Message to all about the gym ‘Fitness First’

Just over a year ago, we moved house and I changed my name. We notified every company we needed to at the time, including Fitness First. All companies have been contacting us at our new address for the last year, including Fitness First. Until today, we had received a total of zero (non junk mail) letters forwarded from our old address.

7 months ago I cancelled my gym membership and received a confirmation letter from fitness first at my current address.

In February, Joe did the same – giving more than the required (one month’s) notice.

In April we cancelled our standing order with the bank.

Today we received a letter forwarded from our old address. I assumed this to be spam and almost threw it away. I had a terrible shock when I opened it. It was from a credit collection company stating that legal action was to be taken against Joe for failing to settle the debt that they had repeatedly been contacting us about (at the wrong address).

This was the first letter we’d had forwarded and it was dated June. If it hadn’t been for the people at our old address forwarding letters that looked like junk mail for over a year after we’d moved out, we’d never have got it!

After some detective work – and a lot of phone calls on my part, I discovered the cause of this alleged debt:

The debt occurred because Fitness First failed to update Joe’s membership status to ‘cancelled’ on their system and so had tried to take out a membership fee after we’d cancelled the membership and standing order. They’d also failed to update our address on the system (even though they have contacted us both several times at our new address). They’d also lost my new name details.

Fitness First claim to have repeatedly tried to contact Joe on an out-of-date address (without even bothering to check the pile of letters they had from us with our new address on them). When, each month, they failed to receive payment from a Mr Wrigley of 195 Dawlish Road, they added another £10 to the amount owed.

So far the financial managers of Fitness First have avoided speaking to me (in spite of me refusing to hang up until I speak to a manager and then calling back the same guy every 10 minutes for 2 1/2 hours and demanding to speak with a manager). Also, no-one will accept any responsibility for the error.

I have managed to get a membership manager (from the club we used to belong to) to send out another set of letters stating we’re no longer members and that we don’t owe the company any money. Hopefully this can stop them doing it again. Although, in spite of me telling her which address to send the letters to, it still remains a mystery as to which address the manger will actually send the letters!

The suggestions as to why the problem occurred from the call centre staff have been both wonderful and ludicrous. I shall not bore you with them all.

The recurrent impression given by the call centre chap I phoned every 10 minutes was that clearly we must have forgotten to send the letters of membership cancellation – even though we’ve got copies of the original letters (with details of when the letters were edited and printed) and, at the time, we received confirmation letters from Fitness First to say that our membership was cancelled and that they hoped we’d rejoin if they opened a club in our area!

The collective body that is Fitness First is moronic and I would strongly recommend to everyone to avoid having any dealing with this company and, if you do, keep a copy of everything they ever send you!

Sun, Sea, Anniversary and Sunburn.

We’ve just got back from a lovely weekend in Devon where we celebrated our 1st Wedding Anniversary! I can hardly believe that this time a year ago we were on our way to our honeymoon. It seems like I’ve blinked and the last year has disappeared!

We had a lovely day on Saturday at Buzzards (National Trust). We enjoyed a delightful walk, a paddle in the stream and the day was made even more perfect when a beautiful Damsel fly (not entirely certain on the type) sat down about 3 inches from our eyes! Unfortunately, I got the worst sunburn I’ve ever had. I now understand why people complain about it so much! (Today I am wearing a sarong so I can avoid any straps at all and I am absolutely smothered in aqueous cream.)

On Sunday (our anniversary) we went to Budleigh and had a lovely play by the sea. Joe, naturally, dived into the sea for a good swim even though it was freezing cold! We also played in the rock pools there and found hundreds of tiny little crabs. We rescued a big crab from almost certain doom and rounded the trip off nicely with an ice lolly and a trip to get Joe some cider!

We ate almost all our meals outside in Pete and Cynth’s beautiful garden – complete with frog pond and had the most marvellous time. We even found time to go and pick out some lovely bedding plants to put in our slightly bare garden. I think we both found the weekend very refreshing and we can start the next year of married life on a really positive and happy note.

Little Aston Bupa Hospital

I had my appointment with the consultant yesterday. It was amazing! He was really nice, the hospital was clean and tidy and I felt like they had time to listen to me and look after me without trying to rush me out of the door. I am converted! If we can ever afford it, we’re getting private medical insurance.

I am feeling much more positive now and like I might actually get better soon. Today I had an armful of blood tests and I have a load of unpleasant diagnostic tests over the next few weeks to look forward to! Hopefully I can find out why I have been feeling so ill and get it fixed.

Somerset

We’ve just got back from a lovely week in Somerset. We were staying in a tiny place called Barton St David. It was a very relaxing week and we really needed the break. Joe has gone back to work refreshed. I am still feeling poorly, but well rested at the same time.

We also met up with our dear friend Cate and her mother while we were there and saw “Mrs Henderson Presents” in the local village hall. It was such a lovely community atmoshphere. I really miss that feeling where we live.

We’re back to real-life with a thud now. If it hadn’t been for the hamsters, I don’t think we’d have wanted to come back to Walsall at all. Still, the days are getting longer and our new bathroom suite arrived today so things are looking up. I think having the new bathroom will make a big difference, the existing one is horrible!

Holiday

We’re off in 2 1/2 hours! So excited. Actually, I am far too excited to do any work at all today. I cannot wait to escape Walsall and the general Birmingham area. We have had a rough few weeks on our estate, it will be nice to get away from it.

I am missing the hamsters already though 🙁 Kat and David are going to look after them for us, so I know they’ll be well cared for. Still, I will really miss them!

The doctor has given me steroids to take for the lead up to, and the duration of our holiday. This means that (although I’m putting on weight – especially around my face) I might actually get some enjoyment out of the holiday.

Recently I’ve been too poorly to walk upstairs or get out of bed. I am seeing the consultant a week on Wednesday. Even if it turns out that I have Crohn’s, at least I can get some treatment. Anything is better than how poorly I’ve felt this past week.

Prednisolone is making me feel like a new person again. Of course, it is destroying my body in so many ways – but as a temporary fix it is really helping. If it does turn out to be Crohn’s there is an alternative steroid (that my sister takes for her CD) that doesn’t make one put on weight.

All for now anyway. Got to metaphorically jump up and down with excitement now. I have my lovely Joe all to myself for a whole week! Hooray!

Hamsters

Lucy is getting her markings back.

She went almost totally white over the winter (common for Winter White Russian Dwarfs to do in the wild, almost unheard of in this country!)

They are so lovely. I am so in love with my hamsters. Joe had to try very hard last night to talk me out of bringing them upstairs so I could have them in the bedroom!