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.