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25-03-2020, 11:30   #1
blurtle
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WestWood gyms charging fees during closure

TL;DR: WestWood gyms closed on 15 March 2020 for COVID-19. They’re saying nothing about what happens with member fees (Which are already paid for March) and no indication of suspending fees going forward. Contract says 30 days to cancel. Given they are providing no service, should I just cancel my direct debit before the 1 April payment as they’re saying nothing sensible about refunding/rebating customers? Where do I stand legally then?



We’re in the middle of a semi-lockdown for COVID-19. WestWood gyms in Ireland closed on the evening of 15 March 2020. My direct debit for March had been taken on 1 March, so I paid for two weeks to date that the gym was closed.

From what I’m reading on the WestWood Facebook page the people at WestWood are saying: “No refunds, that’s tough cookies, we’re opening again on 29 March 2020 and if you want to adjust your membership then we’ll talk” or words to that effect.

Now the government has declared gyms specifically to be the target of closure from 25 March until 20 April, and WestWood are still saying nothing about this. Unlike other gyms they are saying nothing meaningful about fees and seem to be geared up to just take the membership fee and give the finger to their clients.

I’m “lucky” in that I haven’t paid for a year upfront. I can cancel my direct debit in the next few days to avoid the 1 April payment for the month of April. If i do that can they engage a debt collection agency to pursue the fees against me, possibly in the months to come? Alternatively if I write to them telling them I’m cancelling the direct debit immediately on foot of no service, can they use that against me later?

WestWood charge €79 a month, which I’ve generally been okay with because they have nice clubs, and in Leopardstown, nice staff (Bit mixed in other locations.) But they are a slimy gym. Their behaviour around fees during the COVID-19 closure is disgusting and bizarre. They claim they sent emails, but lots of members mysteriously didn’t get them. I specifically asked to be on the list in preparation for this kind of event and I have heard nothing. Their last published statement is from 15 March, 10 days ago, and makes no effort to address fees during the closure.
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25-03-2020, 12:15   #2
sugarman20
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How is it that Ben Dunne and Fylefit can both come out straight away and say we are pausing direct debits and this crowd can't? It's very bad form and they are supposed to be the "premium" gym!
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25-03-2020, 12:20   #3
dango
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You can pause your membership for three months which reduces your monthly payments to €10. Might be worth a go and see how it pans out in the next two months before cancelling.
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25-03-2020, 12:33   #4
blurtle
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dango View Post
You can pause your membership for three months which reduces your monthly payments to €10. Might be worth a go and see how it pans out in the next two months before cancelling.
I did that two years ago when I was working abroad a few months. You need to give 30 days' notice during which you pay the full membership fee. During suspension you still pay €10 a month.

Thank you for the idea, but respectfully, under these circumstances it's not really the point.
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25-03-2020, 13:50   #5
Ten Pin
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You can get a refund (through your bank) up to 8 weeks after the transaction (under SEPA rules) so you can wait and see or else block it before it's taken.

If they can't supply the service then their side of the contract with customers is breached anyway.
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25-03-2020, 13:51   #6
blurtle
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Oh, actually just got a message, first time in months, completely out of the blue. Does it address these important issues ... you decide


Quote:
I am the Area General Manager at West Wood Clubs, and I am always looking for ways to improve our service to you.

At West Wood Clubs, I want to do everything we can to help you succeed in reaching and maintaining your fitness goals. In order to keep you motivated and on track with your healthy pursuits, we are implementing a personalised email communication programme.

This new programme will provide you with information concerning club events, health and fitness news, special promotions, schedule changes as well as offer you support and encouragement on your progress.

We sincerely appreciate your membership. Should you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us.
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25-03-2020, 13:53   #7
blurtle
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Originally Posted by Ten Pin View Post
You can get a refund (through your bank) up to 8 weeks after the transaction (under SEPA rules) so you can wait and see or else block it before it's taken.

If they can't supply the service then their side of the contract with customers is breached anyway.
Thanks, you're a star!

So what I really should do is retrospectively cancel the March direct debit too and then send them a cheque for the first two weeks of March when they were open?
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25-03-2020, 14:07   #8
bluewolf
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they've just texted saying DD will be paused and annual membership extended

westwood ie blog covid
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25-03-2020, 14:11   #9
blurtle
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they've just texted saying DD will be paused and annual membership extended

westwood ie blog covid
Read it now, that's an improvement if very late.

It makes no mention of the last two weeks of March.
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