View Full Version : Need help here from our British cousins

10th Apr 2014, 14:23
I recently received a questionable email from a company in the UK. Although it was sent to an email address I have it has my last name spelled incorrectly.

The email is from Harland Service Ltd. in West Sussex, England and informs me that my debit card will be debited 88 English pounds per month for "Healthhaus" which seems to be some sort of gym membership.

Now the details they provided match PART of one of my debit cards but is off by a few digits. Still scary though. I have done my part with the issuer, my bank, of this debit card but it still has me wondering:

1. Is Harland Services Ltd. legit?
2. Is Healthhaus legit?
3. How the hell did they get most of one of my debit cards correct but not the spelling of my last name?

Anyone over yonder know of either of these companies?

Lightning Mate
10th Apr 2014, 14:27
Harland Services is legitimate.

41-43 Perrymount Rd, Haywards Heath, West Sussex RH16 3BN, United Kingdom
+44 1444 449150

10th Apr 2014, 14:30

Uh-oh. On one hand I guess it's a good thing this company is legit but on the other hand I wonder if I should cancel my debit card. A conundrum.

Thanks for the info.

10th Apr 2014, 14:31
Couldn't you find a gym a bit closer to home? :)

10th Apr 2014, 14:32
Harland Services is a debt collection company.

Healthhaus is a private fitness centre on the Island of Jersey, where by coincidence I have a very good friend. I will mail him your posting and see if he's prepared to pop into the hotel where Healthhaus is located. If he is, he will have to have your name and address to ask whether they have any outstanding debts against you (highly unlikely I would have thought).

Lightning Mate
10th Apr 2014, 14:34

Cancel your card immediately.

10th Apr 2014, 14:38
If Harland Services is a debt collection company then what do they have to do with a gym membership?

Yes, limeygal, I can most certainly find a gym a bit closer to home. :}

This whole thing is starting to smell really bad. I might just go and cancel the debit card in question just to be on the safe side. Again, the account number associated with the card is not the same as in the email from Harland Services but close enough for feeling uncomfortable.

I've heard of other scams from places like Africa, Russia, the Philippines, and even here in the U.S. but I've never really seen a scam like this emanating from the UK.

Lightning Mate
10th Apr 2014, 14:40
The UK is full of scams.

10th Apr 2014, 14:41
Don't respond just cancel.
Question for you though.............Did you have a Gym membership anywhere in the past that you cancelled early ?

10th Apr 2014, 14:44
Here's part of the email I received from this Harland Services Ltd. I've redacted personal info for obvious reasons.

Dear Mr Brocken <--- This is not my last name

Welcome to Healthhaus. We will contact you to arrange your induction.
You are committing to 88.00 per month for a minimum of 11 months.
You have chosen to pay by monthly Direct Debit and we can confirm that the Direct Debit details provided by you are correct.
I didn't choose shit!

IMPORTANT - Confirmation of the set-up of your Direct Debit instruction, including future payment schedule
Account name: Brocken Holdings Limited <---- Not my name or co.!
Sort Code: 20-**-**
Account No.: 6061**** <---- Close, but no cigar.
Reference: W6848132
Service User Number: 681794
Service User Name: Harlands Services Ltd.
Your first payment will be collected on or just after 24 April 2014 for an amount of 88.00. :eek::eek::eek:

Subsequent monthly payments of 88.00 will commence 24 May 2014 and continue on or just after the same day of each month thereafter.
Please note that your membership payments for Healthhaus will appear on your bank statements as Harlands Services Ltd. with the reference W6848132.
Your Direct Debit payments are protected with a moneyback guarantee and you will receive 3 working days advance notice of any changes. You have the right to cancel your Direct Debit Instruction at any time simply by writing to your Bank or Building Society, with a copy to us.
Please note that if you completed this membership agreement whilst not in the club, you have a period of 7 days from today in which to cancel this membership. This right to cancel will cease once you visit the club, or the period of 7 days has elapsed, whichever is the earlier.
HELPLINE NO. 0871 250 14 24 *
(* Calls to this number cost 10p/minute including VAT from a BT landline. Calls from other operators and mobile phones cost more.)
If any of the above details are incorrect or should you at some time in the future experience problems making your payments when due, please contact the HELPLINE. Please note that calls may be recorded. Alternatively, you can write to us at the address below, quoting reference no. W6848132.
PLEASE KEEP THESE DETAILS SAFE. You might like to print this email or save it to your computer's hard drive.
Please note that your payments will be protected by the Direct Debit Guarantee (see below).

