I have been blogging about how it is important to read the fine print when deciphering the contracts. But what happened was put in the contract and you didn’t know it but willingly signed? This was the example case over in the U.K. The game retailer GameStation put in it’s terms and conditions section for it’s website an “Immortal Soul” clause which states that if they click on the “I agree” button they willingly give up their souls to the retailer. This was done to prove how little attention people pay to things when signing away. A whooping 88% signed and “lost their souls” while the 12% that didn’t because they read it opted out and received a gift card. Imagine if this was real huh?
We all know that fine print can hurt our credit and ruin our chances of getting a good house or a car. But what happens when it’s used against us and has our back against the wall. This was exactly the case about a woman named Debbie Dantz. While I have briefly mentioned it in my fifth hunt (when it came to reading about clauses) about it, I will now bring to light what is known as arbitration agreement.
Debbie Dantz was a waitress who worked at her local Applebees and noticed that her boss was starting to sexually harass her. Even though she tried many times to make it stop, nobody listened. Then one day the dreaded arbitration agreement was thrust upon her. It stated that she was to sign and that kind of agreement means that if the company that you work for breaks the law and it concerns you, you can’t sue them. Debbie refused and thus was told she got no pay except tips. Finally after three years she had enough and took them to court. Their decision was to toss the case out because even though she didn’t sign she kept working there.
Arbitration clauses are due to a large part of bad decisions made in the 1980’s and are there to prevent frivilous lawsuits. However they keep us at bay from holding people accountable because if we don’t we dont get paid or may get fired or lose the things we need like our cars or cell phones. They are often secret and only companies in California have to declassify their history. The worst part is that they cost you money to take to court. A live hearing costs $1500 alone. Even if you have the money, know that arbitrations are biased as you wouldn’t believe. Public Citizen conducted a study from 20,000 cases and found that 94% of the time, the company won. Our solution to all of this..be careful where you go for a job, know your rights, and NEVER give up your right to sue. The courts will only ignore these kinds of cases for as long as Congress lets them.
Full story can be found here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ian-millhiser/by-trap-or-by-trick-how-c_b_166219.html
When Google released it’s new Nexus One phone, people had some decisions to make. They could just wait until their old contracts let up or just get it now. The only problem is they had to do it soon. They would have to break their old contracts either before getting it in 2 weeks or after 4 months of usage. Failing to do so means that you pay fines. I’m not talking about some simple fine, oh no. This is huge fines and your paying both Google and T-Mobile.
To figure this out you must read through the fine print. Nothing this blog hasn’t told you already right? However you must read through..get ready..TWO sets of fine print. The first set talks about Google and that you agree to pay Google a fee, which they state is not a penalty, of $350 and they charge it to your credit card. No biggie, since you cancel early and must pay the subsidy.
However the fee is imposed by Google and not your carrier, which was T-Mobile at the time. They state that another fee is in order: $200. This means canceling early costs around $550. Yikes!
In short, when a new phone comes out, best be wise to wait until your contract runs out to get another one. It could save you a ton of money and a lot of grief.
We all have to rely on a credit card at some point or another. With todays technologies the whole “reward system” has bene introduced. This means that if you have paid off your balance every month, you could be treated to good things like free flights or discounts at restaurants or hotel rooms.
However, even here in credit cards (though where doesn’t it) hides the fine print. The Discover card offers a 1% cash back when you use it. However if you use it at places like Wal-Mart or any warehouse store that drops to .25% Also Chase has rewards…if you can figure them out. What this means is that they offer a good 5% cash back on seasonal categories. However they change every quarter so knowing what they are is a big hassle.
However not everything is so bad. Retailer stores are getting into the who reward craze. Example is the famous Amazon.com, whose card has no annual fee, and the points you gain never expire and you can keep stacking as much as you want. So if you like buying stuff online, this would be the place to go.
When we buy our dream home, what do we usually sign? A mortgage application. However, before you sign that dotted line and be on your way, know this.
Look for a small box that may be checked or unchecked. This box contains your Variable Rate fixture. If this is checked it means that your mortgage is adjustable rather than fixed.
Hidden in that deathly fine print hides your penalties. More specifically, your pre-payment ones. This means that if you pay off your loan before you were supposed to, you could be penalized. So much for getting stuff done early huh?
Finally, read thoroughly the Acknowledgement and Agreement section. If this is viewed as wrong by you, then the lender could be trying to commit fraud and get some money out of you. Go back home and read this section to assure yourself that everything that is on that piece of paper is right and you know it. It’s your responsibility to make sure it is. Be careful, as with the electronic age still alive there are better chances for something wrong to happen.
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