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Tu plan xxx fue cancelado conforme a lo pedido.

So my girlfriend tried to pay her fitness club membership in Colombia. We learned there that they use “cancelar“ for payment, however I knew it as “cancel“ only.

Was the plan paid or cancelled or is it impossible to tell?


Update: the plan was cancelled, not paid (no idea what happened there, she registered again now).

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  • 1
    First time I hear that "cancelar" can mean pay, and I'm a native speaker. Maybe it's a Colombian thing.
    – JoL
    Nov 19 '17 at 23:11
  • @JoL it's used there all the time.never heard it before
    – DonQuiKong
    Nov 19 '17 at 23:57
  • You gave us the fitness club answer but could you give us the firs part of the communication where your gf asks the club to "cancelar" the service. The answer could mean the service was cancelled or paid for, but the action could depend on how she asked. The "conforme a lo pedido" part makes me think the problem could be in the way she asked. Regards from Medellin
    – DGaleano
    Nov 20 '17 at 14:14
  • @DGaleano she went there, registered and filled out the form asking for the credit card details online. Then she went there again to start training and filled out the form again in person. A little later she got the mail with the statement above. There's really not more to it. I tend to thinking it means paid, but there could have been a mistake too.
    – DonQuiKong
    Nov 20 '17 at 14:21
  • 2
    Ok. So please let us know what happens the next time she goes there. If she is allowed to train or not, we will know the answer. :-). I will bet everything is fine and they received the payment.
    – DGaleano
    Nov 20 '17 at 14:39
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If we read the definition of "cancelar" that shows it as meaning "settle" or "pay off", we can see it says:

Pagar o saldar una deuda.

Therefore, for "cancelar" to mean "pay off" there has to be a noun in the vicinity implying an amount that is due and payable, like deuda, cuota, arancel, honorarios, capital, intereses, factura, renta, préstamo, crédito. I don't think "plan" belongs to that group of nouns.

This online dictionary I found seems to be more specific and accurate than RAE's because it does not include the noun in the definition, but only as a reference: cancelar

cancelar can·ce·lar

v. 1 Referido esp. a un documento o a una obligación legal, anularlos o dejarlos sin validez: Si me traslado, cancelaré la cuenta que tengo en el banco. El contrato se cancelará automáticamente al cabo de un año.

2 Referido esp. a un compromiso o a algo proyectado, dejarlos sin efecto o suspender su realización: Si se aplaza el viaje, tendré que cancelar la reserva del hotel. Se han cancelado todos los vuelos con los países en guerra.

3 Referido esp. a una deuda, saldarla o terminar de pagarla: Si ahorro, el año que viene podré cancelar el préstamo.

It seems to me that "plan" belongs to the group of nouns under (2) above.

Note: In the case of "cuenta" (see (1) above), if it means "account" saying "cancelar" will mean "close the account". Instead, if "cuenta" is translated as "bill", then "cancelar" will mean "pay the bill". This verb is indeed a tricky one in Spanish, and we have to be very careful because it may lead to confusing and risky situations: for example, if we say cancelar la póliza, that means "to cancel the policy" so that it is no longer valid or in force; instead, if we say cancelar la prima, that means "to pay the (policy) premium", so the policy continues to be effective. I think this confusion might account for what happened to the OP when he says: Well she wanted to pay the service, but they could have made a mistake and cancelled it for some reason.

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  • Good one! I was surprised to discover this meaning of cancelar, even though it makes sense: you are "cancelling" a debt. Nov 19 '17 at 21:04
  • 1
    Imho “plan“ in this case refers to an abonnement, which can just as well be cancelled as it can be paid. I'll update with the solution when she either gets denied entry to the gym for canceling - or doesn't.
    – DonQuiKong
    Nov 20 '17 at 0:40
  • Highly confusing especially when used by DHL in Venezuela... There were some customs charges to be paid on goods I was importing to Caracas. DHL sent me a message. "Cancelado y enviado" I'm like... that's an oxymoron! Jan 9 at 9:34
  • @BritishEnglish The verb "cancelar" is indeed confusing. "Cancelado y enviado" means "Paid and delivered".
    – Gustavson
    Jan 9 at 20:24
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To me it would mean two things: called off or paid.

