Fitness club fees gaffeGym members overcharged

02 November 2005

A health and fitness club helped itself to more than GBP 10 million of its members' cash when a new computer system wiped out the decimal point in all the direct debits.

Many members of Greens gym found themselves unexpectedly overdrawn and incurring overdraft charges yesterday when their monthly direct debit of GPB 58 was converted to GBP 5,800. Those with a peak-time joint or family membership lost almost double, or more.

Which? reader Giles Wilson, from Walthamstow, east London, discovered he was GBP 9,000 overdrawn when he tried to withdraw money at a cashpoint. Greens had taken GBP 9,900 instead the GBP 99 which pays for his joint membership with wife Maura.

Greens Health and Fitness, which has branches all over the UK, said only members at its gym in Chingford, Essex, were affected by the problem, which was caused by new software.

Of 4,400 members with direct debits, it estimated that about 2,000 were hit by the overcharge because it immediately alerted banks and some had been able to block payments in time for the rest. It was working to ensure that all those overcharged had been refunded by today.

Greens said it would reimburse any bank charges caused by the error and apologised unreservedly.