The Supporters’ Trust welcomes ITFC’s statement today allowing fans a short extension on the deadline for opting out of making an enforced donation to the Club’s Academy. Anyone renewing their season ticket by Direct Debit now has until 1st May 2014 to inform them that they want to opt out of the scheme.
The Club also made a brief apology because “fans were not aware from our season ticket literature that the Academy pledge was an opt-out scheme until payment schedules were sent out.” The ITFC statement can be read on the TWTD website here.
The Trust is disappointed, however, that ITFC has not – at the time of writing – responded to our published statements and correspondence and, in particular, to our request that the Club reconsiders its decision to ask supporters to opt out. We also understand that some fans who have contacted ITFC about this matter individually have not received any response. It appears that the Club is unwilling to change its mind on this. We remain concerned that some people may still be unaware that they have to opt out of the payment, particularly those fans without access to the internet who may well be least able to afford the extra charge.
We are asking supporters to contact us if they have any problems relating to this matter. In particular, we would like to know if the extra money has been taken from their bank accounts after opting out, if any supporters have effectively paid twice because they are already donors to the Academy or if anyone under the age of 18 (or someone paying by DD on behalf of a young person) has had a “donation” taken in this way.
The Club says “season ticket holders on the direct debit scheme can opt out by sending an email to email@example.com or by phone on 0844 8011555 before the new May 1st deadline. Town will then send out a new payment schedule confirming the change.” [Please note that 0844 calls are charged between 1p and 13p per minute for landline & from mobile phones are typically charged between 20p and 41p per minute, depending on the provider and the number called. Source: Ofcom. ]
The Club have said that they’ve written to everyone who hasn’t opted out of the scheme informing them of the deadline extension. However some fans who had already opted out have also received these letters, causing confusion over whether or not their original opt-out request had been acted on. We are asking the Club to clarify the situation for these supporters as soon as possible.
We suggest that any fan contacting the club by these methods keeps a record that they have informed ITFC that they wish to opt out. It may be sensible to also confirm it in writing and send that confirmation by Recorded Delivery.
Some fans may wish to contact ITFC about this issue themselves. Before doing so, it may be useful to take advice from a consumer organization or the Citizens Advice Bureau. CAB’s website www.adviceguide.org.uk is a very useful source of information and includes sample letters that might be helpful.
One supporter who contacted CAB’s Consumer Service has received the following advice: “When you purchase a service you enter into a legally binding contract with terms and conditions that you are deemed to have read and agreed to. As regards any changes to the contract that was not agreed at the point of sale the trader should always inform you in good time of this change and give you the option to accept it or not.”
We urge the Club to reconsider its position on requiring supporters to opt out of making a “donation” to the Academy in keeping with ITFC’s traditions of fairness and to maintain what has long been an amicable relationship with its fans. It is still not too late for a change of heart.
Other useful contact information
Ipswich CAB: http://www.ipswichcab.org/
Citizens Advice Consumer Service: Tel: 08454 04 05 06 or Web: www.adviceguide.org.uk
Suffolk Trading Standards:
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