supporting that I cannot make use of the membership (female madical condition) as well as moving out of the area, I have recieved a letter from CARS acting on behalf of Fitness First as a Debt recovery agent saying I now owe £258.55. They have blatantly refused to allow me to cancel my membership and now expect me to pay the full price of the membership. I refuse point blank to pay this and if they want to go to court over it then so be it. I have had advice from the Citezins Advice and they agree with you Alan Roberts that the "must move 10 miles away term" can be fought as this could be deemed an "unfair contract term" As well as the fact that the part of the contract says "I understand the duration of this membership is 12 months" I HAVE NOT EVEN SIGNED THAT PART. What a shambles the Fitness First group are..
31st Jul 07 04:07

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alaneroberts

Viperous,

I've tried to register to your site but having problems. I keep being told that the the string verification does not match - even though it does
28th Jul 07 01:07

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Viperous

I got so upset that went ahead and created a site called www.FitnessFirstSucks.com

Already have a few hundred complains and over 500 registered users, please do use this centralised location to make others aware of what they might be getting themselves into

Kind Regards
Fitnessfirstsucks.com Admin
27th Jul 07 09:07

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alaneroberts

classbird,

Forgot to say, you can formally put it in writing refusing them permission to telephone you, stating that you wish a clear written record of all correspondance should the matter go to court.
24th Jul 07 06:07

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alaneroberts

classbird,

What do you mean 'blacklisted'? I've heard this comment before and still don't actually no what it means. You do not have a credit contract with Fitness First, so it has nothing to do with your credit file. As for your mobile phone number, well surely you can arrange to have the number changed? Contact your mobile service provider and ask them for another SIM card or something. In other words, start be proactive.

The letters from their awful 'credit control' department (should be renamed 'giving Fitness First a terrible reputation at the way they do business department') go through a set procedure. CARS is clearly an affiliated company that they try to use to frighten people. My advice to you is to hold out. Do NOT bother telephoning them - a complete waste of time. Keep a copy of every letter and reply to letters yourself in writing, clearly and politely laying out your complaints and stating why you do not think you should pay the money. I don't even think their £25.00 late fee will hold up in court.

Never forget, you are dealing with an absolutely disgusting company and you need to be courageous. But again, DO NOT try to negotiate with them over the phone - put EVERYTHING in writing. Keep us posted as to what happens. I am still in dispute with them as are many others, so you are not alone.
24th Jul 07 06:07

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classbird

I hate Fitness First.
I had a 12 month 'Get Results' contract with them. They said they would call if I didn't go to help keep me motivated. I didn't go for 6 months. Nothing.
So after the 12 months (yes I waited) I cancelled my Direct Debit.
Then the letters and phone calls started. I wrote back to them and informed them of all my gripes. They informed they were sorry to hear this, but I owe £26 for a months membership as I didn't give notice!
I have since ignored them.
Now I have a letter from CARS telling me I need to pay £50.95! I really don't want to pay but am worried I'll be blacklisted. Fitness First have also given these people my mobile number. I am not amused at all.
23rd Jul 07 07:07

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alaneroberts

Laura,

Are you sure that you are bound to a 12-month contract? Double-check.
How many miles have you moved away from your club? It seems 'unreasonable' that you must move more than 10 miles away. Are you close to 10 miles away? Travelling more than about 3 miles would seem ridiculous to attend a gym, in my opinion.
Ensure that you do absolutely everything in writing. It is completely pointless using the telephone with Fitness First - this scumbag company has trained its employees at 'credit control' to be assertive on the telephone and, unless you are completely confident, will have you agreeing to things that you don't want to agree to.
Spread the news to all and sundry - "Fitness First is bad news! Avoid it like the plague!".
12th Jul 07 10:07

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Laura

I am in this position with Fitness First now. I have moved address but they are saying that I must move more than 10 miles away from any Fitness First bracnh to be able to cancel. Ok, I know I haven't stuck to the 12 month contract but neither have they.

The contract states that Fitness First will cancel my membership if I dont adhere to the conditions of the contract. A condition of the contract is to pay the monthly fees within 7 days of their due date.

I have failed to adhere to this as I cancelled my direct debit.

They should be cancelling my membership and kicking me out of the gym but no...

They insist that even though I am not using the gym I must continue to pay the monthly fees for the duration of the contract!

I have tried to cancel 4 times!!!!
11th Jul 07 07:07

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alaneroberts

k,

You do not need to attend an interview. That is plainly ridiculous and would not hold up in any court. The interview is just designed to persuade you to stay so that they can drain even more money out of you. Ensure that you have 'proof' of the letter - keep a copy, note the date you posted it etc. Then that's it as far as you are concerned. CANCEL YOUR DIRECT DEBIT! It amazes me how 'trusting' people are of companies to do it for them. Take control of the situation.
24th Jun 07 05:06

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k

I have also had problems cancelling my membership. They told me that I not only need to give a letter but also need to attend an interview to cancel my membership and then they cancelled my appointment. I gave them a letter and sent an email to the Customer Care Manager. I have been a member for 5 years and never dreamed it would be so hard to stop the membership. Fitness First sucks and am telling all the people I know about this.
19th Jun 07 09:06

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tammykay

Dear Gym Scammed,

I am a freelance writer, based in the UK, who is writing a feature about Gym Membership scams.

I am looking for people to interview, particularly women (it is a woman's publication) exposing the gyms and their ways of getting money out of people.
If you could contact me, I am on tkmnsky@aol.com

Thank you
T
18th Jun 07 01:06

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heather

Fitnews First is a joke, do not bother once they have you they have got you finacially- get out....
12th Jun 07 11:06

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alaneroberts

lucie,

Might be worth reading a lot of the posts. I was the one who started this topic and there has been lots of advice exchanged. Check your contract. You are usually tied to a 3-month minimum period, and then you have to give a month notice. They run a 'scam' whereby the month notice is what they term a 'calendar month' in that, say you give your notice in at the beginning of June, the month only starts at the end, so you also have to pay for July. I don't think this would hold-up in court though.