10th Apr 2014, 14:45

No, I have never canceled a gym membership early. I've only used gyms that allow month-to-month terms. And never in the UK, obviously.

10th Apr 2014, 14:45
a debt collection company then what do they have to do with a gym membership?Many people take out gym membership subscriptions then decide not to persevere, not realising that the form that they signed committed them to at least twelve months membership (and associated payments).
This behaviour is so prevalent that the clubs have a standardised procedure for dealing with defaulters by involving debt-collection agencies (sometimes in-house), so the connection isn't surprising.

Gyms make a significant proportion of their money from members who join but who rarely use the facilities. Long termination or ‘notice’ periods keep membership levels high because it makes it more difficult to cancel. Most clubs require a minimum 12 month initial contract and follow with a 3 month notice period required to cancel. It’s obvious why clubs want these clauses in the contracts.
If you give notice to quit and cancel your direct debit, expect considerable harassment, initially from the club and then from aggressive letters and phone calls from debt collection companies and so called legal firms.http://www.debtwizard.com/debt-help/guides-and-advice/350-gym-membership-fees

Ashbourne was responsible for drawing up membership agreements and collecting payments for 700 gyms in the UK.http://www.debtwizard.com/news/consumer-issues/777-high-court-rules-that-thousands-of-gym-contracts-are-unfair-and-unenforceable

10th Apr 2014, 14:45
the UK

If it comes from the Channel Islands it's not the UK, although financial regulation is carried out by the UK. At least in theory.

Mrs OFSO lived there for many years and knows the Hotel de France well, but says the Healthaus spa wasn't there in her days.

10th Apr 2014, 14:47
Many people take out gym membership subscriptions then decide not to persevere, not realising that the form that they signed committed them to at least twelve months membership (and associated payments).
This behaviour is so prevalent that he clubs have a standardised proceedure for dealing with defaulters by involving debt-collection agencies (sometimes in-house), so the connection isn't surprising.

Rules have changed quite significantly on this now in favour of consumer and all major Gyms have signed up to it I believe.

10th Apr 2014, 14:49
Here's part of the email I received from this Harland Services Ltd. I've redacted personal info for obvious reasons.

Dear Mr Brocken <--- This is not my last name

Welcome to Healthhaus. We will contact you to arrange your induction.
You are committing to 88.00 per month for a minimum of 11 months.
You have chosen to pay by monthly Direct Debit and we can confirm that the Direct Debit details provided by you are correct.
I didn't choose shit!

Go to real website of company and send them an email using Comments or email regarding this.

Could be a Phishing scam where their name is being used without their consent or knowledge.

10th Apr 2014, 14:50
I haven't had a gym membership in many years and the last one I had was a month-to-month membership, with the option to cancel at any time. I had no problem doing so then.

Besides, even if I was guilty of breaking a gym membership term that would have been here in the U.S. and I seriously doubt any such gym would involve a UK-based debt collection firm to collect. Or no?


good idea. I think I'll venture over to their website and send them off an inform-o-gram! Thanks for the suggestion.

Lightning Mate
10th Apr 2014, 14:55
I say again.

Cancel your card immediately.

10th Apr 2014, 14:57
Well, this is the location of Healthaus on the island of Jersey. I can just see you there in a white DJ, Rolex on wrist, big havana in hand, chatting up the ladies......


10th Apr 2014, 14:59

The way I'm feeling about this charade right now I'd appear at Healthhaus not as you described but in full combat battle-rattle. And not amused.

I just visited Harlands Services Ltd's website and whisked off a message to them. But I also came to know that they aren't just a debt collection company but, surprise surprise, handle debit card transactions for gym memberships. It's right there on their home page.

The plot thickens.

Yes, LM, I am going to cancel my card.

Lightning Mate
10th Apr 2014, 15:02
NOW !.........

10th Apr 2014, 15:03



10th Apr 2014, 15:04
RGB - It's a scam on a par with the shonky "Fedex delivery" fee scam.

The details of the health club order form have been lifted from an email account that has been hacked - and the whole scam is designed to get you to reply, and either click on dodgy links that immediately infiltrate your computer with keystroke loggers - or get you to supply genuine details that the scammers can then onsell or use.

I have a CC I rarely use, and never make online purchases with it. However, I made one purchase with it, from a company in PA, for a repro vintage Chev windshield frame. I phoned the CC details through to them.

