Should I ignore this letter (UK debit finance)

I know,you’re probably not a lawyer, but if you are you’re not my lawyer and probably out of juristiction etc.

I cancelled my account with my local council’s swimming baths and got a membership elsewhere. I gave notice by email of 20 days, then cancelled the direct debit on my end. (My sister said she’d done the same with no problems) I’ve now got this letter demanding £48 to cancel. I want to ignore it, hopefully they’ll huff and puff and just go away. I don’t really care about credit rating, if that’s an issue. So, not necessarily lawyers, anybody who might know, what’s most likely to happen if I ignore the letter?

Depends entirely on what it says in your membership contract. Something similar happened to my husband - he had cancelled by email, they’d acknowledged it but apparently he cancelled the DD too early. They pursued it (lots of letters from them and from a debt collection agency) all the way to the point where (they said) they were about to issue county court proceedings. At that point they agreed to settle for significantly less than they were by then claiming.

Honestly, if you can afford it I’d pay it to make it go away, unless you can find your contract and are sure you did what it says for cancellation.

For USAians, what is/are local council’s swimming baths?:confused:

Most club memberships have a minimum cancellation period, stipulated in the paperwork you signed when you joined. Look it up - or ask the baths for a copy - but requiring one month’s notice is very standard and, if you signed the paperwork, you agreed to their Ts & Cs.

You could try contacting the baths and talk to whoever is in charge of membership - you never know, you may be able to convince them to drop their fees if you are very lucky.

Local councils don’t normally just huff and puff and go away - they have departments full of people there to chase up unpaid debt. They generally follow standard procedure whatever the debt amount and would probably ultimately refer it to a debt collection agency or small claims court (which would get you a county court judgement). You’ve said you don’t care about credit ratings, but they are pretty essential for lots of things these day - opening bank accounts, taking out car loans, moving house (renting or buying), taking out insurance products - it’s not worth damaging your for the sake of £48.

I think you’d be daft to ignore it. These things never go the debtor’s way.

The local government, “the council” run several public amenities, including some leisure centres. In this case this is a deal with the council that I pay a certain amount each month so I can use the pool at any council-run leisure centre.

Public indoor swimming pools run by the local authority (council). You can generally pay as you go or sign up for membership - they are cheaper than private clubs.

The baths is an expression for the public swimming pool. From the days when they were called the public baths.

It should all depend on whether your 20 day email notification of cancellation was legit. Personally, I’d be happy to ignore stuff like this if I’m demonstrably right and they’re wrong - they can do one.
If they’re right and I’m wrong, OTOH - I’d find that quite stressful to constantly be receiving harrassing letters, and eventually dealing with debt collectors, over a disputed 50 quid (which I assume would rise during the process), knowing that they have the right of it.

Ah yes, I missed the bit where ‘baths’ might confuse a foreigner :wink:

Back in the Victorian era, local authorities in growing industrial cities had increasing concerns about public health and decided that Something Must Be Done about the great unwashed, as so few people had washing facilities at home. So many places starting building public baths, where you could go along and literally have hot a bath. These places often included indoor swimming pools to encourage exercise. Some such places are still operational - not the baths, but the swimming pools, such Manchester’s Victoria Baths, which were saved from abandonment by a TV show.

This is not to say that British people habitually swim in 100 year old pools, it’s just that the term ‘swimming baths’ has lived on long after the ‘baths’ bit had any relevance. I doubt most Brits even question where the term comes from.

Thanks for the explanations!

I don’t know why you wouldn’t just call the council and be like “Here’s what happened. Why did you charge me after I had cancelled?” and see what they say?

Just because it went to a debt collector doesn’t mean that someone was sitting around getting increasingly angry at you and waiting for the moment they could sell that deadbeat’s debt and there is actually someone sitting around waiting for your answer.

I’m guessing they just screwed up the process of someone quitting via email and something that was automated didn’t get turned off and you landed in the “late” column and anyone in the “late” column goes over to the debt collector.

Call and work it out, man! Stop the automation!

Can I cabbage a question onto this one?

What does the credit-rating system look like in the UK? In the US, three credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and Something Else) aggregate and share credit data with banks, lenders, etc., and each individual creditee is given a score. 450 (or maybe 350) is really low; 700 is really high.

What does the UK’s system look like?

Pedantic, and not intended to distract, but I find it odd that an American on an America-hosted website operated by an American newspaper in an American city on an American web service… might be called a foreigner. :confused:

Never mind me. Carry on.

I don’t know if I’ve ever been called a foreigner. Certainly, it feels like the first time.:wink:

Well-played, sir.

Well-played like a Jukebox Hero, even.

Sensitive much? Because it’s a question about a UK thing, and it’s a tongue in cheek nod to the ‘jonny foreigner’ phrase. ‘Foreigners’/non-UKers don’t understand the phrase. Note wink in post. Need any more clues?

Not being a finance person, I think it’s the same. Even the credit ref agencies are the same (including ‘Something Else plc’).


Because the country in question is foreign to the person asking the question?

My fingers have hauled themselves off my curry long enough to discover the mysterious third credit agency in the UK is call Call Credit.

Never heard of them