Remember, you are dealing with a fundamentally money-grabbing, disgusting, arrogant company. Don't bother with telephoning - put things in writing. And, don't wait for them to cancel the direct debit - DO SO YOURSELF IMMEDIATELY! And, don't let them intimidate you.
7th Jun 07 12:06

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billy bob

lucie you do not have to provide them with a reason why you are finishing your membership. You have sent the letter and make sure the company knows you are going to cancel. There is a month grace period so continue using the facilities right until the cancelation goes through. Read below comments as well for any more details. Dont take no for an answer.
5th Jun 07 02:06

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lucie

hi everybody,me and my husband joined fitness first in february and by march we discovered that what we have been promised(running club and cycling club) wasn't actualy happening.so we decided to cancel but it is proving to be very difficult to do so.we wrote them a letter explaining why we want to cancel our membership that we are not happy but haven't received any reply.so we phoned them up and have been told that as far as they are concerned they are supplying all the facillities as agreed!
what can we do?please help.
4th Jun 07 03:06

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spacevortex

I don't know if this has been mentioned, but I have just done a search in a private forum i'm a member of and found a few other people having issues with fitness first. Someone pointed out the following.
Quote: Write another letter (recorded) this time to the MD or company secretary, informing them that you gave the required notice, also copy of the letter you sent, also stating if they continue with any further harassment, you will be reporting them for this harassment as its a criminal offence in England and Wales under Section 40 of the Administration of Justice Act 1970, and in N. Ireland under the Judgment Enforcements (NI) Order 1981. The offence is committed when a person uses certain methods to try to force another to pay an alleged debt.

Hope this helps
19th May 07 12:05

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spacevortex

I don't know if this has been mentioned, but I have just done a search in a private forum i'm a member of and found a few other people having issues with fitness first. Someone pointed out the following.
Quote: Write another letter (recorded) this time to the MD or company secretary, informing them that you gave the required notice, also copy of the letter you sent, also stating if they continue with any further harassment, you will be reporting them for this harassment as its a criminal offence in England and Wales under Section 40 of the Administration of Justice Act 1970, and in N. Ireland under the Judgment Enforcements (NI) Order 1981. The offence is committed when a person uses certain methods to try to force another to pay an alleged debt.

Hope this helps
19th May 07 12:05

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Fitness Last, Money First

Hi there everybody

Have been reading your posts as I too have had problems with Fitness First, claiming myself and my partner owe them money despite giving them written notice of membership cancellation in November! I went for the phone call approach and even went back to my local club to see if they could do anything. After about a month of being sent to and from various departments, including CARS and Creditlink, I went on the aggressive and just phoned up HO and had a right go. This seemed to work and I now have written confirmation that the debt has been cleared. It is pathetic I had to take such an approach to get action done. Up until that point I had been courteous and patient (having worked in customer service myself I thought they would appreciate a nice customer), but to get action in this world you have to be as big a b@stard to them as they are to you. Good luck in getting it sorted and keep spreading the word about this farcical company!
18th May 07 10:05

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alaneroberts

spacevortex,

First of all, Courtlink have not stated that they are taking you to court. The letter states that they are 'considering' legal action, a significantly different stance (I have the same letter).

Secondly, all the letters that you have written will have got to the offices. The letters you are receiving are following a set 'procedure' - the letters are computer-generated, generic letters which accuses you of 'ignoring' the situation, when actually you have not. Ensure that you keep careful records of all correspondance because if, and I do stress IF, it goes to court, you can demonstrate that they have been 'unreasonable' in ignoring your letters.

Thirdly, IF it goes to court, you have the right to request that the court be in your home town. You will not have to travel to Basingstoke - Courtlink will have to travel to your town and, for £52.00 pound, this is extremely unlikely - in fact, almost a certainty that they would not. Which brings me again to the point that they are only 'considering' court action - it is highly unlikely for £52.00.

Also, as far as I am aware, a 'calendar month' in law is not as Fitness First interprets it. A 'calendar month' is, say, from the 6th January to the 5th February.

So, "stick to your guns". Do not pay the £52.00. You would be absolutely crazy to do so.
13th May 07 09:05

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spacevortex

Following on from a previous post I made.

My letters now total four from fitness first affiliates, and my letter writing to them has gone unheard of, so I can assume that neither my cancellation letter or my responding letter to the legal company seems to be getting to the offices. My next step is a registered letter and a carbon copy email to fitness first and the legal department.

Did I mention the latest letter I have now has moved on from CARS the fitness first legal company to courtlink limited. They are to proceed with legal proceedings, because I have failed to respond. (must be a Microsoft office template as the letters seem very similar between CARS and Courtlink limited and what are the chances of 2 Kim Shipgoods at both firms.

I would be panicking about this and worried about the outstanding balance of £52, but I’m not my blood is boiling with anger because I believe I’m in the right.

If the court case comes up, which I don’t know much about and I attend it, assuming it will be somewhere like Basingstoke which is 330 mile round trip, then a day off work. I might as well pay the £52 and then who wins

What can we do about it as a group?
13th May 07 12:05

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alaneroberts

Alun

Be careful. In my experience, I put everything into writing. Telephone calls are a complete waste of time. The credit control/debt collection people are trained to be very assertive/persuasive. Whatever the number is, I wouldn't bother to ring it. Insist that everything be done in writing.

The number is very similar to the "payment" number Fitness First have given in their letters, except 0660 is 0770.
10th May 07 10:05

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Alun B

Dear Alane Roberts,

In response to your earlier reply to me. I sent a letter to fitness first and they phoned me and gave me a different telephone number to ring which is 0845 271 0660. Not sure what this number is exactly, has anyone else phoned it or been told to phone it?