Within a fortnight, I discovered two unauthorised payments for around $500 each on the card, for purchases from two online businesses in Melbourne and Brisbane.
I made some enquiries to the Brisbane business about the purchase and they told me the delivery address for the goods was Casula in SW Sydney (where all the scumbag, crim Lebbos live!) :}

I immediately had the transactions and the card cancelled of course - but I was amazed how one U.S. transaction that wasn't even done through a website, could have been hacked and the card details gleaned - then used here in Australia. Just shows how extensive the global connections are between the scammers.
I believe the company in PA probably put my windshield frame sale details on their less-than-secure computer, and it was later hacked.

Lightning Mate
10th Apr 2014, 15:06

10th Apr 2014, 15:07
It is quite amazing how closely standard HM Govt policy mirrors such scams these days.....

Last year I had to file a set of accounts for a dormant UK company. The submission deadline was a Friday.

Although submission was done on-line on the Friday - it was not processed until the Monday by Companies House.

CH then issued an 150-quid penalty... refused to recant it despite proof of the submission date... and passed it straight to their debt-collecting service. They claim the service is 'independent' but it is clearly in cahoots as a quasi in-house revenue raising service...

Must be nice to be able to automatically fine people for trivialities, pursue them through your own debt collecting service and pocket the proceeds...

If we tried it we would be in prison for :mad: RACKETEERING!!!

10th Apr 2014, 15:10

I, unfortunately, fear as much. I did, however, look at the headers of the email sent to my real email address but using an incorrect last name. Those headers pointed to a "legitimate" email address used by this Harlands Services Ltd. Also, there were absolutely no links in the email to click on and be duped. They only thing in the email was a phone number in the UK to call. Where that phone actually rang, however, remains to be seen. I'm not calling it. Not for 60p/minute!

10th Apr 2014, 15:18
RGB, I guess it's entirely possible the scammers have hacked into the gym companys computer network and are intercepting their incoming emails.

It's a known hacker stunt to redirect incoming replies to scam emails sent from the hacked computer, directly to the "trash" folder - where they can be retrieved by the scammers. :suspect:
Most people only read "inbox" messages, they often don't check for long periods, what has gone into the trash folder.

Dak Man
10th Apr 2014, 15:21
.....bugger, can't believe that I got your surname wrong when I signed you up for that all inclusive VIP gym membership.......lesson learned.

10th Apr 2014, 15:24
Dak Man:

I knew you had something to do with it, you snow blower you. Which is why I've arranged for a little "global warming" phenomena for your environs this coming summer. :} You like sending piles of snow this way during the winter? You just wait. You think the 7th ring of Dante's inferno seemed hot? :}

10th Apr 2014, 15:24
They want you to show up at the gym wearing your tutu.

10th Apr 2014, 15:26

If any funds had come out of my bank account they would have wished for my showing up in a pink tutu compared to what I would have worn, showing up at their doorstep. :}

10th Apr 2014, 15:28
onetrack wrote:

RGB, I guess it's entirely possible the scammers have hacked into the gym companys computer network and are intercepting their incoming emails.

I understand that, onetrack. But I've never sent an email to this Healthhaus, having never heard of them until very recently, and never send an email to anything I think even remotely smells illegitimate.

The mind boggles.

Dak Man
10th Apr 2014, 15:35
LOL - must admit that I've been involved in a fair few scams / pranks over the years, the best by some considerable margin occurred when I was in my mates C172 (with him) over the Hereford area and he decided to take some pics of Stirling Lines (SAS HQ). A plan was immediately hatched in my sick mind, I had a friend in Royal Military Police send him a RMP headed letter identifying the C172 spotted overhead in restricted airspace as his and he was to hand over any photographic evidence immediately with his pilots licence that was to be revoked. Fek, he went straight to his solicitor, he called me in a blind panic and of course I played along pointing out that he was PiC at the time and I was mereley an innocent bystander.

It went on for weeks, he even turned up at the RMP barracks and he was grilled (by my RMP mate's oppos). He was telling me all about his interrogation and he could see the glint in my eye and he cottoned on to what was happening - shit for a little guy he had a mean left hook and I took one for the team squarely on the chin. He didn't talk to me for weeks but saw the funny side eventually - 20 years ago and we still laugh about it. :D

10th Apr 2014, 15:45
henry crun:

Did that. The resultant url appear legit. But thanks for the suggestion.

10th Apr 2014, 17:22
Did you check the headers on the original email? I'm guessing it may have come from a forged email address but you may be able to pick up an originating IP address. The English is probably to good for this to be a Nigerian scam, eastern Europe is more likely.

