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Virgin Active / gym membership cancellation

1 Thundersley, England, Essex, United Kingdom Review updated:

I joined the thundesley club in August 2007, I had a membership for myself and my two children. At the time of joining I specified that I could only afford to pay for a year and that I only wanted a year's contract. I therefore only paid for 12 months then stopped paying and stopped using the gym. This morning I have received a letter from a debt collecting agency asking me for £529.50 on behalf of you. I am appalled, I am not trained in legal matters and didn't understand the terms and conditions but I did ask the salesperson to clarify the situation and the saleperson who sold me this contract stated that I had only joined for 12 months and would not be liable for any more payments. I only paid for a year because I knew I would not be able to afford any more payments. I have no money to pay this £529.50. I have not used the gym since August 2008 and now I am going to be taken to court because I was mis-sold this contract. I am not hiding or trying to shirk my debts but I think this is unjust and unfair. I have always believed the Virgin group of companies to be fair, honest and just. Am I wrong?
I have searched the web in vain for a name and contact details for someone I can complain to - can anybody help me please?

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  • Ch
      9th of Feb, 2009
    -1 Votes

    I agree with you. I am going to take them to court as they continued to take money from me even though I had canceled my membership. Give me a shout on

  • An
      19th of Mar, 2009
    0 Votes

    Same problem. I have been told that i joined on a 12 month "rolling" contract. As far as I was aware I was locked in for 12 months and that is it - it was never made remotely clear that it was for any longer. They have now dared to say that I am locked in for another year because i did not cancel at the end of the 12 months. This is ludicrous. I dont know how to get out but had no idea i was signing up for a rolling contract. I was not asked if it was ok to roll for another 12 months and was totally unaware. Any tips on what to do? All they keep saying is we can send the terms and conditions!

  • An
      19th of Mar, 2009
    0 Votes

    Virgin Active are disgusting to even try and rip customers off in this way.

  • Pe
      8th of Apr, 2009
    0 Votes

    I am having the same problem - cancelled it 3 months before "start " of new contract which they ignored and they are now threatening debt agency - just wondered how you got on?think I am going to take them to small claims court for taking d debit payments after I cancelled


  • Pe
      9th of Apr, 2009
    0 Votes

    Getting harassing phone calls now fromthem at number 08719 84 85 86 telling me I own THEM money. kicked off and got name of membership services manager - KERRY HOBROUGH at 100 Aldersgate Street, ; London, ; EC1A 4LX. but guess what - as yet she not called me back - shes on 0207 374 0091
    If you want to write to Branson himself you can do so at Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Group Ltd, 120 Campden Hill Road, London, W8 7AR

    Going to virgin Sheffield at 8am in morning to kick off with their General Manager - Phil Scott - will let you know how I get on Ive been a member over five years then get treat like this - disgusting

  • Da
      18th of Apr, 2009
    0 Votes

    I agree. Completely dissapointed with the type of service received at Virgin. When I went in to ask about cancellation of the rolling 12 month contract (which I was not told about) the manager just smirked and said "your stuck, you can cancel in 10 months". A very good Virgin reputation has been smeared badly for me.
    Am a memeber of Virgin Active Deansgate, Manchester.

    has anyone had any joy getting out of this??

  • Ni
      5th of May, 2009
    0 Votes

    I too have been conned by this memership at the Virgin Active in Didsbury.My complaint has been ignored and I was told that staff have been trained in the way they sell their membership and I have signed a contract so I have to abide by it
    Arc are now chasing the "debt" ands I received a solicitors letter on Saturday threating court action.
    I will not pay the £170 after researching this extensively I believe if it is under 200 pounds they will not pursue it or so other customers who have been duped have told me.
    I am going to keep complaining and highlighting the misselling . You should view an interesting article in the Daily Mail in oct 2008 where someone wrote in with a similar complaint, Virgin Active were contacted and they admitted liabilityand dropped the "debt"

  • Di
      16th of Jul, 2009
    0 Votes

    I would agree with Niamby regarding the Didsbury Gym. The gym staff are excellent and the best thing about the club, but the attitude regarding membership is awfull. I suffer from metabolic arthritis and have some good months and then some bad weeks and sometimes month, but I still paid my mebembership. This year I couldn't attend for over a month and then due to the lack of contact I decided after 7 years that enough was enough. The contract was misold and I gave the months notice as I was told and then the problems started. Now ARC are doing the thing, but to be fair to them, it was they that pointed out Virgin were in the wrong. I went back, some girl from SA, or Zim with an attitude problem, refused to make a copy of my cancellation request, nor would she give me the name of the chap who took the cancellation. The best admin come manager is Louise, cheerfull, helpfull and stands her ground, its also likely she's left for greener fields. After all the money I have paid over the years. The truth is that Virgin as a brand is all spin, there in debt up to their eyeballs and have no concept of real customer service.