Regrads

Alun
10th May 07 08:05

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alaneroberts

Simon,

As far as I am aware, if your wife reported to the credit card company that her card had been lost or stolen, then any payment agreements on it will become null and avoid. In other words, the card will be cancelled and your wife issued with a new card.

It's a pity then that her card will not be lost or stolen in the very near future . . . . ??
10th May 07 05:05

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Simon

All this rings very true, my wife signed up to Fitness First in Mitcham, she was told that she could cancel and or freeze the membership. This is actually proving to be difficult, I have cancelled the DD arrangment with the bank but now they are using her card to take money from. I am now seeking legal advice. I spoke to the manager and assured him that because I am generally a law abiding citizen, this was the only reason I hadn't jumped on a bus and done him serious physical damage for what I interpret as robbery. These comanies hide behind legal contract gthat are drawn up to fleece us from our money.

There will be big problems in this country one day because everyone should stop paying the thieves and companies like them. Banks are just as bad, out for themselves.
10th May 07 01:05

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alaneroberts

Mrs Norwich ,

The threats of bailiffs is just a scare tactic. Bailiffs cannot just "appear" on your doorstep, unless a court process has been followed through. I hope you didn't cave-in and pay them the £48.00.
9th May 07 09:05

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alaneroberts

em,

It is not illegal to cancel a direct debit. You should have received a copy of the contract.

What do you mean 'charging your account'? I don't really understand . . . once your direct debit has been cancelled by yourself, there is no way that Fitness First can debit money from your account.

You just have to 'stick to your guns' and not let yourself be intimidated by their affiliated debt collection agency - CARS.
9th May 07 09:05

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Mrs Norwich

I to had a nightmare with Fitness First cancellation policy. I was eventually threatened by very unsavoury letters, rude members of credit control and customer services (joke) department.

They told me if I did not pay them £48 immediately I would have baliffs on my doorstep
They are not interested in any customer care they ONLY WANT YOUR MONEY.
Do not join this club - unless you want unhelpful threatening staff, holding you to ransom for a measly sum of money. The rudest people I have ever spoken to.

An ex-member of Fitnesss First.
9th May 07 07:05

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em

I have just succumbed to the same vague cancellation/get out policy. I signed up for three months and was told that I could cancel within that period by giving a month's notice. I used the gym irregularly as I was uncomfortable with the voyeuristic male dominated basement and also the pathetic opening hours that didn't suit my many late nights. After three months I assumed the contract would be cancelled.
I was never given a copy of the contract I signed and I was not informed that their policy charges another 3 months on top of the initial 3 unless the contract is cancelled in writing. I went to FF to discuss this in person and was given various numbers to ring, one of which I rang on leaving and got to speak to the same receptionist who had just given me the number. Realising their game, I then went straight to my bank and cancelled the direct debit. But, what I would like to know is how to stop them charging me via this account again, and if in fact it is illegal to cancel a direct debit? Is it worth just closing the account? I moved back to the UK in January and am in shock by how often this happens and how much energy we all have to spent trying not to get ripped off.
9th May 07 10:05

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alaneroberts

Graham,

Well said. I couldn't agree more with your conclusion that states that you will never, ever use a Fitness First gym again. Fitness First seems entirely beyond reason, especially at their so called 'credit control' department (which probably has 'targets' to meet that pay no regard to customer service and feelings of good will). Good luck with your letter to the chief executive but, frankly, I don't think it will do much good.

Like "neighbours from hell", Fitness First are beyond the powers of reason, negotiation, common sense and regard for the future. It is simply a despicable, vile company that has adopted a confrontational, greedy and money grabbing approach to business. Such an approach has become entrenched to the extent that it reflects the 'culture' of the company - a culture that I certainly wish to have no part of! Best of luck Graham.
8th May 07 07:05

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Graham B

I thought I'd add my own case to the growing list of people on here locking horns with Fitness First over its entirely unreasonable 'calendar month' notice requirement for membership cancellation. I can see no legitimate commercial reason for this requirement. It seems that, rather than FF being grateful for our custom and working hard to keep us, they would rather try to tie us in with minimum memberships and then kick us in the teeth with unwarranted and erroneous cancellation terms when we choose to leave.

In my case, I needed to cancel my membership as I was moving away. I made the [now apparent] error of giving notice at the beginning of a month rather than the end, and I was told in effect I had to give almost 2 months’ notice, which frankly is ridiculous. I asked FF to waive this, explaining that I had been a loyal member for 5 years and might be so again in future, and did they really want destroy all good will by my leaving feeling that I was being financially taken advantage of? The response was essentially “computer says, no…”.

I’ve asked to see a copy of the contract I signed on the basis that, if they can’t produce that then they can’t establish I’ve any legal liability to pay. Of course, they have not complied with this straight forward request, and instead have chosen to get their debt recovery monkeys (CARS) to threaten to sue me. That whole “good will” conversation obviously fell on deaf ears (no doubt attached to a commercially inept brain). I will be writing to FF’s chief executive as a next step in any event.

Whatever happens in my case, I will never…ever…use a FF gym again. Call me old fashioned, but I do not wish to give my custom to companies employing and enforcing standard terms of business which, in my own opinion, are tantamount to legalised theft…
8th May 07 06:05

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Lystrablue

Just a note on cancelling memberships. One possible way to get things done quickly and to your benefit is to cc on a letter or email to the company's head office, your solicitor (whether you have one or not!!), a local member of parliament and some government regulatory/consumer watch dog. Actually, I also emailed everyone on the company's website.....

I did this with another gym and rec all my money, an apology and a free tshirt (whoopee...).
8th May 07 02:05

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alaneroberts

Alun

First of all, cancel your direct debit. Do not wait for them to do it as you will definetely end up losing more money.

