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Old 13.01.2008, 14:14
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Harrasment by Silhouette gym!

In November my husband and I had gone to Silhouette Fitness Centre, at the Docks near Langstrasse to check out their facilities and the prices etc. We saw it but were not sure if we wanted to join, as its prices were comparable to McFit, which was more convinient for us to join considering it is at HB. It was a Sunday, and the only person there said we should fill out and sign an 'Enquiry' form. We asked him if there was any offer that we could make use of, and he said none at the moment, but he could check with his boss and let us know. We filled out the form with our address, phone number etc, thinking it to be a routine process that these people keep just for their records. If I remember correctly it was in german. He mentioned he will give us a call after checking with his boss about any offers.
The next day he called us telling that there is no offer/discount that we could get. So we decided to ditch it and join McFit instead(which out of sheer laziness we havent!).
In december they called us asking us to pay up the annual fee that we both have not! Imagine our shock! We explained to them over the phone that we had just gone to check the facilities and had mentioned to the person very clearly that we would not be joining. A few minutes ago, we get a call again saying that we havent paid up the annual membership fee! I told them we havent been to that gym a single day, then why should we pay up. She said coz we have signed the contracts!! 'Contract'? Of course I didnt sign any contract. Then it dawned upon me, that the 'Enquiry' form we signed, might actually have been the contract!
I tried explaining to her, but she wasnt fluent in English, and I know no German whatsoever. Firstly, we are asked to pay up for no reason, and imagine my frustration when she said 'You live in Switzerland, and you dont know German?' . I wanted to ask her, 'Have you visited any non-german speaking country? Do the people there expect you to know their native language just because you have kept foot on their land!'
We would visit this gym tomorrow to sort things out. But wanted to understand from you all, what am I to expect here. Am I not being harassed here? The person at the gym makes me sign an 'enquiry' form, and then they go all out to get us to pay close to 2000CHF as I signed the 'contract'!
Your help would be highly appreciated.
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Old 13.01.2008, 14:22
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Re: Harrasment by Silhouette gym!

oh my god what a horrible thing to happen to you sorry. Have you got a copy of the contract you sighned? If so maybe you could post it on this thread and we could help you with what it says. Goodluck tomorrow hope you can sort the problem out.
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Old 13.01.2008, 14:29
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Re: Harrasment by Silhouette gym!

Harrasment................more like embarrasment.
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Old 13.01.2008, 14:44
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Re: Harrasment by Silhouette gym!

Surely if it's a contract of membership you would have received a copy?

Legally if it *is* a contract then what they've done is definitely unethical but I'm guessing the law is on their side - they have a signed contract from you.
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Old 13.01.2008, 14:46
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Re: Harrasment by Silhouette gym!

Ouch!
Maybe take a German speaking person to sort them out! You don't want to end up with another contract by accident.
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Old 13.01.2008, 14:47
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Re: Harrasment by Silhouette gym!

Rule 1: do not sign anything you do not understand.

Did it not occur to you that an enquiry form wouldn't require a signature?
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Old 13.01.2008, 14:51
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Re: Harrasment by Silhouette gym!

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She said coz we have signed the contracts!! 'Contract'? Of course I didnt sign any contract. Then it dawned upon me, that the 'Enquiry' form we signed, might actually have been the contract!
I tried explaining to her, but she wasnt fluent in English, and I know no German whatsoever. Firstly, we are asked to pay up for no reason, and imagine my frustration when she said 'You live in Switzerland, and you dont know German?'
I think what she meant was "You sign contracts written in German and you don't understand German?"
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Old 13.01.2008, 23:35
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Re: Harrasment by Silhouette gym!

That's an unfortunate story but I can imagine that it has happened before. A contract requires consensus of the parties so the law is on your side... However you've filled out this contract form and that's a bad thing™.

I suggest to send them a letter via registered mail (5 Fr. at the post office) in which you state that you won't pay. That you only were at Silhouette the one time you filled out the form. That you didn't intend to use, and haven't used any of Silhouette's services. That you didn't intend to register for membership at any time. If the letter is written in English or German probably doesn't matter.

Perhaps there's a Silhouette customer in the forum, or another gym club member can shed some light on this: I assume they hand out member cards to check that only members use their fitness rooms? If you don't have cards, this supports your point. If you've gotten two in the mail, this should've raised a red flag back then.
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Old 14.04.2009, 16:40
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Re: Harrasment by Silhouette gym!

When you fill out a contract with them, they provide you a membership card to access the facilities. If they didn't do so, I am confident this was a misunderstanding from their side and hopefully got sorted out when you visited them (this is an old post). It is bizarre though that someone signed a piece of paper when you knew you were simply requesting information.

As extra info, I made a year subscription with them and recently tried to cancel the automatic renewal clause they included in the contract by going directly to the gym, however they told me that for the cancelation I must send a letter to their Geneva offices as they can't process my cancelation from the gym where I enrolled. I find this very annoying and looks suspicious to me as they are not playing fairly (perhaps hoping someone forget to cancel or send the letter too late). So be careful of those guys anyway .
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Old 14.04.2009, 17:16
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Re: Harrasment by Silhouette gym!

