Board refusing cancellation despite offering to other members?!?

backwoodsman

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What's not clear (to me at least) is precisely what arrangement/agreement/whatever is being offered to the members who pay by direct debit - and is not being offered to those who paid in full. The OP just says "...offer for members to cancel, effective immediately ...". An offer to cancel what? And to cancel on what terms? Further on he says "They are essentially refunding monthly payers .." but the phraseology suggests that is an interpretation rather than a fact. Are they actually being offered a refund (ie being given some money back)? Etc etc. More & clearer info needed before anyone can offer a sensible reply.
 

fundy

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Also - come on. Lets find out the club, what else there is to know etc.

And if the club is proprietary rather than member owned, then I'd be resigning immediately - assuming you have other options to move to.
A member owned club, I'd give more of a pass to.


why does a member owned club get a pass for this but a proprietary one doesnt?
 

Grant85

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why does a member owned club get a pass for this but a proprietary one doesnt?

member is a not for profit org, owned by the members and reinvesting surpluses into the course, facilities or back to the members. all members share in the risk.

proprietary is for profit and so the business seeking to make a profit should take on the risk.
 

fundy

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member is a not for profit org, owned by the members and reinvesting surpluses into the course, facilities or back to the members. all members share in the risk.

proprietary is for profit and so the business seeking to make a profit should take on the risk.

I didnt ask what the difference between a members club and a proprietary club was!

If all members share in the risk, why does a members club get a pass for treating members differently but a proprietary club doesnt?
 

ferenezejohn

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I paid my fees in January, members club, those paying by direct debit are liable to honour their direct debit or they will be shown the door.

Now some members may have genuine hardship so should obviously get in touch with the club secretary to seek an amicable solution.

Any who just cancel direct debits without doing so would find it hard to join another club in the area or get back to our club.

I have a good affiliation with my club and suppose most members of member club's do.
As this a golf forum I would hope most of us would do what we can to keep our clubs viable.
 

KenL

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Are you a member at Fereneze then John? I'm a Barrhead boy and was a member there are a junior.
What's it like there these days?
Sorry this is off topoc :-o
 

ferenezejohn

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Are you a member at Fereneze then John? I'm a Barrhead boy and was a member there are a junior.
What's it like there these days?
Sorry this is off topoc :-o
Yes
The the old place is doing well, course is in good nick thanks to the hard working green staff.
Even during the dreadful winter we were open most of the time, after four or five days deluge you could go and play and be amazed how the course was holding up.

Got a good pro Craig Haugh, who does a lot of work with juniors

Friendly club to play your golf, even allow Celtic supporters to be members? and boy do I get a hard time of them, seriously good friendly club wouldn't go anywhere else.
 

Fish

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I would think in 99.9% of cases, a contract is binding, as someone has stated, it’s simply where there’s an ‘offer’ - ‘acceptance’ and ‘consideration’ to both parties.

If this was a company in administration or had liquidated, then its illegal to favor or pay/refund preferential accounts (customers/members).

As I’ve stated in other posts, so many people look at golf incorrectly when paying monthly associating it to a monthly membership, which it isn’t, it’s an annual membership with a finance agreement to simply spread the payments, so in essence, there is no variable in the terms of the membership contract between those paying monthly and those annually, unless the club in question does actually have 2 very different set of contracts & terms, and if that’s the case, why would anyone pay annually unless there was a greater benefit to be gained.

I still feel there’s more to this, I truly can’t see a club simply allowing all monthly payers to cancel if they want to, or was the cancellation email sent out to those that had only recently signed up and it was within the legal ‘cooling off’ period, where a previous upfront cooling off option hadn’t been offered and was an oversight by the club, but then quickly rectified.

I don’t think a contract that is identical in all it’s offering other than the means of payment can show preferential preference or favor to any one group, and even a blind man would know this, so what are we not being told?
 

Grant85

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I didnt ask what the difference between a members club and a proprietary club was!