Secondly, do not bother with the telephone calls. Put it all in a letter stating that you are cancelling and the reasons why, quoting the contract. Send the letter by recorded delivery. Then lie back and let them deal with it. If you are sure that you are in the right, then why worry? Just do what you need to do, safe in the knowledge that you have done what is required.

Do not forget, you are dealing with a money grabbing, vile, disreputable company, so do not expect them to treat you fairly. Forewarned is forearmed.

Keep us informed. Best wishes.
6th May 07 02:05

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Alun B

Hello all, I to am having the same problems as many others on here where I am trying to cancel my fitness first membership. My reason for cancelling is that I am moving away and there is not fitness first within 10 miles of my home or works address. Ok I have only completed 9 months of my 12 month contract but according to 9.2 of the contract I am able to cancel my membership for the moving away reason as mentioned earlier provided I sign a departure request form.

So 2 weeks ago I phoned fitness first spoke to the receptionist who said I needed to phone head office. She gave me there number but after trying numerous times got no answer. I found an email address for the fitness first club I signed up with which I Cardiff north. After emailing them twice in still got no reply.

So decided to give them a call again this morning and requested to speak to the Membership manager who is not in until Tuesday so the receptionist tried to help again and told me I was unable to cancel as I signed up as a "Lifestyle" member but after looking at my contract I replied with I signed up to a "corporate membership" and the receptionist said yeah corporate lifestyle (which is not an option on the contact , lifestyle- "YES", corporate-"YES" but "NO" corporate lifestyle. When I told the lady on reception that 9.2 allows me to cancel my membership she not with my membership and that all contract forms are the same. So I though 'huh' and said I would phone back Tuesday to speak to the manager.

What I am getting at here is has anyone tried cancelling by using contract clause 9.2. Any advice would be grateful as I just don't know what to do next or who to go to now as they are not honouring the contract I signed. What also makes it worse is that I paid £35 for a get results package which I never used and a £30 admin fee, but according to the contract I was only supposed to pay 1 or the other. I’ve been a total mug

Regards
Alun
6th May 07 12:05

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alaneroberts

Gbat,

Thanks for that . In my case, the first letter from CARS arrived demanding £56.00 without any explanation, that is no explanation that £25.00 had been levied as a late payment cancellation fee. Despite my response, they still have not given an explanation, relying instead on the 'stupidity' of the computer generated letters that are produced that amount to no more than simple, threatening demands.

I think we should all do our utmost to 'warn' people about this company whenever the opportunity arises. It would be interesting to hear from other people who attend other gyms e.g. Bannatyne's to see if they have a very different experience or, unfortunately, a similar one to Fitness First. I doubt the latter - I can hardly believe any other gym company can be as vile and disgusting as Fitness First.

Let us know what happens.
4th May 07 06:05

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Gbat

Hi,
I read with interest the other posts in this forum regarding Fitness First's vague and blatant money grabbing membership resignation policy.

I too have fallen foul of the one full calender month rule despite giving 30 days notice of my resigning from the club. Fitness First demanded the next months direct debit which luckily I'd had the foresight to cancel and then hit me with a £25 late payment fee. They have now put the matter in the hands of the aforementioned CARS debt collection agency. I do not intend to pay and am prepared for it to go to Court as long as it does not affect my credit rating. Don't fall for the bully boy tactics. If everybody holds out then something will have to give.

Just to say that I agree that this is a underhanded way of getting even more money from presumably dissatisfied FF members. I was a member of FF for 4 years and got sick of the way the club was going:broken aircon and training equipment, thefts from locker rooms, dirty conditions and a lot more. The company seems to have gone drastically downhill in recent years in terms of customer service, member benefits and overall customer satisfaction with the club. This final problem has confirmed to me that FF are just out to maximise profit and don't give a damn about the customers as long as the subscriptions keep rolling in.

I will not be recommending the gym to anyone I know in the future and know of many members who are seriously quitting. I hope they all get their letter in before the 3rd of the month!
4th May 07 05:05

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Bulldog

Hi Alan,

Thanks again for your advice. Yes, quite possibly we (well, my wife really) could well have been yet another statistic and cave in, just to stop the harrassment.
At the end of the day it is "only one month's fees", but how many others are there out there in the same boat?
We will stick to our guns as we know we are in the right.

Will advise any further.
Cheers.
22nd Apr 07 10:04

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alaneroberts

hi Bulldog,

I have also just received one of their 'Notice of Legal Proceedings' letters from their affiliated debt recovery agency, Creditlink Account Recovery Solutions Limited. I immediately sent them a response. The letters seem to be computer generated because they never bother to actually answer/address any of the points I raise in my letters. In fact, their whole approach is extremely unreasonable.

From what you have said, it would actually be in your best interests to go to Court so that you can argue your case. Always ensure that you give a written response to every letter that they send, carefully keeping copies so that you are maintaining a 'paper trail' of their bullying incompetence.

As for the demand that your wife attend an interview, that is completely unreasonable and an abuse of her rights - there is no way that this can be enforced! It really is time that Fitness First was highlighted on national TV - it is unbelievably incompetent, greedy and disreputable. The trouble is, I believe there are so many people who simply "cave in" to their demands, and they are getting away with it.

