Service Contracts – the real cost of a bad decision

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Read the terms and conditions very carefully as once signed, it is nigh on impossible to cancel the contract.

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We are regularly contacted by members who have signed up for a service, find out the service is not what they were expecting, attempt to cancel the contract, and are then provided with a massive bill for most, if not all, of the outstanding payments to the end of the contract.

In the meantime, they may have signed up to use another provider of the same service so, in essence, they are paying twice for one service.

Two types of services tend to dominate these situations. The first is the provision of telecommunications services and hardware, and the second is waste disposal.

Both of these services can sometimes come with large promises and the inadequate delivery of those promises.

But once you have signed a contract, it is almost always too late to leave that contract without paying a significant penalty.

You know what you want from a service. So, put in the background work and check out the service suppliers before you sign up.

If you have a trusted network of businesses, find out from them who they use, and what the service is like. If the provider has approached you, then research the company, and try to speak to current clients of theirs. Are their customers getting value for money, and are they getting what was promised?

Google the company and google what complaints are out there.

Far be it for me to suggest that salespeople sometimes oversell their products, 😉, but email the company detailing what you are expecting from the service and ask them to confirm if your requirements can be provided for. 

When a service provider sends you a contract, read the terms and conditions very carefully as once signed, it is nigh on impossible to cancel the contract. If there is anything in the terms that you are unhappy with, ask the company to explain or amend them.

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You could ask for a brief trial period during which you can cancel the contract. Make sure you have this in writing if this is agreed upon.

If the service subsequently is not what was promised, you will then have written evidence to provide a route to cancel some aspects of the contract, but there may still be some parts of the contract that cannot be cancelled.

Do your research before entering into a contract, and then hopefully the service should be as you expected.

Darren FletcherLegal AdvisorRead More by this author

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