Fast-paced living, the internet and the allure of a great deal sometimes means we get caught up in a contract we didn’t really want.
In recent weeks, worried residents have contacted the Falkirk Herald for help after unknowingly signing into a 12-month gym contract or committing themselves to an 18-month internet provider.
So we decided to work with Falkirk’s Trading Standards co-ordinator Graeme Hill to put together consumer tips about contracts to have at hand before signing anything.
First of all, read the terms and conditions. A contract is an agreement between two or more parties which places duties and obligations on each party and in most cases they are binding.
A quick glance over the terms and conditions might not be enough for you to fully take in the terms of the contract you are agreeing to be bound by.
Secondly, know who you are getting into a contract with. This can be an issue where there is a third party to the contract. There’s you as the consumer, the company you deal with to get your goods or services and then finally there can be a management company which handles the contract details, monthly payments, finance side of the arrangement.
Graeme added: “In some circumstances the law will state that you must be provided with 14 days to cancel the contract. Use this time to think whether the contract’s for you. To cancel you must comply with the terms and conditions. If you use a service, such as a gym membership within the 14 days and then cancel, you may be charged for the use of the gym during that period.”
Finally, Graeme said it is important to know the minimum term. This is popular with mobile phone contracts and can be as much as 24-months and you’ll be bound by the terms and the conditions for the entire time.