  • Ma
      22nd of Jul, 2009
    0 Votes

    I too am being stung by these con artists at Didsbury. When I signed up I told them I wanted to ensure the contract only ran for 12 months. Their membership advisor, Alan, told me that wouldn't be a problem. I stopped going to the gym after 12 months then discovered they were still taking money from my account. I got my bank to refund it under the direct debit scheme (unfortunately they took all of the money back, not the excess months) Virgin then demanded I call a premium rate number to discuss it. When they finally called me I asked for a copy of the contract. They refused to send a copy but I immediately refunded the one year payment they were entitled to and told them I was disputing the extra payments until I saw the contract. They then sent a debt collection letter and added £30 to the bill (I think they are not allowed to do this to a disputed invoices, only if I refuse to pay). The manager at Didsbury then sent me an email saying Alan had left and hadn't made a note on my account so tough luck I have to pay. Conveniently Alan no longer works there and they have no record of the note he assured me he would make to ensure my one year membership was exactly that.

    1. I don't think they can legally add charges to a disputed invoice if they refuse to provide proof of the debt
    2. Recent bank charge cases have said any addidtional fees for a standard letter should not be excessive (£25 is deemed excessive in the bank charge ruling so £30 is definitely excessive)
    3. I believe they refused to send proof to deliberately apply excess charges
    4. They have trained their staff to say one thing then stiff you because the staff do not follow up

    Has anyone taking these thieves on in court yet?

  • Ju
      17th of Aug, 2009
    0 Votes

    yes i am having same problem, just got letter today saying i owe 10 months, i rang arc and told them to take me too court. i cant stand virgin now, the thing is i was a member before and cancelled without problem and then rejoined 8 months or so later, if they had let me cancel this time with no bother then in 6 months i may have rejoined again, but never again.they are silly.

  • Lu
      18th of Aug, 2009
    0 Votes

    Has anyone actually been prosecuted by these con artists? Does anyone have any details or a copy of the original Diamond Membership contract?

    They plain conned me - assured me the contract had an initial 12 month mininum contract and that I would then be on a monthly contract as i was previously. In fact when I tried to cancell they are now telling me I am on a rolling contract that renews automatically after 12 months (which is exactly what I had discussed at length with them that I did not want, and which I found nothing about in the contract I signed - the words "initial 12 month minimum contract" were there, but no mention of a rolling contract, just mention that then monthly charges would be fixed at the same price) and are demanding 8 months of membership fees.

    When I asked them for a copy of my contract they only sent me the Transfer form that they made me complete AFTER I had signed the contract (this was to deal with the £10 transfer fee from my old membership type to the new diamond membership), which talks about the Diamond Membership automatically renewing for a further 12 months at the end of the commitment period if not terminated. Again the words rolling contract do not appear anywhere, and I clearly remember querying that statement about the renewing membership at the time, and them assuring me that that simply referred to the type of membership, i.e. diamond which ensure the price would not go up, but that I would only be on a monthly contract like a was before (only one month notice, by the 15th of the previous month). I therefore signed this form as well. It's the classic con: tell you one thing, give you one piece of paper that corroborates what they said, then slip you another bit of paper with vague terms which can be interpreted in various ways depending on the mindset presented... and they have got you - taken in isolation you look like a ###.

    They are now chasing me with ARC.

    I am simply shocked that a) trading standards are letting them get away with it, and that b) Richard Branson is putting his name to this thieving venture.

  • Ar
      2nd of Sep, 2009
    0 Votes

    when i joined virgin, everyone was really friendly and smiley, but when i went to them for cancellation of my membership, things were not so rosy. Firstly, the guy who made the membership to me never mentioned that have to SIGN a receipt to cancel. Secondly I called the club and they said no problem, you are welcome back whenever you decide to come back. NOW I get a letter saying I have to pay 3 months!!! as I didn't sign the receipt. I mean, it is only my word against their. But no one told me that I have to sign a recipt before I leave. SO NOW HERE I AM!

  • Ma
      10th of Sep, 2009
    0 Votes

    I was thinking about joining either the VA @ Deansgate or Printworks - Now I am not.

    If someone is thinking of joining, get them to read the terms & conditions for you - word for word, as they are obliged to do so (its their job).
    If it comes to it, just tell them you can't read or something! Ask them to clarify the bits, you don't understand.