As to whether the service is required or not, we have two options:

  1. Tu plan fue cancelado... (= the service is no longer required by the person)
  2. Tu plan fue cancelado... (= the membership was paid so as to keep using the service)
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  • Well she wanted to pay the service, but they could have made a mistake and cancelled it for some reason. I can't tell.
    – DonQuiKong
    Nov 19 '17 at 20:43
  • @walen it's just the context. That's why I provided two examples.
    – Schwale
    Nov 20 '17 at 9:19
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    I'm incline to say is the second one. By context you don't "request" pay a debt so the "conforme a lo pedido" sound like they cancel the membership. They would say something like "hemos recibido su pago" "we got your payment". Anyway if you pay something you should get a bill or invoice. The best solution is give them a phone call and confirm. Nov 20 '17 at 11:02
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While both meanings are correct, in my opinion it would mean called off/cancelled rather than paid off. As a Colombian, I take it as “Your plan was cancelled as requested.”

I don’t think “conforme a lo pedido” is used in the connotation of paying something off but I could be wrong. A possible “payment request” may be the only scenario but I take the statement more as a cancellation notice. I guess the question at hand would be: has your girlfriend ever gotten a payment notice?

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  • She registered today and filled out the form asking for credit card details.
    – DonQuiKong
    Nov 19 '17 at 19:55
  • @walen what about we used the credit card details you provided to make the payment?
    – DonQuiKong
    Nov 20 '17 at 11:34
  • @walen technically that's correct. But wouldn't someone who cares about that level of finesse make sure not to use such ambiguous wording? ;) thanks :D
    – DonQuiKong
    Nov 20 '17 at 12:14
  • @walen I know it may be confusing but Colombians (and maybe other South American countries) will use “cancelado” as an expression of paying in full. Nov 20 '17 at 14:46
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It's definitely a Colombian thing. In Spanish, "cancelar algo" is "to cancel something", not "to pay something".

I'm from Spain but I've lived in Colombia for some months and I heard "cancelar" as "to pay" indeed, but it's just a local thing. It's very common in Colombia that they just change the actual meaning of some words. They even misuse the word "hasta" meaning exactly the opposite to what actually means (e.g. they usually say "Hasta ahora he salido" while the correct sentence should be "Hasta hora no pude salir".

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    In Spanish, "cancelar algo" is "to cancel something", not "to pay something" Do you have some references that support this? I'd say that the second meaning in the DLE admits that interpretation: cancelar: 2. tr. Pagar o saldar una deuda. Nov 21 '17 at 21:07
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    "la hipoteca fue cancelada" -> "the mortage was payed off" es una expresión muy utilizada en ámbitos legales. No así en un modo coloquial. Nov 21 '17 at 23:02
  • The DLE does not admit or reject any interpretation, since it isn't its purpose. The DLE just collects all meanings and usages around the world but it doesn't define what is wrong or right (it is usually believed that the DLE is a sort of "official manual of Spanish" but it isn't indeed). About the support you are asking for: just look at yourself and myself. You are in fact a Colombian and I am a Spaniard; that reinforces my claim ;) In Spain (or any other Spanish-speaking country I have visited or lived in) nobody uses that meaning for "cancelar". Maybe Panama or Venezuela (close countries)? Nov 21 '17 at 23:42
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    This is a text from 1946 in Madrid. "Art. XLI. [...] y los fondos que el Gobierno español obtenga por la negociación del empréstito a que se refiere el artículo XL, con la deducción de la suma destinada a cancelar la deuda actual de España..." So I don't thing the affirmation "It's definitely a Colombian thing" is 100 % correct. Nov 22 '17 at 15:42

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