By William Rusteberg
Have you ever wondered what is in the contract you signed during that moment of insanity when, flush with subjective buying emotions fueled by looming deadlines and a multitude of vendors painting pictures on demand, you penned your legal rights or lack thereof to the last page without reading the preceding pages and the addendums you initialed?
Most don’t read their contracts until there is a dispute, such as when you are notified that the other party is going to charge you for something you don’t remember agreeing to pay. “Look at your contract, it’s all in there!” replies Dynamic Bob, your account representative who answers your email, “Page 22, paragraph 4, Section A-5 reads “Not withstanding your understanding, you agree to pay and to be bound to additional charges as we may deem necessary in rendering certain unspecified, and heretofore uncontemplated services and/or products designed to enhance the value and long term effects of this mutually agreed and binding contract, not withstanding any attempts to bypass this agreement by pleading ignorance or lack of mental capacity.”
Of course, this is far fetched. Or is it?
What could be worse than this Alice In Wonderland Tale would be a unilateral decision upon the part of the vendor to charge their client a fee or a cost to do or deliver something of value that is not stipulated at all within the contract between to the two parties. Without asking their client’s approval or even presenting an amendment to the original contract for consideration of the party to be charged compounds the hustle. At least that would be a plausible observation one would think.
How does one “sell” fees or costs to be charged that are not contractually agreed to between the two parties, without mutual agreement?
Hope and change on the part of the messenger come to mind. Or should it be “Change and Hope.”