Yes, signing the document was stupid!
That said, I didnt start another thread mentioning the harassement we had to even stop the membership after 1 year. As per the contract, we had to send out the letter 30 days before the membership expired. I sent this letter by registered post, went personally to the Silhouette gym, gave them a xerox of the registered post receipt, got it signed by the lady at the reception that it is indeed ok. And felt relieved that evening.
1 month later - I got a call from Justica Incasso(not sure of the spellings), asking me to pay the monthly bill for my membership. . Also, got a letter from Silhoutte with the bill!!!
I sent all the copies, and the gym said its sorted.
After another month, another call from Justica Incasso, and then another. This time I said the gym is harassing me, and I would like to file a complaint against them. Since then, I have had some peace from that gym. Hoping it stays like that!
On the other hand I have heard some positive experiences from people as well. Maybe I was an unlucky odd person(oh, how I hope it stays a 'was')!
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Old 14.04.2009, 17:35
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Re: Harrasment by Silhouette gym!

Just for future reference: You can also refer to Art. 2 of Swiss Code of Obligations (Obligationsrecht) which states that "For a contract to be concluded, a manifestation of the parties' mutal assent is required. Such manifestation may be either express or implied." (Sorry I don't have the German text.)

I would definitely argue: no mutual assent. This will be easy to prove, given that you don't speak German and therefore, had no way of knowing what you were signing. It was a mistake.
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Old 14.04.2009, 17:39
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Re: Harrasment by Silhouette gym!

Am I missing something? Your original post talks about a new contract in November. Now you are talking about a cancellation after one year.

Either there is story disconnect or brain disconnect (on my part). Have you already been a member for a year?
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Old 14.04.2009, 17:42
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Re: Harrasment by Silhouette gym!

Did you sign a contract or a form requesting more information?

When did they send you the first bill? Sounds like it was only after you got the call from Inkasso.

Unfortunately, if you did sign up for a 1-year contract then you will have to pay every month until your membership expires.

You can try contesting it, see a lawyer, perhaps you already have some kind of Rechtschütz with your insurance, but they will most likely just tell you that you need to complete the contract.

If all else fails, you could try reasoning with the gym to put your membership starting from a year later, after your other gym membership expires.
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Old 14.04.2009, 17:45
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Re: Harrasment by Silhouette gym!

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I would definitely argue: no mutual assent. This will be easy to prove, given that you don't speak German and therefore, had no way of knowing what you were signing. It was a mistake.
Even where the person doesn't understand a word of the language the contract is written in, the contract is still valid.
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Old 14.04.2009, 17:51
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Re: Harrasment by Silhouette gym!

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Even where the person doesn't understand a word of the language the contract is written in, the contract is still valid.
Then Article 26 of the Code of Obligations might be helpful.

"If a party declares his intention not to be bound by the contract due to error attributable to his own negligence, he is bound to make compensation for the damage resulting from his rescission of the contract, unless the party knew or should have known of such error."

With respect to Art. 2 the outcome of any case would, of course, depend on analysis of the facts. Was the mistake reasonable, did the other party part have reason to know of the mistake?, etc. Further case law research would be required to find out what kinds of circumstances would constitute reasonable mistake.
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Old 14.04.2009, 18:43
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Re: Harrasment by Silhouette gym!

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Am I missing something? Your original post talks about a new contract in November. Now you are talking about a cancellation after one year.

Either there is story disconnect or brain disconnect (on my part). Have you already been a member for a year?
Oh..I had posted this when I was forced to become a member after I had been told that I need to pay up coz I have signed a paper which was apparantly the contract (Although I re-iterate the guy who was explaining it said this is no obligation into joining - just another form. And silly me - I thot its probably for one of those sheets they use to compile their sale statistics etc - sort of how many interested parties actually became members etc - maybe I was thinking too much, maybe it was a trap, whatever!)
Anyways, I joined the gym, coz I was anyways thinking of joining one. After 1 year I was happy that it is now over(coz my enthusiasm to gym lasted no more than a month).
This thread was now activated again after more than a year, so I thot I'd share my experience on ending the membership as well on this thread.
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Old 14.04.2009, 19:26
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Re: Harrasment by Silhouette gym!

Ahhhhh. Thanks for posting - could help someone avoid it in the future. Bit like the cablecom sign up promotions in the electronics shops. Very naughty.
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Old 16.12.2011, 07:12
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Re: Harrasment by Silhouette gym!

I have a similar story - at least in term of "attachment to money" and "non-club feeling" in what otherwise would be a nice bug. Money-wise they behave like an insurance. Makes no sense in 2012 IMHO. I published it on my blog.



Moderator Edit: Links to Blogs in new members' posts get removed.

Last edited by Longbyt; 16.12.2011 at 17:44. Reason: Had I seen your first post, added to an old Thread, earlier, I would have deleted the whole thing!
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Old 16.12.2011, 09:07
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Re: Harrasment by Silhouette gym!

Is there not something simular to the law in Germany that states you have a 14 day grace period where a contract can be nulled?
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Old 16.12.2011, 09:17
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Re: Harrasment by Silhouette gym!

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Is there not something simular to the law in Germany that states you have a 14 day grace period where a contract can be nulled?
There is no such law in Germany, with the exception of door-to-door selling or distance contracts as per Directive 97/7/EC.
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