New Barnet LA Fitness refuses reimbursements despite regularly closing faulty pool

Times Series: Keen swimmer Terry Messenger believes LA Fitness is acting unfairly by refusing to reimburse members Keen swimmer Terry Messenger believes LA Fitness is acting unfairly by refusing to reimburse members

A leisure centre with a faulty swimming pool is “ripping off” customers by failing to give refunds on “expensive” monthly memberships.

New Barnet LA Fitness in East Barnet Road has regularly closed the pool over the past year due to a faulty heater but, in line with the company’s terms and conditions, members are not reimbursed.

Keen swimmer Terry Messenger, of Hertford Close, said he only joined the centre to use the pool and has been left angry at being made to pay for a facility that is regularly unavailable.

Members sign a contract costing up to £40-a-month that states no reimbursements will be given if any of the facilities are out of order. But father-of-three Mr Messenger believes this is unfair.

The 56-year-old said: “I just feel ripped off. It may be in the contract but when I signed it I didn’t expect to ever have a case for any reimbursement. Technically they’re right but morally I think they’re wrong.”

The pool was shut most recently for at least three days at the end of January as well as for a lengthy period last summer.

It is currently open but at a lower temperature than normal due to ongoing problems with the heater.

LA Fitness said the pool has been closed “on several occasions” and has already spent £30,000 on the problem but added that major works are now being planned, which will leave it shut again.

The centre offered customers free use of the pools at two other branches but for freelance television producer Mr Messenger, who does not currently drive a car, the offer was not sufficient.

He said: “By signing people up to these contracts, they have no incentive to fix the pool. This has been going on a long time and they’ve suffered no financial penalty, despite not providing the service.

“In the past, the swimming pool would have been run by the local authority but, with the move to the private sector, you have to pay a vast amount of money up front for a service that is then not available – it’s ridiculous.”

LA Fitness apologised for any inconvenience caused by the pool closure and said investigation work was underway to permanently fix the issue.

On the issue of the contracts, a spokesman said: “We're sorry Mr Messenger has been inconvenienced by the pool closure but, as stated in our terms and conditions, we do not provide membership refunds for temporary closure of individual facilities. Our membership fees cover the cost of using all our facilities - including the gym equipment and studio classes, sauna and steam room."

What do you think? Should LA Fitness be made to reimburse members? Leave your comments below.

Comments (5)

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10:33am Tue 12 Feb 13

rony says...

the answer is in the text:
“In the past, the swimming pool would have been run by the local authority but, with the move to the private sector, you have to pay a vast amount of money up front for a service that is then not available – it’s ridiculous.”

Lets take back what is ours.
the answer is in the text: “In the past, the swimming pool would have been run by the local authority but, with the move to the private sector, you have to pay a vast amount of money up front for a service that is then not available – it’s ridiculous.” Lets take back what is ours. rony

10:39am Tue 12 Feb 13

drian says...

The maintenance at LA Fitness has been a joke for years. I left a year ago due to continued equipment not working due to maintenance issues and the pool was a problem in my last year of membership. The place was, also, filthy.

Vote with your feet because thats the only way these companies will react.
The maintenance at LA Fitness has been a joke for years. I left a year ago due to continued equipment not working due to maintenance issues and the pool was a problem in my last year of membership. The place was, also, filthy. Vote with your feet because thats the only way these companies will react. drian

10:40am Tue 12 Feb 13

Mr Reasonable says...

Sadly many local residents are being pushed into using these high priced private facilities because Barnet Council continue to provide a poor leisure service. In the latest Residents Perception Survey conducted by Barnet, satisfaction in council leisure services declined by 4 percentage points and Barnet's leisure services are now rated 16 percentage points below the London average, the biggest difference on any council service surveyed. LA Fitness should do the decent thing and either refund Mr Messenger or release him from the contract which it seems unable to fulfil.
Sadly many local residents are being pushed into using these high priced private facilities because Barnet Council continue to provide a poor leisure service. In the latest Residents Perception Survey conducted by Barnet, satisfaction in council leisure services declined by 4 percentage points and Barnet's leisure services are now rated 16 percentage points below the London average, the biggest difference on any council service surveyed. LA Fitness should do the decent thing and either refund Mr Messenger or release him from the contract which it seems unable to fulfil. Mr Reasonable

10:30pm Tue 12 Feb 13

OhWiseOne says...

Other than the Copthall leisure centre im struggling to think of any other suitable swimming pools in the area (that being said Copthalls pool is in a dire state too!)
Other than the Copthall leisure centre im struggling to think of any other suitable swimming pools in the area (that being said Copthalls pool is in a dire state too!) OhWiseOne

5:48pm Sat 16 Feb 13

oxygenfit says...

The customer is always right a % should be given back to him or if his main activity is swimming his contract should be suspended, with complementary use of the facilities. The guy just wants to train. Come to Oxygen Fit terry Ill give you a free month & you can use the pool next door, its been there for over 60 years and has just been refurbished.

Neil Godly
www.oxygen-fit.co.uk
The customer is always right a % should be given back to him or if his main activity is swimming his contract should be suspended, with complementary use of the facilities. The guy just wants to train. Come to Oxygen Fit terry Ill give you a free month & you can use the pool next door, its been there for over 60 years and has just been refurbished. Neil Godly www.oxygen-fit.co.uk oxygenfit

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