Good luck. Keep us informed of what happens.
22nd Apr 07 12:04

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Bulldog

Hi All,

I've read your comments with interest and sympathise with all of you. My poor wife's situation is echoed in all these postings. She's played by their rules all along, furnished them with 2 months notice of her intention to cancel membership (hand delivered letter), only to receive numerous phone calls and letters seeking yet another month's payment.
They also insist on her having a "cancellation interview" which she just does not want! She wants nothing more to do with them.
It is nothing short of bullying, and recently we received one of those "further steps will be taken" type letters whereby she'll be liable for the costs incurred.
Over my dead..................
22nd Apr 07 12:04

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cp

12th april 07 ~ here we are again with the continuing saga of cancelling membership with fitness first, have written three letters 6th & 16th & 26th march 07 to nicola lucas at head office cancelling membership, sent recorded delivery, they never replied. Received letter today from jenny lambert membership services department advising me that my dd has been returned unpaid although my membership is still current how can this be if I cancelled at the end of my contract on the 6th march 2007. Makes me ask the question did anyone read my letters cancelling my membership. Why no reply from nicola lucas in credit control. Will now send further copies of cancellation to ff again recorded delivery, they do not give up trying to squeeze the money out of those who are mug enough to join. cp_ashford kent
12th Apr 07 05:04

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alaneroberts

adam,

thanks for sharing that. Yet another piece of evidence of Fitness First and its money grabbing approach to business. My advice is to NEVER rely on companies cancelling direct debits, but to always ensure that you do it yourself. I have internet banking and it takes just a couple of minutes to cancel a direct debit. No danger of any money then being taken in the first place.
8th Apr 07 03:04

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adam

HI,

I thought id share my experiences with you guys. I was a member of f/f for over 14 months decided to cancel in Jan as was in the process of moving. Gave them a letter and dropped it off at f/f (didn’t get it signature for it). They took my payment for feb and march so rung to ask why they took my payment for march and was told that my account was still active and they hadn’t received anything for me. I went ballistic how can they loose something that I had personally dropped off and if they had lost it then its their fault anyone told the manager and he said he would cancel it but I would lose the payment for march thought fair enough cant be asked to fight it.

As you may have guessed come April they take payment again. Tried to ring the branch no one returning my calls, called head office waste of time. But what I did do was ring my bank cancel my direct debit and told them to repay me as they should not have taken payment. The bank has repaid me this month and the previous month’s direct debit. I got a call off the branch yesterday saying that they are sorry and that they have cancelled my account and will also repay this and last months repayments. I told her that’s it’s between them and my bank now, and I would look forward to the repayment. See what happen nows, im not fussed as I have already got my £60 back from the bank.


You all have a direct debit guarantee with the bank let the bank chase them and let f/f chase you. Refuse to ring them and chase them, if they want the money they will come after it.
8th Apr 07 01:04

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colinp_ashford kent

I have contacted watchdog on two occasions recently ref:- fitness first contract cancellation and have not received any acknowledgement from them about either email, so perhaps it needs more people experiencing the same problem to also contact watchdog and get them interested to get this company publicly exposed. cp.
6th Apr 07 11:04

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wakeyblue

Alan roberts

Alan I went against what I was going to do via letter my son went to F/F yesterday and asked for a copy of his contract to be told ' I CAN GIVE YOU A COPY OF WHAT YOU PAID BUT NOT YOUR CONTRACT YOU HAD IT WHEN YOU JOINED" . Thiis kind of irritated me to the point.
I wrote my sons letter of cancellation and also a letter of receipt of the letter of cancellation . This morning early We went to f/f and asked if his 12 months is up . He said may so I gave him the letter for the manager and put in the dates of cancellation and when the direct debit would cease . He took the letter and said he would pass it on ,I then told him He had to sign my peice of paper saying He had recieved the letter from me stating He had taken the letter from me He looked a little supprised but signed it also weather its correct or not I got my son to video it on his mobile , so lets see what happens next cheers wakeyblue.
This place should be highlighted on watchdog .
6th Apr 07 09:04

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alaneroberts

suki,

First of all, stop the telephone calls. A complete waste of time. The debt collection agency staff are trained to be very assertive and they have only one goal - to get the money out of you. They will quickly assess the type of person you are over the phone, and then proceed to intimidate you and, in your case, to be rude. Refuse to speak to them over the telephone. If they ring and you pick up without realising it, tell them that you wish to conduct everything in writing and immediately put the phone down. Remember, the phone is in your home and when someone is speaking to you on your phone, then they are a 'guest' - it is completely unacceptable to experience rudeness within the confines of your own home.

Write a letter to Fitness First clearly explaining the situation. You may wish to write to the debt collection agency as well but, in my experience, they are simply not interested - I say again, their only goal is to get the money.

Keep a careful record of all correspondance - their letters and your replys.

Be persistent. Don't back down. Try to be reasonable but not to the extent that they get all their own way. Don't let yourself be intimidated by the debt collection agency.

If they do decide to take you to court, it will be the small claims court. It has no effect on your credit file etc - it is not a 'credit agreement' that you have entered into.

Learn from this! The telephone can be your own worst enemy. In future, put everything in writing - whatever company you are dealing with!

Remember, Fitness First is one of the most disgusting, nasty, 'evil' companies that I've ever had dealings with. Don't let them grind you down.
5th Apr 07 05:04

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suki

I joined fitness first in July 06 and only went until mid August.So in Sept I decided I’d freeze my m’ship until further notice. I spoke to a lady who told me that she would freeze my m’ship and it’ll be frozen at the end of the calendar month, to which I agreed.Then not only was I unaware that I had to complete a form to freeze my m’ship the advisor on the other end didn't tell me either and gave me the impression it was all done over the phone. It’s only a 10-minute drive to my gym so I wouldnt’ve hesitated to go in and sign these papers.But the advisor didn't tell me. I thought everything is sorted out (when its not), until Feb 2007 when I receive a phone call from fitness first to tell me that I owe them Feb fee, I explain the whole situation to them, the lady says she will ring me back the following day as she needs to speak to a manager, well she didn't, and I didn’t either, as it shouldn't be me doing the running around anyway. In March they leave me an answer phone message to contact them, which I did, nobody answered the phone to my disappointment. Then they ring me back, unaware of the previous phone calls to tell me I now owe them Feb and March m’ship fee. I explain the situation for the 3rd time, and told they’ll get back to me the next day,again they don’t .Then yesterday I received a letter from a debt collection agency saying I owe them Feb and March fee as well as a £25 late fee! I rang fitness first in derby, they were not only rude but no help whatsoever, told me to ring the debt collection agency. I rang the debt collection agency who said they could not cancel the debt as Head office had instructed them to collect this debt, they told me to ring the head office which I did, who were also rude. They said it was my responsibility to freeze the m’ship according to the terms & conditions.Even though nobody told me the procedure until the phone call I made yesterday. Can someone please help me?
5th Apr 07 01:04

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alaneroberts

spacevortex,

You cancelled at the end of December. You were well within your rights to cancel the direct debit for the 1st February. Any mention of 'bailiffs' is complete rubbish on their part. There is absolutely no way that they can pursue this, apart from trying to frighten you. They are money-grabbing sleaze bags, remember.

