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.