A man who quit his £10-a-month gym got more than he bargained for – after bailiffs turned up on his doorstep demanding money.
Former gym-goer Richard Ward cancelled his low-price membership at the end of his 12-month contract in September last year.
But instead of an amicable break up with the gym, the father-of-two found himself lumped with a £171 fine and threatened with legal action by Xercise4Less in Hull, East Yorks.
He was even hounded by debt collectors who turned up on his doorstep and demanded the money – which was more than his gym membership cost for a whole year.
Richard said: “I wanted to cancel my membership which was only 12 months, so I paid my last £9.99 a month when it was up and cancelled it.
“But, since then, I have been getting letters from a debt collection company asking me for ridiculous amounts in administration charges. They said I owed them £175.
“Every time I have rung them either they don’t respond or say they are not interested.
“This is all over a £10 contract and they want to charge me £175 now. It’s a joke, especially since I can’t get hold of anyone there.”
Richard vented his anger by writing to the gym’s chief executive but never got a response.
He didn’t realise that a month’s membership fee had to be paid in order for him to escape the wrath of debt collectors because he never saw any paperwork.
The father even offered to pay the £9.99 charge but it has not been accepted.
Richard added: “There has been no negotiation process at all. I want them to hear what I’m trying to say to them.
“When you cancel apparently you had to make an additional payment. I had no paperwork when I signed so I had no idea about it.
“Then they were sticking administration charges onto me for no reason.
“I had offered to pay the £10 if it turns out I did make the mistake in the first place but they were not accepting that.
“They are threatening me with court action and I can really do without that.
“It’s a shocking, shocking company and a shocking response from them.”
Xercise4Less said Richard did not follow their strict procedures and didn’t give them 30 days notice prior to cancelling his direct debit.
But the gym has said it will waive the father’s outstanding balance because of the effort Richard went to cut all ties with the company.
An Xercise4Less spokesman said: “Our terms and conditions clearly state that members must inform Xercise4Less that they are cancelling their membership rather than cancelling the direct debit themselves, otherwise they will continue to be charged.
“Our cancellation policy is 30 days notice so when any member informs us they want to cancel their membership we will take one further direct debit from their account if it is due in this 30-day period.
“Unfortunately, Richard Ward did not follow this procedure and cancelled his direct debit, without informing Xercise4Less of his intention to cancel first.
“Therefore a further payment remained outstanding.
“However on this occasion we will agree to waive the outstanding balance as, following an internal investigation, it is clear to us that Mr Ward had tried to clear his initial balance.”