Bailiffs are at the end of a long process that includes court proceedings. From the details you have given, they cannot take you to court. If they do because they don't realise what the hell they are doing, then make sure you defend yourself - send in a copy of the letter and turn-up in court.

Don't let them intimidate you!
4th Apr 07 01:04

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spacevortex

Having only used fitness first 7 weeks in a total of 13 months I realised this was money I was wasting so I decided to cancel my contract. The letter went to head office on the 27th December 2006. As it closed in on my direct debit towards the end of January I got a feeling that I would be debited so I cancelled my direct debit.
before the 1st of February when the direct debit would take place.
The second week into March I received a letter saying that after numerous attempts to contact me and me failing to respond, I now owe them money. Of course it doesn’t state an amount so I dismiss it as an administration error.

Today I received a letter going on about bailiffs and owing £54 pounds. How fast do they work to get your money, I thought these bailiff threats don’t happen this fast.

From my experience with direct debit in the past, you receive what you pay for if you cancel the payment the service stops. This happened with my broadband several years ago, when the payment was cancelled by accident my service just stopped one day. Web hosting was the same my account was frozen.

I work in around 8 community schools all with websites of which some I update some I know who updates them as well as school newsletters. (Fitness and healthy eating are key subjects) We also have good relationships with local papers and to top this friend designed a rival local fitness gym website. I’m so very tempted to do a feature on fitness first, it certainly won’t harm them but it will make people more aware of what’s going on.

This could be an item for watchdog, if it affects more than a handful of people
4th Apr 07 12:04

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wakeyblue

Thanks alan I will pursue It that wat via letters cheers
3rd Apr 07 10:04

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alaneroberts

wakeyblue,

Your worry about being 'blacklisted' as you put it is completely without foundation. It doesn't have anything whatsoever to do with your credit file which holds details of credit agreements entered into by yourself. The contract with Fitness First is NOT a credit agreement - no credit has been advanced by them; Experian and other credit reference agencies have absolutely no interest in a contract with Fitness First. I check my credit file regularly for fraud purposes, and there is absolutely no reference to my prior membership with Fitness First whatsoever.

Fitness First rely on people's ignorance and may make threats about 'affecting your credit status', but it is a total load of rubbish. Blacklisting your home also doesn't mean anything whatsoever.

My advice to you is to try and avoid actually 'speaking' to them, either by phone or face-to-face. They are trained to be quite assertive and will get you and your son quite flustered. I try to do everything by 'paper' so as to have a clear record of all correspondance should it be needed.

Insist in writing on having a signed copy of the agreement. Also, what is your son's financial status? If he really cannot pay or will severely struggle to pay, then it is highly unlikely that this will be pursued. Don't let yourself be intimidated by letters headed 'Debt collection agency' or something similar - it is all intimidatory tactics by the complete evil gits that Fitness First actually are.
2nd Apr 07 11:04

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wakeyblue

Thanks Alan I will probably go there myself with him and ask for a copy of the contract the problem Im worried is That they could blacklist my property or put a black mark on my credit history because my son lives at home if you know what I mean .
2nd Apr 07 08:04

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alaneroberts

wakeyblue,

I am not sure about the legal age to sign contracts? However, tell him to check his contract with Fitness First carefully. Did he realise that he was signing up to a 12-month contract? In my 'terms and conditions' at the back, it clearly states a minimum of '3-months', certainly not 12 months. It doesn't matter what 'box' has been ticked at the front.

He needs to be assertive with them. Try and reply to the letters and state clearly that he cannot pay and as far as he is concerned, his membership with them is over.
2nd Apr 07 09:04

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I am having a fit

Let's change the name of the company: Money First.

Pay up or we'll break your legs.
1st Apr 07 08:04

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wakeyblue

I was just wondering 17 my son went to f/f and he had just started work as an apprentice
he used the gym for roughly 5 weeks I told him if he wasnt using the gym he needed to cancel
it as it was a wate of money 360 pound a year so He went in to cancel it they told him he was on a 12 month contract in november this year he got laid off for 2 months so I told him to con tact f/f and explain what had happend so very kinly froze it ( joke) He know has letters asking for the rest to be paid The point im making is how old do you have to be before they can hold you to this I thought unless you were 18 year old they couldnt do this if he was still unemployed
He would have no revenue to pay this thery are scum I spoke to them and they wouldnt entertain me because its not my account im not shocked to see so many complaints but
surely this should be brought to the media so this company of sharks can be exposed
1st Apr 07 07:04

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salsaqueen

I am a member of Fitness First and have been for several years. Now, I have been told that I have to pay a £10 deposit as FF have installed a new card system for locking the lockers. As this was initiated by them and members were not even consulted I don't see why I should have to pay. This money is only refundable upon leaving the club (which I shall be doing v soon). I don't see why anyone should pay this as I never had to pay a deposit for my old card. Outrageous!
In typical FF style at the first hint of complaints (and our club has had many over the weekend) the management left the reception staff to deal with very unhappy customers.
27th Mar 07 10:03

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alaneroberts

colinp_ashford kent ,

make sure that you cancel your direct debit, otherwise your account will be debited for ages. You are dealing with a despicable, sleaze bag, horrible company with horrible little hitlers employed at the Fitness First Credit Control department. Take control and be assertive. Don't be frightened by 'debt collection agency' letters - I believe they have an affiliated company (probably share the same office) and the whole system is designed to threaten people.

