A Bexleyheath leisure centre user claims customers are being duped into paying for swimming sessions which are supposed to free.

Allison Owen, 48, takes her six-year-old daughter Isabella to Crook Log leisure centre for swimming lessons every Monday.

With a £20 saver card, she shells out a total of £280 a year for the Aquazone programme by paying in instalments at reception every eight to 10 weeks.

The centre in Brampton Road is currently advertising a new deal where you can pay £27.50 a month for once-a-week lessons by direct debit, which works out at £330 a year.

The scheme trumpets the claim children get free public swimming sessions as part of the deal when in reality ‘free’ means an extra £50 every 12 months.

Mrs Owen, who lives in Normanhurst Avenue, Bexleyheath, told News Shopper: "You don’t use the word free if something costs you more and it’s there in block capitals.

"There’s nothing free about it. To me the word free means it doesn’t cost you any more than it would have cost you when it fact it does.

News Shopper:

The letter advertising the offer. 

"People are just trusting in that word because it’s there."

The legal secretary objects to a letter about the new deal sent out to parents in which ‘free’ is stressed in block capitals.

The mother-of-four said: "It probably sounds a bit trivial but the thing is in this day and age people don’t have the money.

"If you have two children that’s an extra £100 a year – that could be the difference between them having school shoes and not having proper school shoes."

Parkwood Leisure run Crook Log, along with Bexley’s two other leisure centres in Erith and Sidcup.

South east assistant regional director Jason Stanton, said: "The scheme was introduced as an easy payment option to remove customers having to pay for block swimming lessons upfront.

"Customers who purchase swimming lessons on a direct debit will now receive a free saver card, which entitles them to cheaper activities across the three centres.

"While this has not been advertised on the promotional material it is made clear to customers at the point of sale by the receptionists.

"The saver card offsets the price differential within the two payment options, which means the customers have the option of which payment suits their needs best."