Fine Print

The Fine Print And Such

@peellawfirm General Law

There is an old saying: “The large print giveth and the fine print taketh away.”

A little known bit of fine print exists in several different kinds of contracts that you may have right now. It is sometimes called an “automatic renewal clause.”

It will renew the contract for a specified term, unless it is cancelled. But usually the cancellation must be in writing and mailed at least 60 days before the original date of expiration. Even if you know it is there, it is easy to forget.

You may see it in your cellular phone contract. Also, each time you obtain a new phone or change your package, ask if you will be extending your contract more due to that change.

Health clubs, karate and dance schools, and some subscriptions use this method to renew members or subscribers. You can also look for “termination fees” in these type of agreements in the event you need to cancel.

Yet a more surprising item to look out for is the retail gift cards that lose value over time. Some larger stores chains actually program the cards you may be carrying right now to decrease in value each year for any unused balance. This is true even though they already have the money used to purchase it.

Finally, if a collector calls you and says they are going to garnish your check or sell your house due to unpaid debt, remember that they have to go and get a judgment to do that. To get a judgment, they have to take you to court and go through all the motions.

Lately, I have heard of some collectors trying to collect bills that are really old and threatening debtors with all sorts of horrible things. In many cases, the statute of limitations has run and they can never get a judgment.

But a certified letter telling them to leave you alone will usually work. If not, tape the calls and document them. Then you can seek help under the Federal Fair Debt Collections Act. While I do not do that type of work, I understand that the fines can be handsome.

At any rate, you are never required to talk to any rude collector, or anyone else like that. The phone in your home is there for YOUR convenience, not a salesman’s or collector’s. And, the Tennessee and Federal DO NOT CALL lists are a Godsend.

Tennessee Do Not Call Site: www2.state.tn.us/tra/nocallform.htm/

Federal Do Not Call Site: https://www.donotcall.gov/

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