QLD Australian Consumer Law - Help with Gym Membership Cancellation?

Discussion in 'Australian Consumer Law Forum' started by Alice Whelan, 27 January 2017.

  1. Alice Whelan

    Alice Whelan Member

    27 January 2017
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    On the 25/7/16, I joined up with Breathe Heathclubs at the location of Northlakes. After four weeks, I was charged a $65. $55 was deducted from my account as an admin fee to set up the account with Debit Succes account. $11.95 of the weekly payment as well as a $10 penalty fee for the charge bouncing as I was told when I signed up that the $55 would be taken out of my account the first week of the membership.

    Thus being angry I rang the gym on the 20/8/2016 and was told "as stated on both contracts, you will see admin fee of $55 (this is added to the first instalment). Debit Success will take a penalty fee of $10 for payments that are bounced on an account." And that they have no control when the money is charged.

    Frustrated I then enquired what the cancellation of membership policy was and what the breaking of contract fee was. The female on the phone told me there was no exit fee but there was no option to cancel the membership.

    Thus I went to a solicitor to question this. After he read my contract he told me that I am legally able to cancel the contract via blocking the direct debit from my bank account. Thus I did as he had advised. I also rang the gym again to notify them of the cancelation. The male on the phone was polite and seemed understanding and said he would cancel it.

    Now a few months ago, I received a call from Debut Success saying that I owed them money causing me to reply that the membership was cancelled from then I haven't heard from them since. However, today I received a call from the gym saying I owe them $258 dollars for the weeks unpaid plus the penalty rate.

    Frustrated I explained all of the above and told them i was informed the membership was cancelled. The operator then told me that I was misinformed and if the total of money continues to grow they will be forced to call a debit collector and ruin my credit rating for ten years. The gym also finally informed me that the only way to cancel the membership is via injury that will prevent me from using "all" the equipment. On the contract it states I have dislocated my shoulder however since then I have injured my ankle and knees, and needed a medical certificate from my doctor that I am indeed too injured.

    I am currently studying at university and only earning $150-$200 a week. Thus making it difficult to pay off the entire contract and becoming free from this horrifying gym.

    I also cannot afford a bad credit rating as I am only 21 and looking for a new place of residents to live. I have no idea what I am able to do.

    All help will be appreciated.

    Thank You
  2. Lance

    Lance Well-Known Member

    31 October 2015
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    Hi Alice,

    If after reading your contract a solicitor told you that you can cancel your account by blocking the direct debit then there must be some substance to it. It doesn't sound 100% correct. I would have thought you would have to formally advise the gym in writing as well.

    I would formalise all the conversations including the phone call when you were told your account was cancelled, in writing and advise them that further accumulated cost are not to be applied because as advise on xxxxxx date the account was close and I consider this matter closed.

    Include the fact that your solicitor reviewed the contract and advised that by blocking the direct debit the account is closed. In fact I would have your solicitor draft and deliver the letter to have them cease and desist.

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