Of all the companies that I have dealt with, Fitness First is the most disgusting!
26th Mar 07 11:03

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colinp_ashford kent

I am having a similar problem with fitness first, took out OAP over 60 contract and was told could cancel at any time if money became a problem all I had to do was write a letter. Tried to do this and was told I had signed a 12 month contract and could only cancel if I paid up arrears of £200. So had to let contract run full period, wrote letter to cancel contract, was told that I would have to pay a further month as I had not given one full calender month notice. Paid the 12 monthly debits, cancelled one month before end of contract that started on 10th april 06 finished on 9th april 07, letter of cancelation given on 6th march 07. Wrote again on 16th march 07 still waiting on a reply to my letter questioning how they can demand another months payment as I seemingly have met all their requirements.
26th Mar 07 09:03

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Site Admin

alaneroberts - posts are removed if they are not relevant or are from an IP address known to be spamming the message boards. Occasionally some are deleted by mistake, fortunately rare, but that may have happened in this case.

Regards
25th Mar 07 11:03

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alaneroberts

Unless I'm mistaken - but seems like some of his posts have been deleted. . . . oh well!
25th Mar 07 06:03

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alaneroberts

I just thought I would re-read the posts in response to my original post about Fitness First. I discovered that the posts of 'Bouncer' have been deleted. Whatever for? Could someone please explain.
25th Mar 07 06:03

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alaneroberts

Yes, lounge lizzard, it does sound too obvious. We are human beings, not robots. As human beings, most of us tend to take what others say to us on good faith. When we have a very pleasant, smiling, seemingly honest salesperson assuring us that we are just signing up for 3 months, or that the cancellation notice is 'a month', we tend to accept that.

It is the goodness of our human nature that is being taken advantage of by a sleazy, money-grasping, disgusting company like Fitness First. If we simply sit back and say 'we should have read all the terms and conditions' at the back of a contract, then these companies will get away with 'blue murder', so to speak.

I don't want a world where I cannot, on the whole, trust my fellow human beings. It will be an even more cold-hearted, alien, frightening world than it already is. Fitness First disgusts me because it seems to represent in the way it does business everything that is NEGATIVE about human relationships. It is that aspect against which I am protesting!
20th Mar 07 08:03

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lounge lizzard

This may sound a bit obvious, but if you read the agreement you sign (as I did) it clearly details the cancelation procedure. The time you save not having to make excuses as to why you didnt follow it can be put to better use eating pies - Munch Munch!!!
20th Mar 07 06:03

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alaneroberts

colt1209,

In the meantime, CANCEL the direct debit! Don't rely on that bunch of sleaze bags to do it for you! Take control of the situation.
15th Mar 07 07:03

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colt1209

My Wife and Daughter Joined Fitness First for a years membership and for several reasons hardly got to use the facilities, after a year had expired, they found that they were still being charged and queried this, they were told they would have to give a months notice and speak to the manager at the Luton branch.
The manager signed their cancellation forms and specifically wrote that they would not be charged for march, well they were charged and when I contacted head office, I was told that they would have to send in photocopies of their forms before they could get a refund, this was after Fitness First assured me that someone from the company would contact us and resolve the issue, no one did.
I am now sending the photocopies but in my opinion, Fitness First are a sleazy, greedy bunch of fraudsters and none of my family will ever deal with them again.
15th Mar 07 10:03

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alaneroberts

Had a letter today from some lowly, administrative clerk at Fitness First, they are still demanding a full, one months's payment to cancel my membership. The letter was really arrogant in that it completely disregarded any of the specific points I raised to them in a letter I sent to them in February.

The more I hear and read about Fitness First, the stronger the impression that they are a sleazy, money-grabbing, disreputable company with the primary goal of ensuring that their customers lose weight by squeezing every last penny out of them.

I shall fight to the end! Spread the word everyone - AVOID Fitness First like the plague!
10th Mar 07 03:03

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svs

When I joined Fitness First I was told that it would be a minimum of 3 months and I could cancel thereafter or it would be a rolling contract if I wanted to.When I tried calling them to find out how to cancel, I was told that someone would get back to me.No did for 2 months even though I continued calling them in the meantime.As soon as I cancelled my debit order, I was contacted immediately as a matter of urgency.Now I am told that I cannot cancel my contract as I signed a 12 month contract and have to pay £300....Collin, I'd like to know how you eventually handled your situation please?
9th Mar 07 03:03

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Soph

My boyfriend had a similar problem, but they lost his cancellation slip, so he had to pay another two months after he wanted to finish his membership. The customer service is so bad that the staff accused him of lying when he rang them to sort it out!! He sent a letter demanding a refund because it was their fault for the mix up, and expressing his disgust at the way he was treated, but we haven't heard back yet...
8th Mar 07 08:03

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Colin W

Thanks for that advice. I am refusing to pay and will let you know how I get on.
5th Mar 07 08:03

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alaneroberts

Also Colin W, double-check your 'terms and conditions'. I believe that the most they can hold you to is 3-months. Does it actually state '12-months' in the actual 'terms and conditions' - at the back of your copy of the agreement, I think it is a pink colour, or is this just a 'ticked box'. A ticked box is not enough to bind you to the contract. Let me know what happens.

