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Hey kids… PLEASE don’t ever sign anything without FULLY reading it first.
Sure, it’s kind of boring. You know what isn’t boring? Keeping your money because you were’t lazy AF.
These 11 people responded on reddit to the question, “Hey Reddit, what was your “thank God I looked at the contract” moment?” and their stories are eye-opening.
Take a look… closely…
1. Blind Faith
I previously worked for a managed services company for a total of 5 years, for my last 2 years there I utterly hated it.
We knew they were going to make us all redudant, but they kept telling us our jobs were safe and we had nothing to worry about. They kind of made the dumb move of giving us the jobs to deploy the infrastructure in India where the jobs moved to. Fast forward to the day it happened, we were all locked out of the building and told we could collect personal items with an escort. When it came to getting our exit packages which is required by law here there was a retroactive NDA to sign, most people signed it blindly because they were so pissed off, one of the clauses in it basically read
‘You may not disclose any information about the company’, not exact wording but the clause was so vague that it literally covered anything and everything that happened in the company during our time there which would have stung me hard considering i’m quite a vocal person when it comes to unethical practices.
I refused to sign it unless they re-worded it, still got my package, never heard from them. To this day I have nothing nice to say about their final few years of business practice, and if anyone asks me, I tell them very bluntly about my experience and if it comes to professional dealings with them I avoid it and recommend using other companies. Very glad I read that one.
2. Liquor Is Quicker
While preparing for our wedding, my fiancé and I went super nitty-gritty, reading every word of every considered vendor’s contract.
One of the bands we considered came highly recommended, but had some pushy contractual demands. Have to hire their whole 8-piece band when we’d been looking for a 3- or 4-piece. Minimum of six hours’ performance charge. Then we found the “unlimited booze” clause. Literally, their contract called for them to be entitled to unlimited food AND LIQUOR throughout the period of the reception – not even limited to the period of their performance, so they could pregame.
When called on it, they doubled down and tried to put it back on us, saying they’d never before had anyone try to force them to perform for hours on end with no food or water.
We quite liked the DJ we ended up with.
3. Always Get A Copy
This happened about 10 years ago during the housing crisis. My parents were in some deep sh*t with the payments. Some day out of nowhere a person shows up at our door and talks to my parents about a lowering our payments through their program. My parents call me to help them translate (they can understand English but can’t read it). I was only 12 at the time and hated reading legalize papers but something struck me odd about the situation. I read through it a few times and understood it to be something like this.
You will sell us your house for free and you will pay us rent. I was twelve, I thought, “no way we would ever do this”.
Sure I was young reading legalese to translate it to Spanish, but I told my parents let’s take this paper to someone that can understand it because what I’m understanding doesn’t seem right. So we ask the person if we can keep the paper and sign it later. He says that they can’t do that. I ask why. He says they just can’t. I say we won’t sign it now until we know for sure what signing this means.
He says that’s the only one he has. I ask if we can make a copy and he still says no. So he takes the paper back and gives me a paper that is a copy of a copy of a copy and says we can have that and says he will come back (this paper was something completely different with the same logo of the company).
So we take that paper and take it to our bank where our house loan is from and ask what this was about. The banker takes one look at it and tells us that whatever it is this was, not to sign anything as it seemed like a scam.
Thinking back to it what it appeared to be was some scammers trying to get people to sign up for a loan under the name of a real bank or financing company. I guess keeping the paper would allow someone to trace the scam back to them. The next time someone showed up was a lady asking the same exact thing and showed us the same papers. We told her no and to stop coming back. They kept sending agents over but we never answered the door and eventually they stopped coming.
4. Eat My Shorts!
I have a few but the biggest one was when I was looking for housing in a city I was about to move to after landing a new job. I decided to go through craigslist since I had a specific budget in mind. One guy called me with a place that was a duplex, I would be in the upper floor with 4 other people. I asked about the room and he said it had total privacy and my own bathroom. I said sweet and asked for the lease.
What I got back was a generic contract with an appendix about 5 pages long of rules and what I would actually get. The room was the entire second half of the duplex and it was divided by curtains. The bathroom was a shared bathroom. The rules included no guests, loud music, video gaming, or watching movies at night. I called the guy back up and told him no. He threatened to sue for backing out. I laughed and told him to pound dirt.
5. Skimming From The Skimmers
We get a lot of “electricity suppliers” here and I’ll admit that I don’t fully understand the concept. Representatives for the suppliers go door-to-door and these ones seemed nice and affordable. I was paying more for electric since the supplier thing happened so it made sense to sign up. My husband agreed we should make the switch so I was on the phone with the electric company and beginning to give the information as I began to scan the sheet.
The suppliers yelled “nooooo” and “you don’t have to do that” out loud as I got to the part that says there is a cancellation fee of $200. I knew we’d likely be moving soon and have to cancel. I apologized the woman on the phone, hung up, handed back the paper unsigned, and learned a good lesson about reading contracts. Who knows what else it even said but they were clearly banking on me not reading it. Too many of us don’t and we should!
