Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Business & Appointments - - FRONT PAGE -

I was re­view­ing my bank state­ments re­cently, I no­ticed that I am still pay­ing for a gym mem­ber­ship even though I can­celled it three months ago. When I fol­lowed up with the com­pany to get a re­fund, it wouldn’t en­ter­tain a re­fund with­out bank state­ments to prove that I’ve paid the mem­ber­ship for those months. This will cost me as I have to pay to get the state­ments from my bank. Can the com­pany do this? Sor­cha, Cork city WHEN you take out a gym mem­ber­ship, you usu­ally sign up to terms and con­di­tions which out­line the gym’s can­cel­la­tion pro­ce­dure. If you then de­cide to can­cel your mem­ber­ship, you need to fol­low this pro­ce­dure to en­sure your mem­ber­ship is can­celled cor­rectly.

The first step is to check you fol­lowed the com­pany’s can­cel­la­tion pol­icy. Check your orig­i­nal con­tract to get fur­ther de­tail. Then see if you have ev­i­dence of your re­quest to can­cel — and that you got con­fir­ma­tion from the gym that it re­ceived your re­quest and can­celled your mem­ber­ship.

If you paid by di­rect debit, you can can­cel the di­rect debit by writ­ing to both your bank and the gym to in­form them of the can­cel­la­tion, if you have not done so al­ready. You should keep a copy of the can­cel­la­tion in case of a dis­pute. When you con­tact your bank, you will need to pro­vide your ac­count de­tails, the name of the gym and any other de­tails rel­e­vant to the pay­ment.

If you feel the di­rect debit the gym is tak­ing from you is unau­tho­rised, you can re­quest a re­fund im­me­di­ately and get a re­fund of pay­ments taken up to the pre­vi­ous eight weeks. You can also re­quest a re­fund for any unau­tho­rised di­rect deb­its af­ter eight weeks and within 13 months from the date on which the pay­ment was deb­ited. How­ever, af­ter the eight-week pe­riod you may need to pro­vide ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion or proof the trans­ac­tion was unau­tho­rised. re­al­is­tic in what you will ac­cept.

An­other op­tion is to con­sider tak­ing le­gal ac­tion but this is time-con­sum­ing and ex­pen­sive and you are not guar­an­teed a bet­ter out­come. Be­fore start­ing court ac­tion, you need to con­sider whether you have suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence. For ex­am­ple, can you say and prove with ab­so­lute certainty it was the charger that caused the dam­age to your phone?

Fi­nally, al­ways try to buy charg­ers from a rep­utable re­tailer and check they have a CE mark and that the man­u­fac­turer’s name and con­tact ad­dress is present. With poor qual­ity charg­ers there is a greater risk of elec­tro­cu­tion, fire or dam­age to the elec­tronic equip­ment. IF you are a busi­ness sell­ing on­line, ei­ther through a web­site or on so­cial me­dia, this means you must com­ply with the reg­u­la­tions in the Con­sumer Rights Di­rec­tive. This di­rec­tive gives on­line shop­pers strong pro­tec­tions when they buy from a busi­ness in the EU. This is be­cause when con­sumers shop on­line, they are buy­ing from a dis­tance so these rights al­low them to ex­am­ine what they have bought, see if they are happy with it and, if not, re­turn it to the busi­ness and get a full re­fund.

Your cus­tomers can can­cel an on­line or­der — once it is not cus­tom-made for them — up to 14 days af­ter they re­ceive it. This means they have the right to can­cel an or­der for any rea­son within this pe­riod and get a full re­fund, in­clud­ing any stan­dard de­liv­ery costs they have paid. They are al­lowed to re­move the pack­ag­ing, ex­am­ine the item and make sure they are happy with it.

Your cus­tomer is within her rights to re­turn the cards to you be­cause she doesn’t like them and get a full re­fund. This right ap­plies even if you stated in your terms and con­di­tions that you have a no-re­funds pol­icy. The cus­tomer must en­sure the cards are kept in good con­di­tion un­til they are sent back to you. While we will en­deav­our to place your ques­tions with the most ap­pro­pri­ate ex­pert for your query, this col­umn is not in­tended to re­place pro­fes­sional ad­vice.

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