Fine print. Details. They can really screw us if we don’t pay attention.
These 17 people know what I’m talking about!
They got on Reddit to share the times when they actually DID look at what they were about to sign… and saved themselves A LOT of heartache.
1. Getting Paid In Exposure
-was commissioned to paint a legal mural for a client.
-gets an email a few weeks later from a random ad agency who did a photoshoot for their billion dollar fashion client and forgot to get a release signed by me so they can run my ip as their cool factor backdrop.
-I’m in the middle of school midterms so I need this drama to disappear, so I tell them i’ll settle for x amount and they can only use it for x and y.
-first contract sent was way below discussed amount +worded to prevent me from suing them if they broke contract. called them out got a revision sent.
-2nd contract was correct amount but worded to allow them to run the work as billboards, bus benches, the full nine yards. Nowhere near what we discussed as usage.
-called their bluff one last time and told them I’m out, no thanks this low pay and exposure bucks is not worth my time.
-(billion dollar client loved the photos with my work in them and wants them)
-next day my phone blew up and I got to quadruple my payout while cutting their usage down to just social media.
Lived happily ever after, got a crash course in negotiation. Put some money away and had a chill summer so far.
2. Almost Lost The Car
We were in the process of selling our business.
My wife’s car was registered under business. We sat down with our lawyer to discuss what is included in the sale (equipment, supplies etc..) and we clearly told him the car is not included in the sale. Well guess what we receive the typed up contract from our lawyer and he had added the car along with other things.
Thank God we read it and had it removed before signing it and sending to buyer’s lawyer.
3. No Competition
Had a non-compete in a radio contract that said I would have to sit out 90 days if I left for any reason.
Wouldn’t sign it until it was revised to be non compete only if I quit.
When they asked why, I told them if I sucked so bad that they fired me, Wouldn’t it be to their advantage to have me work for their competition? They had no answer for that.
4. Predatory Funerals…
Funeral Service Contract. A few years ago my buddy’s brother passed away. While my buddy was at the funeral home to organize the burial, they asked if his brother had any life insurance.
He said yes and they went into a sales pitch about how they assist bereaved families with life insurance claims. “You just leave it to us, we take care of everything for a small fee. Just sign this agreement….”
When my buddy read the terms and conditions on the agreement it turns out the “small fee” is 18% of the total life insurance claim!
180 000 for filling out the forms on 1 million claim!
They prey on bereaved families.
5. F**king Capitalism….
A few years ago, my Verizon Wireless contract expired and it was time to renew. This was during their whole ‘no one needs unlimited data’ scam. As I went to “renew” my contract, I get to the very end and the guy says “just click accept.” No, I read that because Verizon has been trying to take away my Unlimited for years.
Reading the contract carefully, it effectively stated I’d be relinquishing my unlimited data and going to a 2 gig plan. The price was the same – 400/5 lines, but the data went from unlimited to 2 gigs on every line. I brought that up to the VZW rep and his answer was basically “Yeah, take it or leave it.” I left it. I bought a phone at retail on their payment program thing and ended up keeping my unlimited data. It’s been 12 years of unlimited, and I’ll continue to use as much as I want.
Before anyone goes off on how “I’m the problem with unlimited… etc” It doesn’t actually cost Verizon any significant profit if I use more data than the average user. (Maybe a penny for a few gigs, but it’s negligible when you consider my bill is 400/month). The real problem is one of two things… either A) Verizon doesn’t want to admit they can’t support unlimited on their network, or B) Verizon wants to line shareholder’s pockets.
6. Gym Scam
I signed up for a gym membership on a whim and got sketched out when they initially charged me 250 instead of only the 90 for the month.
I went home and legit didn’t sleep because I was so mad I went through with it. I called and asked the next day to see if I could cancel and almost everyone I spoke to said either no it was impossible or only if I moved to an area that didn’t have the gym. I checked the contract and you could cancel within the first 2 weeks and I was only 3 days into the contract.
You bet your a** I cancelled so fast.
7. Wait… You Want Me To Do What?!?
When I bought my car new 3 years ago, the finance department processed and had me sign paperwork at a certain price. Then they called me 3 days later and told me that their lender fell through and I would actually have to pay an additional $100 a month.
I brought in the paperwork with the price I signed for and the keys. Told them they would stick to the contract or they could have their car back with the additional mileage.
Apparently this is a fairly common practice at car dealerships. Beware.
8. Flight School
I had taken some helicopter flying lessons and was considering switching careers to that. So I found a flight school and applied for a student loan. Sally Mae was the only one that would cover it.
And when I got the final paperwork, the interest rate was higher than they told me over the phone and the total payment to them was going to be well over $200,000.
So I cancelled and didn’t go to flight school.
9. Giant Red Flags
I was looking at a job 350 miles from home, family and friends. Everything looked great. Interview was awesome. I even knew one person there from working with them a few years ago (major coincidence).
I liked it so much, I signed on for a great apartment minutes away from work before signing all the paperwork on my job, because they formally offered the job, but were awaiting my signature.
The day before it was due in, I gave it a passing glance. There were a few giant red flags. I’ll paraphrase as I don’t recall the exact wording.
The job you are signing up for is the only job you’ll have with the company. Though you may periodically get raises, you’ll never be promoted, or allowed to make a lateral move. We need people for this position who are committed to it.
10. Privacy Is Key
At my high school, they set up wifi for us to use.
