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Just Call me DUMMY!
Old 10-14-2009, 07:37 AM   #1
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Just Call me DUMMY!

Several years ago I made a mistake with one of the satellite companies. I signed up online, gave my CC for automatic billing which was required for the lower rate I was "promised". Read what little there was to read on the website and scheduled the install.

The house I live in is about 100 years old, an inherited family house. It has a very small crawl space and the guy really had a hard time doing the install. He mentioned several times that he was going to be late for his next appointment and how the company scheduled the apts. too close together and when dealing with difficult houses like this one.

At the end, he handed me something to sign saying he had completed the install. Then he handed me a contract that had to be 4 pages long in little teeny tiny legalese. It would have taken me a good hour or more to carefully read it. The guy was standing there tapping his foot impatiently waiting. I told him I told him I wanted to read it and he told me that he couldn't leave without it, he would get in serious trouble. I felt pressured and quickly scanned it then signed.
Lets not go into it, but say that it ended up being a really bad idea.


Yesterday, I had someone come out an install some kind of boosted WIFI. (I don't know exactly what it is or how it works, but it is Great!) Anyway, had almost the exact same scenario as happened with the satellite guy. This time, I did at least have the presence of mind to write my own terms as I read them on the website across the bottom of the contract above where I signed. Not sure how much it would actually mean though.

I am mad at myself. Mad that I allowed the installer to hand me a multi-page contract at the last minute. Mad that he stood over me waiting for me to sign it and mad that against my better judgment and signed it. I should have simply refused and told him that he should have given it to me at the beginning if he expected to sign something like that.

I wonder how many people are willing to simply say NO, I won't sign this, if you get in trouble, that's tough, next time you'll give the person the paperwork at the beginning of the appointment.
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Old 10-14-2009, 07:49 AM   #2
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I should have simply refused and told him that he should have given it to me at the beginning if he expected to sign something like that.

I wonder how many people are willing to simply say NO, I won't sign this, if you get in trouble, that's tough, next time you'll give the person the paperwork at the beginning of the appointment.
Yeah, I hate when that happens. Your solution (granted, in hindsight) is perfect... now if I can only remember it the next time.
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Old 10-14-2009, 07:53 AM   #3
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I usually scan through such contracts really quickly looking for obvious problems, but that only takes a minute or two. Usually they are standard contracts.

When I bought my house, at closing I insisted on slowly, carefully reading clear through everything that I signed. My realtor and the lawyer did not like waiting for that, but I did it anyway.
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Old 10-14-2009, 08:17 AM   #4
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Cute trick on the part of these companies is to have a long, lengthy contract in teeny tiny print specifically made so that the public doesn't read them....dirty tricks. Don't kick yourself. Kick that company. Frankly, I think what you did is what 99.9% of the public would do and that is what they count on. Forgive yourself = you're human...just know what to do next time.
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Old 10-14-2009, 08:19 AM   #5
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DockPoint Internet Solutions

Anyone want to take a look at this and see what they think? It is a bit confusing and the more I read it the more confused I become.

I signed a 12 month contract, and signed up for 1.5 speed.

I read it as the promo price of $29.99/month was good for the length of the contract but one of the guys in the office said that the (12-31-2009) makes it misleading and that they read it as $29.99/month good through only that date then goes back to normal pricing of $49.99/month.

Anyone want to give their interpretation?

************
So far I am loving the service, it is faster than our T-1 line at the office.

Unfortunately, my only other high-speed internet option is a wifi card which is not much better than dial-up but much more expensive. Finally finished my 2-year contract with sprint for the wifi card.
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Old 10-14-2009, 09:09 AM   #6
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Anyone want to give their interpretation?
Like you, I read it that the *promotion* is through 12/31/09, and that the price of $29.99 is for the 12 months of the contract - - to be raised thereafter. But it sure is ambiguous!