If all members share in the risk, why does a members club get a pass for treating members differently but a proprietary club doesnt?

Just for that reason. If all members expect to be exposed to no risk, then they all want a refund for say, March, April and May... who pays for that. The club are the members. So in that situation, you can imagine that most clubs would run out of money and effectively cease to exist, have to borrow and ultimately the cost would be passed onto the members. If a lot of members took your view that they weren't paying and left, then it's almost inevitable the club would not be viable and would close and / or be sold.

A profit making business would have to use their own cash to prop it up or else decide to borrow to make up the shortfall, or else fold and sell of the assets.
 

SwingsitlikeHogan

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As many (all?) members clubs are businesses owned by the members with the members as the shareholders - when the business needs a funding injection it goes to it's shareholders. If the shareholders see a future in their business and don't want to lose what they have invested then they put more money on. If the shareholders don't see any future then they don't - the business folds and the shareholders risk losing all their previous investment. There isn't a rich owner out there who members can look to or expect to bail out the business.
 

Fish

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As many (all?) members clubs are businesses owned by the members with the members as the shareholders - when the business needs a funding injection it goes to it's shareholders. If the shareholders see a future in their business and don't want to lose what they have invested then they put more money on. If the shareholders don't see any future then they don't - the business folds and the shareholders risk losing all their previous investment. There isn't a rich owner out there who members can look to or expect to bail out the business.

I disagree, I know of a few clubs, mine included, that required some major investment over above what the club could afford at the time, so rather than draining all the working capital and/or taking out secured bank loans, they approached and invited some members to take out debentures, I think you’d be surprise how many ‘rich owner's’ are prepared to put their hands in their pocket, we have 2 currently happy to donate 6 figures between them to create a range on our practice area.
 

SwingsitlikeHogan

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I disagree, I know of a few clubs, mine included, that required some major investment over above what the club could afford at the time, so rather than draining all the working capital and/or taking out secured bank loans, they approached and invited some members to take out debentures, I think you’d be surprise how many ‘rich owner's’ are prepared to put their hands in their pocket, we have 2 currently happy to donate 6 figures between them to create a range on our practice area.

In the same way as shareholders with the wherewithal put their hands into their pockets to keep the business afloat.

If my club's board thought there was a need for a significant injection of capital and there seemed to be demand for a limited number of debentures or life memberships - then it would be put to a vote of the membership. We are all equal members and equal shareholders - none are more equal than others. If a wealthy member wishes to contribute for a major project then he can give the club a zero interest loan, to be paid back whenever. I am not in favour of any form of tiering of member - so would not want anything introduced that brought that into being - real or perceived.

About three years ago the Board felt that the club needed an injection of funds for significant course work - and as a result the membership at my club voted at the AGM for the club to introduce a £40/yr levy on all members specifically for course improvements. The members at the AGM voted in favour - and so it has come to pass.
 

Beeky

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As usual where a brand new poster opens with a rant, I suspect that there is more to this than we've been told. It would be nice to hear the other side of the story :whistle:
Just been away that’s all -
I can only comment on my experience at two clubs - one propriety and one private members. At both, when you rejoined at the start of the club's financial year you were committing to being a member and paying the fees for the whole year be it payment up front or by D/D. That was the agreement - take it or leave it. To be fair, in some extenuating circumstances, they occasionally might waive this commitment but in general you have signed up for the year regardless. On their part, there is no obligation to provide guaranteed access to the course and facilities every day/week/month of the year. I know that the last few months have been awful and this plus C19 has made many people rethink their memberships. There are several courses locally that have always been viewed as 9/10 month clubs. People have complained but they knew/should have known when they signed up.

As for allowing D/D paying members to cancel, there must be some wrinkle there or it might just be a case that there would be too many people to take to court for non payment of the balance of the fees.

And just in case you are wondering, I usually play 3 times a week in the winter months. Since mid December I've only played one full round of 18 holes (several 9/10/11 holes) due to conditions. I pay by D/D but wouldn't dream of welching on my implied agreement with the club.
Not sure you can welch on an ‘implied’ agreement. You can, however, challenge an actual agreement ?
 

