Unfair treatment by Topnotch health club

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Wednesday 14 February 2007 6.34pm
I signed up for a 6 month contract back in July on the understanding that it would be for 6 months - at a special rate. If I had signed up for 12 it would have been cheaper. I've paid every month by direct debit and checked in December by phoning them when my last direct debit would come out, I was told that my last payment would be in December. So I was surprised to see a further payment come out of my account in January but assumed it was a mistake and that I would be able to call them to get it returned. I didn't get a chance to call them until February when I realized a further second payment has come out. I have phoned them to explain and they are absolutely refusing to give me my money back on the basis that I should have given one months notice. How can that be when I signed up for a 6 month contract? I feel really misled and want to warn others not to fall into the same trap.
Wednesday 14 February 2007 6.48pm
The terms probably say that it's a six month minimum contract which will renew automatically until you give at least one month's notice - this is quite normal in my experience. However, if they did not make this clear at the time, you could try arguing it or speak to your bank...

Chris
Wednesday 14 February 2007 7.34pm
You can stop all payments by cancelling your direct debit with your bank, if that's what you want to do.
Wednesday 14 February 2007 7.53pm
I think the point Lizzie is making is that she signed up for a 6 month contract, and the nice folks at TopNotch took 8 months of DD payments.

I suspect that there is some clause in the contract making it incumbent on the member to cancel the DB, or they assume you want to stay and take the payment every month.
Wednesday 14 February 2007 8.36pm
You need to look at the small print. Most "6 month contracts" are actually just ongoing, but you are not tied to the normal 12 month minimum conrtact, I think. Same as mobile phones - I just signed up for a "12 month contract", but it'll go on forever unless I ring up and cancel it.

As a minor point, they might also find it a bit odd that it sounds like it took you a month to find the time to call them? If I noticed what I felt was an unauthorised direct debit, I would be on the phone within 5 minutes.

Mogoot - if 1 month notice is required as a part of the conrtact, technically she will be in breach of contract if she cancels her DD without giving the required notice period and they could issue a claim in the small claims court against her, should they really want to.
Thursday 15 February 2007 9.42am
JaneS wrote:
Mogoot - if 1 month notice is required as a part of the conrtact, technically she will be in breach of contract if she cancels her DD without giving the required notice period and they could issue a claim in the small claims court against her, should they really want to.

Indeed - this happened to me with LA Fitness. I was out of the country and couldn't be bothered to write a letter to cancel my membership so simply cancelled the DD online. I shortly received a letter from a debt collection agency. You have been warned!
Thursday 15 February 2007 1.24pm
Complain to your Bank

Companies who are part of the DD scheme must comply with bank rules

a complaint should get the bank to question Top Notch
Thursday 15 February 2007 3.54pm
Check your contract to see whether it states it's a minimum of 6 months or not, and whether or not a 1 months notice would be required. If that is all not the case, call them, kindly ask for your money back and if they refuse tell them you will report them to the Trading Standards office. I find that helps, but you'll have to be sure you're right.
Thursday 15 February 2007 4.49pm
You do have to be sure you're right. Your bank will want to see the contract themselves. I have a friend who is a member at Top Notch and they signed up on a 12 month 'offer' but with a 1 month notice period in the T&C, so presume it is similar to that. Annoying, if you didn't anticipate it, but legally binding.

Noone thinks their "X-month" mobile phone contract or broadband contract automatically expires, so why would you think that this would? The number of months is the MINIMUM you are allowed to pay for.
Thursday 15 February 2007 6.20pm
I had a contract with them before and it expired after 12 months. I actually phoned them up in December and spoke to someone who confirmed my contract would expire in December and the last payment would be in December. Evidently I was speaking to someone who didnt know what they were talking about but why should I be penalised for taking incorrect advice from a member of their staff? If I had been told during that conversation that I needed to check the terms of my contract and give one months written notice then I would have done so in December.
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