Hopefully they left you a copy of the contract you signed, and you can check that for the price.
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Old 10-14-2009, 11:54 AM   #7
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I won't sign something I haven't read. Ever. Why would I agree to something if I don't even know what it is. If the company tries to arrange affairs so I will feel pressured to sign without reading, it just makes me more convinced there must ne something in there they don't want me to know about. And usually there is. Many of these long "standard form" contracts include language that lets them change terms at will without notice and exempts them from liability for anything, even deliberate misbehavior on their part. If I'm feeling particularly pressured, I will insist on changing these provisions. If I'm going to have a curmudgeon certificate, I might as well use it.
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Old 10-14-2009, 12:31 PM   #8
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GUILTY-- We recently had a new front railing installed- I signed and did not read. Then it took 6 weeks to get it installed instead of the next week agreed on.

My bill just arrived (4 weeks later), and I read the contract about billing prior to receving the bill since it took a month more to get that. After reading, I learned that according to state law, I do not have to pay until I get a lien waiver if requested, so I am requesting one--shame on me- but a bit out of spite.

Interestingly, I learned I agreed to arbitration in a dispute, but they get to sue at anytime!

So maybe my new signature will read something like: I accept on the condition that all rights extened to (entity) are also extened to me! LOL
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Old 10-14-2009, 02:50 PM   #9
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Then he handed me a contract that had to be 4 pages long in little teeny tiny legalese. It would have taken me a good hour or more to carefully read it. The guy was standing there tapping his foot impatiently waiting. I told him I told him I wanted to read it and he told me that he couldn't leave without it, he would get in serious trouble. I felt pressured and quickly scanned it then signed.
Lets not go into it, but say that it ended up being a really bad idea.

I am mad at myself. Mad that I allowed the installer to hand me a multi-page contract at the last minute. Mad that he stood over me waiting for me to sign it and mad that against my better judgment and signed it. I should have simply refused and told him that he should have given it to me at the beginning if he expected to sign something like that.
I wonder how many people are willing to simply say NO, I won't sign this, if you get in trouble, that's tough, next time you'll give the person the paperwork at the beginning of the appointment.
Most state laws (and maybe now it's a federal law) give you a three-day "right of cancellation" with any contract. The idea is that you forklift the wad of paper over to a lawyer (or a tax CPA) who can advise you on what you just signed, so that you can cancel it before it becomes legally enforceable.

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When I bought my house, at closing I insisted on slowly, carefully reading clear through everything that I signed. My realtor and the lawyer did not like waiting for that, but I did it anyway.
We do this all the time, and it's amazing what typos (or tricks) sneak into the closing documents. We've learned to have the title company either send us the papers a couple days ahead of closing, or we go over there a day before closing to read everything. And then they spend the afternoon fixing it.

In the late 1970s my parents-in-law went to a refinancing to discover that the mortgage company had made the mistake of setting their interest rate at something like 10% instead of 12%. It was either a miscommunication or a typo, but both of them had the presence of mind to keep their poker faces and sign as fast as they could. Predicting the inevitable, they even moved all their other accounts to another bank. The bank's mortgage mistake wasn't discovered until months after it was recorded, during the next audit. Everyone knew that forcing the issue would cost the bank far more in negative publicity than it would save in mortgage costs. Nevertheless the bank dogged them for over a year to re-sign the papers before giving up.
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Old 10-14-2009, 05:51 PM   #10
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If it makes you feel any better, I have a stupid thing I did and lived to kick myself about it. I hired Wald Mayflower in Houston to move me. They made a promise that I could store my stuff there for a year if I had to and that it would be no problem as they had lots of space, etc. etc. etc. Then they would move my stored stuff to my new city wherever it was going to be when the time was right.
I was out of Houston about 6 weeks when I got a call from one of their Managers insisting I get my stuff out of their storage ASAP as they needed the room. I was somewhat forced to take a place to live in Chicago then as that was where I was at the time. What happened to their word that I could keep my stuff with them for a year? Forgotten I guess...and pretty quickly.
Eventually I contacted the Better Business Bureau and registered a legit complaint. Much later I am looking at epodunk.com, which is a great resource for checking on many things (movers, computers, cars, etc.) and see that Wald Mayflower Movers in Houston has more than one complaint on that site. Boy! Did I pay bigtime for not checking them out beforehand--and how stupid could I be to trust their word instead of having them put I could store my stuff with them up to a year in their space. Lesson learned when dealing with movers and contracts. You live, you learn.
We all screw up occasionally I think.
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Old 10-14-2009, 06:54 PM   #11
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I go through this every time I rent a car. They slide this huge contract in tiny font at you, all the time grunting that if you don't take their overpriced insurance that you'll pay and pay if you have an accident. Of course there is a huge line of people behind you, you are dead tired from the plane ride and you've gotta pee.

