Esporta - never again, need help getting out of my contract - pregnancy related!

Well where I start...

I joined Esporta in January. I fancied a bit of luxury rather than going to my local leisure centre and they have a crèche which swayed it for me. Anyway I have no complaints with the gym; it was great, had a really good personal trainer and facilities were top notch.
I should hope so as they were double the price of my leisure centre!

Here is my problem. In May I fell pregnant, found out in June and immediately stopped going to the gym with the advice of my Midwife.
That might sound a little harsh, after all I am only pregnant and have not got a disease but I have my reasons.


Quick summary:

I had many problems in my first pregnancy, I haemorrhaged on a few occasions after my placenta erupted and had a low lying placenta as a result which meant I spent most of my pregnancy in hospital and was put on bed rest if I wanted any chance of delivering my baby alive. I defied the odds and eventually gave birth to a healthy boy. It was one of the worst things I have ever had to go through.

I feel very lucky to have a healthy son already as I have PCOS and as a result have not had a period for 5 years making trying to conceiving hard but had lots of fun trying! :w00t: I know women who have tried for years and have not had the same outcome. Anyway I am babbling now!


I told my local health club this and said that I wanted to terminate my contract and my midwife will write a supporting letter. They were not interested and in the end wrote to their head office. My midwife wrote a supporting letter stating why I could no longer attend. A couple of weeks later I received a letter saying they will suspend my contract if I pay £10 per month!? Obviously I was not having this; there are medical reasons why I cannot work out.

Shortly after receiving the letter the same happened as it did with my last pregnancy and I was taken to hospital. This has happened twice since and I have been put on bed rest.

Throughout this I have still been paying by direct debit even though I have not been to the gym since the end of May. I have paid up until the end of August but then I cancelled my direct debit as I cannot afford to pay for something I am not using.

I wrote another letter, this time with a doctors report stating my condition and why I am unable to attend the gym. Recently had a letter back offering to suspend my contract until January free of charge. My baby wont be born until the end of January and will most probably be delivered by C-section due to the complications so I will need a bit of recovery time!

I dont know what else to do; I am useless when it comes to things like this. After all of this there is no way i will ever return to this gym! Anyone offer any advice?

15 Comments

Banned

i have no advice except to say good luck with your pregnancy, i know these are the worst people to ever get out of a contract with, i would say completely impossible if they have not broke any conditions, its like anything really you sign on the dotted line and thats that unless they break any conditions your stuck with it

A few years back my ex wanted to cancel her gym membership.

The only way she found that she could do this was by 'proving' that she had moved out of the area.

For this, she redirected a mobile phone bill to a friends' address (just for the month) and used this as 'proof' that she had moved.

Obviously everywhere has their own policies, but thought it may help you.

Congrats by the way!!! :thumbsup:

Esporta were on Watchdog earlier this year. See ]http//ww…tml
I can't remember what the outcome was - sorry.
Congrats though

Banned

speak to the CAB they are free, and might think about the press, adverse publicity for esporta wont go down too good, plus as so many gyms or the posh types make so much of the creche facility, I would have thought any pregnant woman might think twice about using esporta and going elsewhere, retention in gyms can be a big issue, so worth a try, plus the mention of bbc`s watchdog might help, dont give up thats what they expect.. get mean!!!:thumbsup:

Original Poster

Thanks for the replies. I never would of had this problem if i had stayed with my local leisure centre :x

You learn from your mistakes. I will have a look on there website and see how many clubs they have in the area and where would be the most appropriate place to 'move' to! Anything is worth a try. Most places these days have a 3 month opt out policy and was told by the receptionist that this was the case but obviously not!

I have a few family members and friends who also use Esporta and as a result wont be re-newing their contract but somehow i dont think it will make a difference to such a big chain!

Original Poster

dog_cop

speak to the CAB they are free, and might think about the press, adverse … speak to the CAB they are free, and might think about the press, adverse publicity for esporta wont go down too good, plus as so many gyms or the posh types make so much of the creche facility, I would have thought any pregnant woman might think twice about using esporta and going elsewhere, retention in gyms can be a big issue, so worth a try, plus the mention of bbc`s watchdog might help, dont give up thats what they expect.. get mean!!!:thumbsup:




You are completely right and if i had not of had all of this fuss then of course i would of went back and renewed my contract. After all i want to lose the baby fat somehow

They make me so angry, will definately pop to the CAB, any ideas on making the press interested? I really am rubbish with stuff like this!

Local papers love a good story like this (good for them, I mean) - get in touch, either by phone or email, & explain what's happened so far & ask them to print your story 'as a warning to others'. Leave your contact details so that they can get back to you, otherwise they won't bother pursuing the story.

Hope you keep well.