    Get a photocopy of everything you have signed.

    Make amendments on the declaration and then sign it, or put a note before your signature outlining anything you want to add in. If its not acceptable for VA, then fine; ask them to show you door.

    After all they want you to sign up, and will go length's for it..

  • Pa
      8th of Dec, 2009
    0 Votes

    it seems this is a common problem, i am in the same boat. But have not moved. Read about this on the forums and decided to cancel a month before my contract expired. went in Virgin Active Leeds Kirkstall to cancel at the correct time and they now swear I did no such thing so am tied in for another year. In any other case i would be calling the police. If a conman did this to a person in the street, they would be arrested but because it is Branson, he seems to be able to get away with it.

    Has anyone read about a succesful case where you had not moved address but just wished to cancel? I am in the process of buying a house and having a debt collection agency contacting me will affect my ability to apply for a mortgage, so i cannot go down the debt collection route that Virgin Active seem to force you into.

  • Dh
      13th of Jan, 2010
    0 Votes

    I implore you all to write to BBC’s Watchdog and it could feature in an upcoming programme, particularly at the moment in the ‘fitness season’.

    Go to

    Click on Subject “Sport, Leisure and Entertainment”, then sub category “Health clubs and leisure centres”.

    This is what I wrote:

    Virgin Active gyms partake in a very unfair practice in the membership contracts. One of their membership packages the “Diamond Membership” requires that you sign a 12 month rolling contract. Therefore if you do not cancel the membership by "the seventeenth day of the twelfth month”, then you are automatically entered into another 12 month contact. Virgin Active do not send a reminder at the end of each 12 month period. The cancellation fee is the remainder of your 12 month contact. Therefore I am in a situation where I have been a member of Virgin Active Health Club for nearly 7 years and will need to pay in excess of £700 to cancel my contract. Do watchdog feel this is fair or acceptable? I am not alone on this issue, a quick Google search brings up many forums, e.g. [I gave them a load or links]

  • Ev
      12th of Feb, 2010
    0 Votes

    my story is a bit different I choose to ignore my payments I had called them to tell them I wasn’t able to attend the gym as I was working nights and sleeping mornings till going to work I now have to give the agency collections 231.00 I pay 67.00 a month I can’t afford it so I called to cancel but I wasn’t told that I had to go and talk to a manager nor write a email which is a waste of time and also there customer service is shocking the woman on the phone was actually so bad I was really angry I haven’t slept for two days thinking about how am going to get enough money to cover all my payments and how her attitude towards me was more than horrifying I calculated that I pay 804 pound a year with that said I think you’d be better off going to a cheap gym that you pay less than 4 pound commission fee but you’re not obligated to pay monthly it may be a bit more but you won’t feel that if you don’t go you wasted money !!!

  • Ev
      12th of Feb, 2010
    0 Votes

    i forgot to mention what the ladysaid to me i told her i spoke to the bank and she replied "well what do you think the bank are going to do there not going to help you"

  • Ka
      11th of May, 2010
    0 Votes

    I was member of V Active in High Street Kensington for around 4 years, I freezed my membership (till further notice) in writing and gave it to one of duty staff. After four months I realized that membership fee was collected each month from my account. After long argue with manger she desided to give one month free membership in the end, but I told her for the unfair desition I do not wish to be member any more and I canceled my direct debit but they tried to take membership fee from my account again. I call them again and they said I had to canceled it in writing, I gaive them notice but they write to me back and asked to pay the out satanig ballance of the privous month otherwise may membership would not cancel.
    Few days a go I have received a letter from V Active to pay £370.20 other wise they pass it to their solicitor to issue court proceeding.
    When I wanted to became a member in Virgin Acive which was "Holms Place orignally" by one of the sales man I never been told that there is 3 months cancelation notice is in force and never recived any contract or terms and condition form from them.
    I like to know if there be any body how can advise me what I have to do.

    Many tanks

  • Di
      4th of Nov, 2010
    0 Votes

    Virgin Active Deansgate - vile homophobic Blond on reception

  • Ar
      14th of Jun, 2011
    0 Votes

    This has just happened to my wife. She cancelled her membership at the Hendon (London) gym and cancelled the direct debit. Then just last week received a letter demanding £58 payment and threatening with debt collection agency. When we phoned them they said that they did not accept "verbal" cancellation (even though the Hendon branch had done so) and so the membership was not cancelled. As a gesture of goodwill they said they would backdate the cancellation, but we would still have to pay for one month outstanding when we didn't use it. we're still not sure how to respond to this (although, obviously, we would never touch or recommend VirginActive again).

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