Cheers!
28th Feb 07 07:02

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alaneroberts

Definetely do not pay. Take the matter further. Do not be intimidated if they send you a letter headed 'debt collection agency' or something similar. Also, bailiffs only get involved at the end of quite a long process of 'court proceedings'. If it gets to the 'court' (which I very much doubt), make sure you send in a good defence of your position and, more importantly, make sure you attend - it is unlikely anyone from Fitness First or a debt collection agency will attend.
28th Feb 07 07:02

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Colin W

I am having a similar problem with Fitness First at the moment. I joined in October last year. Shortly after, my company was making redundancies and although I survived my work place moved 30 miles away to a location with a free gym. I tried to cancel my Fitness First Membership but have been told that the contract I have is for 12 months and I will have to pay them £300+ to terminate it. The Rep who signed me up to the gym ticked the 12 month option, and although I signed the form it wasn't explained that it was a 12 month contract or that they have other joining options with shorter tminimum terms, which would have been more suitable. I have had several calls to them today without being able to get anyone to take responsibility with listening to my complaint. I now don't know whether to pay up or take matters further.
27th Feb 07 06:02

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BBC1- HELP

Dear Sir/Madam

I am working for a BBC1 daytime show that deals with consumer affairs and social injustice stories. Our show aims to highlight and solve peoples problems on the show. We are not as hard-hitting as Watchdog but always aim to solve cases we take on. If this sounds like something that might interest you, you can drop me a line at my email- hayden@flametv.co.uk- to discuss further?

Yours Sincerely

Hayden
27th Feb 07 04:02

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Bouncer

I can truly agonise. These sort of institutions should be run by your local authority, your town, parish, county council, at knock down rates. Health is a national responsibility, a Public one. Private organisations run these outfits as scams.
26th Feb 07 06:02

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alaneroberts

To straitty,

My sympathies! However, let's not confuse 'bailiffs' with a 'debt collection agency' which is a whole different ballgame. It seems to be Fitness First policy that they quickly pass any outstanding membership fee (no matter the circumstances) over to a debt collection agency - which is probably an affiliated company to Fitness First anyway. It is a purely intimidatory practice. When people see 'debt collection agency' at the top of a letter, many panic and make the mistatke of equating that with 'bailiffs'. That is the reaction Fitness First want, but the agency is not a 'bailiff'.

Having a bailiff chase after you is the result of non-payment of a fine or county court judgment (eventually). A debt collection agency in the first instance is a cheap little company employing nasty, cheap little people who make a living out of intimidating people by telephone (just get caller display!) and letters.

I say "to hell with them!".
26th Feb 07 06:02

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Pazza

I can truly empathise.

Moving from one area of London to another, I was amazed to find no Fitness First within a two mile radius (given their Starbucksian ubiquity) and so I too cancelled my Fitness First membership, and experienced much the same problem, etc etc etc.

When I phoned to question the company's course of action, my query was interrupted with unmitigating bureaucracy by the most officious, imperious and patronising pen-pusher. I confess I quickly reached a point at which I totally lost my temper!
I did phone back, spoke to another (much more approachable) representative, admitted that I had completely lost it with his colleague, settled any balance, and closed the account once and for all.

I joined my local independent gym which is cheaper, bigger, cleaner and the staff are plentiful, friendly and helpful.

Fitness First: bad for your health, psychologically and financially.
26th Feb 07 04:02

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straitty

I got done by them too. Was told I was signing a 3 month contract. Oh no I wasn't. I was sold an continuious contract I had to cancel after 3 months by giving a calender...blah blah blah. They simpley refused to acknowledge my questions about being mis-sold a product. "You should have read the terms of your contract." When I did the 3 months and tried to cancel, started getting the run around, and eventually the baliff's letters when I cancelled my direct debit.
26th Feb 07 12:02

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alaneroberts

To Bouncer,

Yes, of course, I didn't read all the small print of the contract. I did 'ask' about the cancellation policy, and was told by the person selling me the contract that I had to give notice of one month - she did not say a 'calendar' month. Only being human, and having been charmed by the seller, and having accepted the details of the information she gave me about my membership, I abviously was 'duped' about the contract.

Of course, I should have read the small print, but it is part of the nature of the human species to invest an element of 'trust' when communicating with a fellow human being, and unfortunately, companies like fitness first seem all too willing to take advantage of this tendency in verbal communication.

So, technically you are quite correct, but as to the moral dimension . . . ? I hope you get my point! I certainly - indeed very sadly! - will now bring a 'suspicious' element to my communication with representatives of various businesses. Fitness First and other companies cause bad feeling, negativity and cynicism to become rampant in our society and it really is unacceptable.
23rd Feb 07 12:02

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Fairview

Bouncer....
It's not fair to say that these gyms operate soley as a scam. Many people benefit from their existance. You are right to say that you can exercise just as much for free but some people need the structured and disciplined approach that a gym provides.
I am a member of a gym. My club is locally based and privately owned. If I have a problem of any nature I can speak to the membership manager directly on a one to one basis. That problem would then be addressed.

I think the problem with larger 'chains' such as fitness first is that you never get to speak to the individual directly responsible for resolving your problem. If indeed there actually is one! Customer service is the real problem. there is no longer a personal approach to this. If each of these establishments, and many other types of service industries, employed a competant onsite customer services representative then most problems would be resolved easily. Unfortunately though that would increase the cost to the organisation which would ultimately be met by its customers who would complain about that too.

I say, 'Go local and personal whenever you can' and 'research the establishment and find out all you can before joining'.

To Alan E Roberts. I sympathise with your gripe but I wouldn't mind betting that you signed up without properly reading the contract.
21st Feb 07 04:02

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Gandalf

You should have watched the Friends episode where they tried to cancel their Health Club membership. Go to the CAB office they can sort you out.
18th Feb 07 11:02

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edd

It always reminds me of a saying,

"A fool and his/her money"

WHY pay for something that you can do FREE anyway.
17th Feb 07 05:02

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Bouncer

These fitness clubs operate entirely as a scam. Outrageous joining fees. Outrageous monthly charges. Steer clear of them altogether.
16th Feb 07 11:02

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