Fewer than half the customers who had direct debits erroneously taken by Everyone Active four weeks ago have got their money back so far.

At the beginning of last month, an administration blunder during Everyone Active's first week managing Stevenage's leisure facilities saw the company take direct debit payments from 195 customers who had cancelled their memberships before the takeover.

Everyone Active began a 10-year leisure contract with Stevenage Borough Council on April 1, to manage Stevenage Swimming Centre, Stevenage Arts and Leisure Centre - including the Gordon Craig Theatre - Fairlands Valley Aqua Park, Southfield Showground, Ridlins Athletics Stadium and Stevenage Golf Conference Centre.


"A seamless transfer of operations" from Stevenage Leisure Limited - which had held the council contract for 25 years - was promised, with a "guarantee it is business as usual for customers at all of the facilities".

However, during the first week of the takeover, Everyone Active emailed some customers saying "Sorry! We made a mistake..."

The email explains: "During the transfer from SLL to Everyone Active, cancellations were provided to us. However, due to an administration error, these cancellations were not processed. This caused us to collect from you."

Everyone Active put the onus on customers to contact their bank or building society and request to claim the April payment under their Direct Debit Guarantee.


Four weeks later, just 92 customers have claimed their money back.

Everyone Active's contract manager, Allan Prescott, said: "As soon as we were made aware of the customers who had payments processed via direct debit having already cancelled their memberships, we’ve been working to rectify the issue.

"We immediately let affected customers know the quickest way to claim an immediate refund and can now confirm that 92 individuals have already claimed their money back, as part of their direct debit guarantee.

"To ensure all affected customers receive their refund, we will be issuing further communication imminently to encourage them to do so.

"Again, we do apologise for the error, and would like to reassure customers that we are prioritising this issue to ensure the refunds are made."