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NSW Fitness First - Charged for Membership Fees After 1 Week?

Discussion in 'Australian Consumer Law Forum' started by Emily Chow, 9 June 2015.

  1. Emily Chow

    Emily Chow Member

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    Dear Sir or Madam
    On 25 December 2014, I enquired about joining a Fitness First Gym, and I called them up and they said that there's a 1 week trial period that I could do, to see what it's like before I join the membership. They said that they will start charging my credit card on 1/1/2015. So, I tried the 1 week trial period - and then on 31/12/14 - I tried to cancel my membership.

    They said that I've gone over 1 day of the 1 week trial period and now I am bound with the fitness first contract.
    I said that I only wanted to do the 1 week trial period - and then quit, and told them that they will start charging me on 1/1/15 which is why I quit on 31/12/14.

    I changed my credit card details to avoid them charging me fees at the time.

    I tried calling the manager several times to explain to them my situation but they wouldn't accept my case. They said that I am still bound with the contract. My question is that I only went to the 1 week trial (which is free) and I do not want to be charged money on the services that I didn't receive.

    Fitness First is still calling me and emailing me and saying that I owe them $252. I am not paying this amount because I have not been receiving services worth up to this amount. Today, I have received an email saying that if I didn't respond soon, there will be a debt collectors chasing after me. However, when I joined Fitness First, I told them that I am only interested in 1 week trial period.

    I am very very upset with this transaction and was wondering if someone could help me. I asked my friend who was in the same situation (not with Fitness First but with a different gym), and she said that she went to the lawyer, and the lawyer said that she is only required to pay for the services she received.

    In this case, I did not receive any services (except the one week free trial period), and therefore, I do not think it is fair for me to pay $252 under contract law.

    Any help would be much appreciated.

    Many thanks.
     
  2. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

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    Did you sign anything ? What did the terms and conditions say?

    Do they say you had to notify by the 30th of Dec to cancel after trial period? Or within a week? I would have thought that if you started the trial period on the 25th Dec, the 31st would be 7th days after and within the 1 week trial period anyway.
     
  3. Ivy

    Ivy Well-Known Member

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    Hi Emily,

    I agree with Sophea, it would be good to know more about what the terms and conditions said in regards to when you had to cancel to avoid the fee.

    That said, the Australian Consumer Law prohibits unfair contract terms. There are three factors in determining an unfair contract term:
    1. It would cause a significant imbalance in the parties’ rights and obligations arising under the contract, and
    2. it is not reasonably necessary in order to protect the legitimate interests of the party who would be advantaged by the term, and
    3. it would cause detriment (whether financial or otherwise) to a party if it were to be applied or relied on.

    Lack of transparency is considered when determining whether a contract is unfair.

    Have you called NSW Fair Trading? If not, give them a call and see if they can help you. Contact us - NSW Fair Trading

    I personally doubt that Fitness First would be legally able to enforce the contract term.
     

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