Beeky

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Also - come on. Lets find out the club, what else there is to know etc.

And if the club is proprietary rather than member owned, then I'd be resigning immediately - assuming you have other options to move to.
A member owned club, I'd give more of a pass to.
Haha, can’t do that unfortunately. It’s member owned but i wouldn’t feel too bad for them. They told their DD members that they could stop their payments - essentially cancelling membership - but that meant that they would go to the back of the ‘waiting list’ when the club reopened. Some of those members have been at the club for over 20 years. And they’ve refunded some members who were quite rightly outraged at having April’s subs taken an hour before receiving the email to let them know they could cancel. Wrong ‘uns they are ?
 

Beeky

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Completely unacceptable.

Golf Clubs often go out of their way to make sure people realise that paying by DD is not paying for each month of use at a time, it is effectively staggering an annual payment over 12 months.

So to then offer a discount or refund to DD members and not the same refund to annual payers is not acceptable.

Initially I'd have thought the law was def in your favour, but thinking about it I'm not so sure. As others have said, small claims may be the way to go. But will cost you another £106 or so to find out. But likely your decision to pay your fees last year, and the situation at that point, will have greater weight than the discount they are offering now to DD members.

i.e. were you happy to pay your fees in full last year? yes
is the club at fault here for not being able to provide the service to you? no
possible that the court would see the discount to some members as irrelevant.

The law doesn't take into account what is fair, it takes into account a contract between two parties (i.e. an offer and acceptance). And it's entirely reasonable that businesses charge different prices to different people (see fuel, flights) and it's all perfectly legal.
This has moved on since my original post. The DD situation is a shocker in terms of how not to treat members but not unlawful. The situation with upfront payers is more blurry. I’ve had legal advice and there’s a claim there. It’s different from winter closures as members have zero access to any facilities. Therefore, the club may well be in breach, due to not fulfilling the major term - i.e. 12 months access to facilities. All they have to do overcome this is offer an extension for the missed months. However, the sheer levels of arrogance have stopped them... so far. It’s not just me, there’s real outrage from a number of members about how they’ve dealt with this. The board have called another meeting to discuss - can only see them climbing down as there’s no other option really
 

Beeky

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Key element here is whether direct debit people are paying a monthly membership and annual payers are paying an annual membership.

As Grant states, typically clubs charge an annual membership, so you are due to pay the full amount. If the club offered an incentive to new joiners, eg 15 months for the price of 12, would you expect the club to extend the same offer to all the existing members? No of course not, it's perfectly legal to offer rates / deals to different people. So I think the club is entitled to offer refunds to some members and not others. Creating the perception of unfairness is likely to alienate the members - but poor customer service is a different issue.

You've probably got more grievance with the alleged "character assassination" by email. If you want the forum to help you should copy and paste the emails in this thread.
What's not clear (to me at least) is precisely what arrangement/agreement/whatever is being offered to the members who pay by direct debit - and is not being offered to those who paid in full. The OP just says "...offer for members to cancel, effective immediately ...". An offer to cancel what? And to cancel on what terms? Further on he says "They are essentially refunding monthly payers .." but the phraseology suggests that is an interpretation rather than a fact. Are they actually being offered a refund (ie being given some money back)? Etc etc. More & clearer info needed before anyone can offer a sensible reply.[/QUOTE
Hi, some have been given their April subs back... not surprising really when the club took them an hour before offering cancellation. Cancellation = end of DD payments and membership to the end of the membership year in August. I realise that the DD situation is actually irrelevant, legally speaking, the issue that I’ve been advised to claim for (Consumer Department - Citizens Rights) is one of a breach of a major term. That being 12 months access to a service paid for. Nothing is accessible and they aren’t offering to extend, therefore this now consitutes an unfair term. As for the grievance... I’m a big boy, I can take it ?
 
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