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Asking for advice to dealing with the undesirable selling practices of California Fitness

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  1. #1

    Unhappy Asking for advice to dealing with the undesirable selling practices of California Fitness

    Several days before, I was induced to California Fitness yesterday on 22 January 2014 (Wednesday) at the time he was shopping near Langham Place in Mongkok. After the long time presentation, the salesperson of California Fitness asked for my ID documents, including HKID, Student ID and Credit Card for the check of entitlement of enjoying the first comer privileges. A few minutes after my presentation of the ID documents, another salesperson came with a contract and asked me to sign.

    I refused to sign the contract at first and requested explanation of the details. The salesperson responded “I will explain it after you sign it”. Two to three salespersons kept lobbying me for 2.5 hours. As my ID documents were kept by the salesperson, I finally signed the contract without noting the details. Shortly afterward, I found out that the contract referred to a membership totaling over $10k in one-off payment. The salesperson repeated and emphasized “Since you gave us the credit card, it proves that you accepted our offer when you are conscious”.

    I was angry and started negotiating with them. After negotiating with the salespersons, I was informed the contract cannot be cancelled but I was offered to change the plan to a monthly plan of $368 for 18 months. Because another clerk(she gave me her name and her phone number) there told me that I can cut the autopay to end the contract earlier and I wanted to get the way to leave California Fitness at the earliest possible, I had to sign the contract, agreed what all they said and paid HKD736 for the membership fees of the first two months.

    However, the clerk who told me that I can cut the autopay denied what she has said before. And she said if I do not pay them as the contract has written, I will be charged of all the money I haven't paid and other reasonable money.

    Because I am a newcomer to HK, I didn't realize that I should call the police when they were keeping my ID documents in time. I regretted a lot for not doing so. So after the case, I have asked for help from Consumer's Council but I don't think they can actually help me a lot. And due to the lack of strong evidence, it seems that I have little chance to win the case.

    I want to ask can I really cut the autopay and what should I do? I don't want to go back there because I think I am traumatized after this case.
    I have found some posts on this topic several months or years ago but I don't know whether what they have said and done are still practicable now or not.
    It is very kind of you to apply this post.


  2. #2

    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by theo11321045:
    Two to three salespersons kept lobbying me for 2.5 hours. As my ID documents were kept by the salesperson, I finally signed the contract without noting the details. Shortly afterward, I found out that the contract referred to a membership totaling over $10k in one-off payment.
    You spent 2.5 hours negotiating a contract and you didn't know what you signed?

    An expensive life lesson. If they are trying to hard to sell you something it probably isn't worth it, also never buy brands that push products predominantly at airports and don't buy products at the check-outs at supermarkets.

  3. #3

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    Is this a wind-up?


  4. #4

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    Get a lawyer to write to them. It would probably scare them off.


  5. #5

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    Incorrect EC.

    OP, if you're not embellishing this story, and it really happened as you described:

    1. Contact your credit card company and tell them you were forced under duress to sign. They may reverse the charge.

    2. I see no formation of contract. One limb is the "intent to create legal relations". If you can prove duress to sign the contract (e.g. obtaining via discovery the CCTV recordings of them harassing you to sign a contract), I think you can prove this point. You can then file a claim at court.

    3. You should contact the police and report the fact that they were unlawfully keeping your property (ID and credit card). Yes they gave it back but it could also constitute a fraud.

    4. Make proper complaints to CF.

    shri likes this.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by iliketurtles:
    Incorrect EC.
    Whichever way you look at this it looks an expensive lesson from life. Be it financial, emotional or the time you will waste trying to get retribution / prosecution

    Quote Originally Posted by iliketurtles:
    3. You should contact the police and report the fact that they were unlawfully keeping your property (ID and credit card). Yes they gave it back but it could also constitute a fraud.
    This may be worth it to stop dodgy sales tactics in the future. Although if you had walked out they would of given your card back otherwise they would have been keeping it from you rather than just processing it in the office while you talked through the details.

  7. #7

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    Okay fair enough. I thought you were alluding to the OP having no further recourse which, as mentioned above, is not the case


  8. #8

    I have googled this gym and they have done this for a long time and it seems that they don't care about it because I signed the contract and the initiative is in their hands.


  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by usehername:
    Get a lawyer to write to them. It would probably scare them off.
    You don't know this company. It wouldn't scare them in the least.
    shri likes this.

  10. #10

    I should have called the police or asked them to return my cards as soon as possible...
    I have told about the situation to the CC and the reply is "even though I file a claim at court, I still have little chance to win because it is hard for me to prove that I was forced to sign the contract"(since they didn't do anything stepping out of line and they returned my cards immediately when I told them to they had kept my card for such a long time after I signed and they said they just forgot).
    And it seems that I have to pay them according to what the contract has written...
    What a lesson...


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