6. I Got Your Back!
Our advertising agency bought another and merged the companies. The new employee contract had sneakily included a non-compete clause. Which meant we wouldn’t be allowed to get another job in our field with anyone in a 100 mile radius for at least a year after separation – regardless of whether it was termination or by choice.
My original agency didn’t have non-compete clauses and was a huge reason why people stayed with the company for so long. The moment we all saw it, about 15 people (including myself) threatened to leave if it wasn’t changed. The CEO immediately said they’d omit it.
Granted, any new hires were required to sign non-competes after that day. But talk about a CEO and CFO who almost sh*t themselves.
7. Scumbags Do Scumbag Shit
I was recently in California for 10 days…
I love lifting, and didn’t want to go that long without working out, so I wanted to see if my gym had a location near where I was. I didn’t have a car and was staying with my cousin, who lived downtown. There was a different gym where he was a member a few blocks away, so I figured I’d get a trial pass. That was 20 bucks. A little pricey for one day. I asked how much for a month, and the guy told me 45. He told me he’d sign me up for a membership, but waive all the fees, and cancel the membership on the day I leave. I figured it was worth it if I go 3-4 times, considering how much I was already spending on food etc.
I signed up, and spent 3 hours there my first day. I got home, and looked at the contract. It said I paid 45 dollars, but it also said there was a balance of 120 or something in fees etc.
He didn’t actually waive them, just pushed them back.
Since I was in CA, I had 3 or 5 days to cancel (the language was unclear) and get a full refund…
On the third day, I went in, got a nice 2 hour workout in, and walked up to the guy and told him I wanted to cancel. I got 2 really good workouts in, and didn’t even have to get a guest pass. It totally wasn’t my intent to be kind of a scumbag, but f*ck that guy for trying to screw me over…had I not read the contract, I would have been out another 120 bucks.
8. Always Read The Contract. Especially If You’ve Requested Changes.
Dad is a contractor, he always reads the contract, which always boggles the people he works with. One day he was reading one for a new job and there was a clause that… If I remember correctly, it went that if something went south in some way, he was financially responsible? I don’t remember exactly what it was, just that if it went badly he’d be liable.
Dad basically told them to change it or he’d decline the job.
They were really confused by this ultimatum. “But everyone else signed it!”
Dad stood his ground, said he’d nope out.
They caved and changed it.
Advice for people who sign contracts regularly:
READ THE CONTRACT. You know that, right?
But what about: after you’ve requested a change? READ THE WHOLE THING AGAIN.
People can and will sneak clauses you asked to be removed into other parts of the contract. I had a teacher who told me about a time he was signing on for work and it took four attempts and a threat to walk before they finally removed the part he didn’t like.
9. Holiday House Blues
I was looking to book a holiday house for a week with some mates. When I asked about the bond they said that they will take my credit card details and that there was no upper limit on how much they could charge.
Not only that, if we were to cancel at anytime after we booked, the deposit (50%) would not be refunded unless someone else booked the house for the same period.
I backpedalled very fast.
10. Don’t Hate The Player…
I worked for a company that owed me money, so I sued them to get it. They settled, but wrote a nondisclosure clause into the agreement, which I was assured was pretty typical by my lawyer. However, they worded this clause to be retroactive, so anything I had said about them prior to the signing of the contract would also be a violation of the contract, meaning they would be able to sue me into the ground the second I signed.
I’m contractually prohibited from saying that this entire company is run by inept *ssholes, so I won’t say that, but I had said it beforehand, and I think they knew that. They played it off as an error, but I am 100% positive it was an attempt to trip me up. My lawyer didn’t catch it. I did and saved myself a bunch of money and a huge headache. I’m getting a different lawyer if I ever need any legal work in the future. Read everything you sign, kids. And don’t just read it, understand it.
11. Duplex Complexity
I was trying to rent a simple duplex in San Diego and everything looked pretty good. I was looking the contract over before signing and began to see a few red flags.
The apartment was strictly no smoking (no problem I don’t smoke and never have) but the language was very specific. I’m going from memory here but it said something like:
“IF at the landlords sole discretion, it has been determined that the apartment has been smoked in, the renting parties will be liable for all repairs (new carpet installation, repainting, deodorizing) AND will pay prorated daily rent until such time said repairs are able to be completed.”
There were multiple other similar red flags that basically would have put me on the line for unlimited liability. I requested that with some reasonable changes to the contract I would be more than happy to sign, but the response was very defensive and curt and implied I was just trying to screw the landlord over. I can understand trying to protect your asset, but I’m not going to sign up for unlimited liability at the sole discretion of somebody that seems reasonably unhinged.
Remember a time when reading the fine print saved your biscuits?
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