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California Fitness Scam - Have a date in Small Claims Court this month

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  1. #1

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    California Fitness Scam - Have a date in Small Claims Court this month

    Hey everyone,

    If you remembered a while back, I posted this thread on the C.F. gym in Mong Kok;

    http://hongkong.geoexpat.com/forum/33/thread217922.html

    Long story short, got a new letter from the small claims tribunal, stating that I have to attend a hearing later this month.
    Here's the attached letters for you to see;




    I would like some advice from fellow expats.. I don't know what to do exactly.
    Has anyone here attended a small claims tribunal before? What is the process like, and how long does it take? Is there a lot of people attending this, or something nothing major?

    Any advice on what to say at this hearing? I am a little nervous.

    A long with the letters above, they attached another one,
    "I dispute the Claimant's claim for the following reasons" form.

    I filled in the following;

    1.) Back in May 2011, When I signed with the contract, I was told that I could cancel the contract anytime I wanted within the first 12 months. When I went to cancel my contract a few months in, they told me that I couldn't, even though I was told I could.

    2.) I don't believe that I should pay California Fitness, as I was lied to prior to signing the contract on that day. If anything, California Fitness should pay me for damages (emotional distress), as they have bombarded my address with threatning letters demanding money. C.F. even went as far to get a debt collection agency to threaten to come to my home and take my belongings. This is unacceptable. I believe the company was I.C.L.

    3.) The threatning letters read that all costs will be borne by me, but I don't understand why I should be fined, as I was lied to prior to signing. Tis is a breach of contract on behalf on California Fitness also.

    Then I signed my name at the bottom of the letter..

    I still have all the original letters from 2 years ago, including the contract.

    Do I stand a chance of winning against C.F.?

    Anything you guys can share?
    please help.

    Last edited by lijianhua; 04-04-2014 at 04:10 AM.

  2. #2

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    I think when it comes down to it, there are two questions:
    Do you have any evidence that you were offered unlimited cancellation?
    Did you sign a contract agreeing to a minimum 12-month term?

    At this point, I think I'd suck it up and pay the amount you agreed to.


  3. #3

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    I can't offer advice but I certainly wish you the very best of luck.


  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by lijianhua:
    I still have all the original letters from 2 years ago, including the contract.
    What are the 2 original letters about?

    Do you have written proof that CF said you could cancel your contract at any time?

  5. #5

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    Tribunal

    Plan for half a day.
    There will be many people in the court. It is all Cantonese. If you cannot speak Cantonese ask for an interpreter.
    The Presiding officer will give a lecture in Cantonese, asking all the parties to please negotiate and settle the matter between the parties. After the lecture there will be a break, giving time for people to talk to each other and come to a settlement. If you cannot come to a settlement, you go back and tell the Presiding Officer that there is no settlement. A new date will be given to you for trial. At the date of Trial, you have to bring whatever proofs you have or any witness. If you lose, an order will be made against you. But that is not the end. You do not have to pay. In order to make you pay, they have to apply to the Bailiff and come to your home to make you pay. You are looking at minimum of one year. If you want o prolong, you can write to the tribunal asking for another date. It is up to you. How valuable is your time.

    QUOTE=lijianhua;2785202]Hey everyone,

    If you remembered a while back, I posted this thread on the C.F. gym in Mong Kok;

    http://hongkong.geoexpat.com/forum/33/thread217922.html

    Long story short, got a new letter from the small claims tribunal, stating that I have to attend a hearing later this month.
    Here's the attached letters for you to see;




    I would like some advice from fellow expats.. I don't know what to do exactly.
    Has anyone here attended a small claims tribunal before? What is the process like, and how long does it take? Is there a lot of people attending this, or something nothing major?

    Any advice on what to say at this hearing? I am a little nervous.

    A long with the letters above, they attached another one,
    "I dispute the Claimant's claim for the following reasons" form.

    I filled in the following;

    1.) Back in May 2011, When I signed with the contract, I was told that I could cancel the contract anytime I wanted within the first 12 months. When I went to cancel my contract a few months in, they told me that I couldn't, even though I was told I could.

    2.) I don't believe that I should pay California Fitness, as I was lied to prior to signing the contract on that day. If anything, California Fitness should pay me for damages (emotional distress), as they have bombarded my address with threatning letters demanding money. C.F. even went as far to get a debt collection agency to threaten to come to my home and take my belongings. This is unacceptable. I believe the company was I.C.L.

    3.) The threatning letters read that all costs will be borne by me, but I don't understand why I should be fined, as I was lied to prior to signing. Tis is a breach of contract on behalf on California Fitness also.

    Then I signed my name at the bottom of the letter..

    I still have all the original letters from 2 years ago, including the contract.

    Do I stand a chance of winning against C.F.?

    Anything you guys can share?
    please help.[/QUOTE]

    TheBrit likes this.

  6. #6

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    Unless you can prove your claim that Cali agreed you can cancel at any time, I don't think you have a leg to stand on. You signed the contract, you breached the contract. Unless it says in your contract that you can cancel at any time (which I think unlikely). It's perfectly acceptable for them to send debt collectors after you since you owe them money. If you want to avoid "emotional distress", don't breach a contract.

    Apologies if this doesn't sound very sympathetic but so many people come to this forum having signed a contract but wanting to get out of it. I don't know whether some people fundamentally don't understand what a contract is or if they're just a bit slow on the uptake. Don't sign anything without reading it first. If something is a dealbreaker for your agreement but it isn't included, don't sign the contract unless it's amended. Salespeople say all sorts of things to get you to sign. What matters is what the contract you sign says. So read it before signing and if you don't agree, don't sign it. It's not rocket science.


  7. #7

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    Just do what the person did in the other thread of unpaid rent, the guy getting sued didnt even bother to turn up to the hearing, as far as I know small claims court doesnt even have the power to take the money from you directly even if the other party wins. they OP in the below thread actually got an award/order in his favour but still there is no way to claim the money Haahaaa

    http://hongkong.geoexpat.com/forum/1...ead291374.html


  8. #8

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    I agree with you in principle, bibbju, but I sympathise with the OP enough to make we wonder whether these gyms operate on the same basis as the Westboro Baptist Church: they are not so much a church/gym as a mechanism to provoke people and then make money from suing them.


  9. #9

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    Dec 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by bibbju:
    Salespeople say all sorts of things to get you to sign. What matters is what the contract you sign says.
    This isn't true.

    Unless the contract expressly excludes all enticements and representations the salesperson makes, then they can form part of the contract. Even so, fraudulent misrepresentation cannot be excluded.

    What would be interesting is to record one of the CF salespeople in the middle of their "I'll promise you the world", and then using the recording in any proceedings down the line.
    Fiona in HKG and TheBrit like this.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by wtbhotia:
    Just do what the person did in the other thread of unpaid rent, the guy getting sued didnt even bother to turn up to the hearing, as far as I know small claims court doesnt even have the power to take the money from you directly even if the other party wins. they OP in the below thread actually got an award/order in his favour but still there is no way to claim the money Haahaaa

    http://hongkong.geoexpat.com/forum/1...ead291374.html
    I think the landlord won because they found in favour of the contract terms and likely this one will go the same way. I think OP's contract is pretty specific and unless there's something in writing to support his claims of verbal promises, not much to hope for, I suspect.

    Though as you say, actually getting the money is another matter, however I wouldn't want CF's collection agency on my tail, they sound like they are very experienced at chasing money owed
    iliketurtles likes this.

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