However, in the terms of service, it said that by signing in to the network, the school had permission to search the phone and look at its contents.
I did not sign in, and have not to this day.
11. No Info Pls
Went to pick up my car from the dealership and it said by signing the paperwork it gave them permission to ‘lend’ my information to third parties.
12. The Yikes Olympics Here
Worked at a part time job, like 20 hours a week when I was 16.
After a year, they tried to force me to sign a piece of paper that said I agreed to work over 40 hours a week. I said I can’t work those hours, they said it’s ok they won’t schedule me for them but I have to sign it anyway..
Being young and dumb, but still having enough sense to say “um can I bring it home and read it first?”
They were really pushy and kept saying they needed it now. It was in a kitchen in mid rush mode.
After a while of “ummm I really don’t have a chance to read it, I would feel more comfortable reading something before I sign it..”
The manager finally did a huge eye roll and I went home the night and googled it. Yup. Illegal. You can’t force me to sign a piece of paper that says I will work more than 40-48 hours a week if I don’t want to.
I brought it back without a signature and politely explained I did not want to.
After getting injured by their faulty deep fryer for putting down the 188364 order of fries that day, they tried to write me up saying I was burned by the grease because I wasn’t wearing proper equipment? What? Where in the world does a kitchen staff in a fast food place ever put on welders gloves before dropping a small basket of fries? It would have happened to anyone. I refused to sign “injured due to unsafe handling”. Uh what?
Then an employee was having serious signs of a stroke (with recent history of a stroke, and just lost custody of his kid) and I asked to call an ambulance. They kept saying no, it’s illegal to call and ambulance because he doesn’t want one. I explained that a lot of choking victims will go in to the washroom alone because of embarrassment and choke to death. Recognize the signs of stroke early.
I’m in Canada, and if the ambulance comes and checks you out, and doesn’t bring you to the hospital it’s FREE. If they do bring you to the hospital, it’s $50. But it’s a STROKE.
Well, whatever happened to him ended up fading away, I think? He went on with his shift. Even though he said his face felt numb, his arm was numb, is vision and speech was being effected, and he was an extreme hot head, he got angry so quickly during busy hours.
Next day I was fired after 2 years of never being written up ever. No lates. No missed days. Just because I:
Didn’t want to sign illegal paper.
Was injured because their equipment is garbage.
Argued that we should call an ambulance for our fellow coworker having every sign of a stroke.
Ahhh. The memories.
13. Those Mysterious Changes
Went to buy a new phone for $200, the employee told me they were closing soon and asked if I could come back the next day to sign the paper work.
The $200 mysteriously changed to $300 while the document was sitting in a desk overnight. Called them out on it and got it from somewhere else.
14. The Insane Interest Rate
Buying my house. Husband signed the paperwork and I went in later that day to sign.
I started to read through the loan application. Mortgage lender said ” What are you doing? You don’t have to read it! Your husband already signed it!”
I was like, no I want to make sure it is what I want. Loan was a $250,000 at 25%! Yeah right!
Didn’t sign it and got out of there. Mortgage guy said he was going to take me to court, I said go ahead it would be cheaper then what he wanted me to sign.
Took over all the mortgage stuff from than on!
15. Global Domination
My employers tried to get all of us to sign a non compete that geographically encompassed the entire globe as well as any profession even closely related.
16. Almost Killed The Acting Career
I’m a professional actor. Last summer, I auditioned for the local ren faire, not realizing that it wasn’t a paid gig. Found out a week into the rehearsal process. “Oh well,” I thought to myself, “I agreed to this, I should’ve done better research.”
So, about a month and a half later, the contracts come out. They’re standard stuff for the most part: we won’t hold the faire accountable if we get injured, we acknowledge we represent the company and thus won’t do x, y, and z unprofessional things during faire hours, etc. etc. But buried in the middle of the contract is a non-compete clause, which basically forbade the signer from working for any other ren faire or Halloween event within 100 miles for a full year.
The other folks at the faire were a lot less concerned about it, but I was absolutely not okay with that. They weren’t paying me, and I wasn’t going to sign off to not make money in a part of the industry for a solid year. I bailed basically as soon as the contracts were given to us.
17. Why Wouldn’t You Pay For Overtime?
New job opportunity. Had a rough interview session but eventually they wanted me. So I went to the HR and they presented me the contract, which I started to read. The HR lady was confused, because I was “the only one who reads the whole contract” . I said “Yeah, but I’ve experience in contract law (which I haven’t) and I always check any contract I’m going to sign (which I also don’t)”. I said this stuff to sound… more professional.
Then I read a term that says that “wages include overtime”. I asked the lady if this means that, if I work 60 or 80 hrs the week I won’t get more money. She said yes.
Then I said that this is an immoral contract (in the sense of german laws) and that I’m unable to sign the contract. The HR-Lady got super nervous. I continued reading and found a non competition/exclusive clause, which means that I was not allowed to start working at a competitor for 2 years after the end of contract.
I told the lady I also won’t sign the contract because the contract was limited for 2 years and I would get trouble by the german employment bureau because I signed something that doesn’t allow me to apply everywhere.
HR lady called her boss, boss came over and asked if there is any problem. I told him why I won’t sign the contract. He just nodded.. and finally said “Ok”, gave the HR lady the order to delete all passages I dislike and went back to his office. 2 days later I started the job and as far as I know I was the only one who got paid for overtime.
Have you ever been in a similar situation?
Share your story in the comments!