10th Apr 2014, 18:15
My son was targeted by something similar. Fortunately he smelt a rat and I checked things out.

The company was real (in Newcastle) but on their website they had put up a disclaimer and warning that hackers were using their details to try and scam people!

I sent an online report off to Old Bill using one of their forms and didn't even get an acknowledgement, let alone a reply.

10th Apr 2014, 18:19
You're covered by the Direct Debit guarantee. You could simply cancel it with your bank and they will cancel and recoup any payments from the point of cancellation.

Direct Debit - Direct Debit Guarantee (http://www.directdebit.co.uk/DirectDebitExplained/Pages/DirectDebitGuarantee.aspx)

10th Apr 2014, 22:27
RGB - do you actually have a UK bank account? If not, I don't think you have anything to worry about.

The details you quoted previously:
Sort Code: 20-**-**
Account No.: 6061****
are in the format of a UK bank account, from which the direct debit payment would be taken. Note that this is not a debit card number. If you don't have a bank account that matches these details exactly, then no money can be taken.

In case you're totally unfamiliar with UK banking, the sort code identifies the bank and branch, whilst the account number identifies the account at that branch. You need both to match to a real account for a transaction to occur. The bank will ignore the account holders name even if it's incorrect.

In this particular case, the sort code you have partly quoted refers to Barclays Bank, one of our major retail bank groups. Do you have an account there?

Finally, a debit card, in the UK at least, and I would have thought almost globally now, would have a 16-digit number, exactly like a credit card. Maybe they made a partial match, which got you spooked - partials don't mean squat.

10th Apr 2014, 23:16
I was going to say contact Capetonian for further instructions, but I see he already piped in.

Next step, time to get inside Heatland's servers and create some minor:E:E havoc.

11th Apr 2014, 02:17
Hyph speaks sense. Read his post. You have nothing to worry about.

Debit cards and credit cards mostly have 16 numbers. IIRC, the first 6 relate to the issuing institution, the remaining 10 (or so) to the account holder. You can identify which is the issuing institution with a directory, and Visa card numbers always begin with a 4, Mastercard begin with a 5, and Amex begin with a 3. It's quite possible that the first few numbers may be the same.

Sort codes are great. I've tracked down loads of mysterious payments and receipts using a sort code directory. I used to be able to recognise the bank from the number too, some would even give enough info to identify the type of account too (savings, banking, mortgage...).

If you have Direct Debits in your country, it's possible to confirm if there are any set up on your account, just ask your bank for a list of mandates. Mandates are regular payments such as standing orders (you tell the bank and set the amount), bill payments, Direct Debits (you allow a company to take an unspecified amount at regular intervals) and regular transfers.

(You've no idea how many people don't know the difference between a standing order and a DD. It actually scares me. And how many people have active DDs on their accounts that they've forgotten about.)

I wouldn't be at all surprised if it was spam, or if it was a speculative email from someone being proactive and thinking they had tracked a similarly-named miscreant down.

11th Apr 2014, 08:59
Indeed RG, you have nothing to worry about. In fact if it were me I wouldn't take any action to cancel cards, accounts etc. More trouble than it is worth. However I would inform the putative (is that the right word ?) debt collection agency and health club that messages are bring sent out in their name. I would also inform my bank by registered mail.

And leave it at that.

14th Apr 2014, 13:27
First, thanks to all for the volumes of info and suggestions.

Both Healthhaus and Hartland Services Ltd. responded to my email inform-o-grams. It appears that the person who did indeed establish a membership at healthhaus gave both these companies my email address by accident. His surname is similar to mine and he uses a well-known email provider which I do as well.

I was told by both companies that at no time were my credit card, or debit card in this case, in jeopardy. And as has already been pointed out the debit card in question is one provided by Barclay's over yonder.

Perhaps it appears that I may have over-reacted BUT do keep in mind that I have been a victim of identity theft in the past with the residuals still occurring to this day.

Thanks again.

15th Apr 2014, 12:04
Now it's happened once, expect it to happen again.

There is a pensioner in Essex who has spent the last three years giving my email address to various garden centers. At least he's lucky, he only misses out on their advertising and they've all been reasonable firms - after one incorrect email I've never heard from them again.

However I have a namesake in Bristol who didn't renew his insurance two years ago. The insurance company having sent me his details and a warning that he only had 24 hours left to renew his coverage, never replied to my email, but carried on sending advertisments for 6 months.

There is also a Robert <my surname> in Upper Saddle River, who's garage desperatley want him to service his Audi. Regradless of what I say in email to them, they ignore me.