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Fitness First claim to have repeatedly tried to contact Joe on an out-of-date address (without even bothering to check the pile of letters they had from us with our new address on them).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!