This don't apply to you cos I understand why you would not want to be going to the gym and your midwife writing you up a letter etc,but for anyone who does go to the gym,have exercises classes etc,then the gym should accomodate the classes so you can attend then while pregnant,there usually no reason if you having a normal pregnancy that you can't exercise and specially they should adapt if people have paid for membership and all this day in age.

Just want to add my thoughts, firstly congratulations, make the baby priority number one.

Secondly, not sure if this has anything to do with it but the parent company which owns esporta went into administration not so long ago. The actual esporta 'arm' of the company are still trading as usual but I dont know if this has anything to do with them being so stubborn.

If it were me, I would as you have done, cancel direct debits and see where it goes from there. TBH cant see them pursuing it down the lines of debt collection etc as you do have a valid reason for cancelling.

I used to work for a debt collection agency and one of the accounts i came across was for a membership at a local authority leisure centre. Similar thing and if i recall the council dropped it and wrote off the debt.

Not sure if that has clarified or confused matters but those are my thoughts on the subject.

Original Poster

Sebas111

Just want to add my thoughts, firstly congratulations, make the baby … Just want to add my thoughts, firstly congratulations, make the baby priority number one.Secondly, not sure if this has anything to do with it but the parent company which owns esporta went into administration not so long ago. The actual esporta 'arm' of the company are still trading as usual but I dont know if this has anything to do with them being so stubborn.If it were me, I would as you have done, cancel direct debits and see where it goes from there. TBH cant see them pursuing it down the lines of debt collection etc as you do have a valid reason for cancelling. I used to work for a debt collection agency and one of the accounts i came across was for a membership at a local authority leisure centre. Similar thing and if i recall the council dropped it and wrote off the debt.Not sure if that has clarified or confused matters but those are my thoughts on the subject.




Thanks for that, one thing i dont need is debt collectors at my door and the only reason i didnt cancel my direct debit straight away was that my Husband does not want them banging at the door with young kids at home.


Think it is about time to get MEAN and put my foot down! Will definately think about ringing my local paper as long as they dont print a picture!

These are the worst to deal with. Mate of mine had Medical reasons why she couldnt any longer use the gym.,She ended up still paying 52 quid i think for a whole year while she wasnt using it. She couldnt get out of it.
Good luck and dont worry over this Id except the 10pound for now whilst fighting it. Look after yaself xx

I think you have a case, however, playing Devil's Advocate.

Pregnancy could be seen as a lifestyle choice. If, for example, you had elective cosmetic surgery and could not attend the gym then is would not be their fault.

GFs mum had a massive heart attack eight months ago, so she tried to cancel her Fitness First membership about five months back, after getting better and going home. Cue a phonecall EVERY morning from FF, why wasn't she still paying, she couldn't leave, she hadn't cancelled 'properly' etc. I work with the local paper often enough to know the editor pretty well, so asked him to 'investigate'. After one call by an office junior, they mysteriously stopped hassling her!

A woman keeled over and died in a gym here in Cardiff about two years ago, these gym businesses don't care about anything other than oversubscription. I use the gym in a 5* hotel which happens to be two doors up from my flat, i'd recommend that anyone thinking of joining a gym looks at hotel gym options, as the infrastructure is so much better. The gyms are usually franchised, so if you have a problem that they won't deal with, the hotel manager will be happy to step in- it's their reputation too. These hotels often have better deals too- I pay in cash every three months, which covers me if I end up working away, moving, or falling ill- plus they don't get my direct debit details, which can only be a good thing!

Good luck resolving this, remember, any baliffs letters are just a blag unless you recieve a letter from a court first. It costs less than £6 an hour to employ someone to phone every gym member that they may be able to get money out of through thinly veiled threats, and if they phone 15 people an hour and get three to pay an extra months money, the company could easily make £100 profit. Whilst this is extremely cost effective, it's also unprincipled, aggressive, sickening, and wrong. OP, you have my sympathies and best thoughts for a happy pregnancy.

To be honest, I'm not sure there is a legal way out of this. The only thing you can do is to try to get them to cancel the contract as a goodwill gesture. You've entered in to a contract whereas they supply the facilities to you and it's up to you to use them. You're not under obligation to use the facilities, only to pay for the right to use them for the duration of the contract.

As they have offered to suspend then contract until January when the baby is due, they have tried to accommodate you circumstances so it would be difficult to try the "unfair contact terms" angle of complaint.

You can try to complain again, but you may not get anywhere. It's the same as having a Sky contract for 12 months but suggesting you shouldn't pay it because you haven't watched anything on it.

I used to have an esporta membership and lost my job so could no longer afford it. I simply cancelled my direct debit and never went back.I never recieved any letters or action from them and that was several years ago. If they did try to take it futher maybe a simple lawyers letter would end there stupidity .I also think CAB is a good mediator suggest .
I also had a membership with fitness first and when I became ill they cancelled no problems without a doctors letter and were very understanding.
Good luck with your pregancy OP.
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