I have to admit that I still don't know if my insurance covers loss of revenue while their car is fixed. I did get hit in a rental last year and I ended up chasing down the at-fault party's insurance company to pay Hertz to repaint their bumper. No charges for loss of rental use, though.
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Old 10-15-2009, 12:37 AM   #12
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Most state laws (and maybe now it's a federal law) give you a three-day "right of cancellation" with any contract. The idea is that you forklift the wad of paper over to a lawyer (or a tax CPA) who can advise you on what you just signed, so that you can cancel it before it becomes legally enforceable.
Several years ago I signed up for internet service with the local cable company. I signed the contract after briefly scanning it over. Later that day I took more time to read through the contract thoroughly, and found some things that were totally unacceptable to me. So I called them and told them that I had decided to cancel out of the contract. They told me that that was not possible because I had signed the contract, and that it was legally binding. I reminded them that state law allows me to cancel out within the 2 or 3 days (I don't remember which now), and that according to that law, they are required to honor my request. The CS rep said (in a fairly irked tone) "oh yeah, I forgot".

Since then, I absolutely will NOT sign anything without thoroughly reading through it first! And I don't give rat's @ss how big of a hurry they are in, or how many people are standing in line behind me! If they don't like it they can kiss my.......
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Old 10-15-2009, 01:46 AM   #13
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It's obviously better to read the terms before you sign. However, most companies will not allow negotiation and you know that these contracts will be totally one sided.

If you have to sign, there are two simple way to dealing with this situation:

1. write the words "terms not accepted" or similar in the signature block instead of a signature. The odds are pretty good that the person taking the contract back will never read it. I did this once with an airline that asked me to sign a two page indemnity after I lost my boarding pass between check in and the gate. I wrote the "N. O. Indemnity" on the bottom of the form and everyone was happy.

2. sign it but add the words "required to sign without being given an opportunity to read terms or obtain legal advice" on the contract. I did this once just to see what would happen. Again, the delivery guy didn't say anything. I have no idea what would happen if there was a dispute, but this would certainly give a judge or arbitrator a good reason for siding with the down trodden consumer against the evil corporation. If nothing else, you can give them a hard time about it.

One thing which I do make a practice of relates to delivery forms. I hate it when I am asked to sign an acknowledgement that goods have been received in good working order etc when I am not given an adequate opportunity to inspect them. Accordingly, I will always add the words "subject to inspection and testing for 7 days" or similar next to the acknowledgement. Again, I have never had anyone tell me I can't do this (but I've never had to rely on it either).

On rental cars, I do a visual before I leave the lot. Any scratches etc get noted on the hire form.
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Old 10-15-2009, 07:15 AM   #14
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It's obviously better to read the terms before you sign. However, most companies will not allow negotiation and you know that these contracts will be totally one sided.
Computer software falls into this category. Or for that matter, how many take the time to read the "rules and regulations," for instance, before accepting those terms to join a forum such as this one.

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On rental cars, I do a visual before I leave the lot. Any scratches etc get noted on the hire form.
A digital camera, with its built in meta-data stamp, is the only way to go in this regard.
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