The Impossible Task Of Cancelling A Contract
Cancelling A Contract
It’s never too Early to give your ‘Notice of Cancellation’
We were inspired to write this article after the shocking experience we had when cancelling a contract. We had a 12-month contract with a large company that provide serviced and virtual offices. After around 10 months it became apparent that our requirements had changed, we had moved to an office with more space and better facilities so we decided to go about cancelling the contract.
We contacted the company and informed them that we would like to cancel our contract, we knew we would be liable to pay the remaining two months and we didn’t have a problem with that. You can imagine our surprise when the woman explained that we couldn’t cancel our contract as we had 14 months left (of a 12 month contract), she then went on to explain it had auto-renewed. Still confused as to how a contract could have auto-renewed with two months remaining the woman explained that their policy was to auto-renew contracts unless they were informed of our ‘intentions to cancel’ 3 months before the contract end date?!
She went on to explain that all of this was clearly defined in their terms and conditions and unfortunately there was nothing they could do, I am a firm believer in taking responsibility for your own actions and many will say that it is careless not to read through terms and conditions especially when entering into a contract. On the other hand I think it is ridiculous for a company to put in place an auto-renewal clause 75% of the way through the contract, if the company were producing a product or providing a labour intensive service then I would understand and appreciate their desire to be notified to prevent them from wasting money on unnecessary resources or contracting staff that would not be needed.
The company we are talking about provide access to work-space, meeting room facilities and mail-forwarding. I am still unsure how they justify this but I suppose it is a lesson that you should be meticulous when entering a contract and ensure you are aware of all charges and renewal dates.
When you buy an electronic product you usually receive two different sets of instructions, one that details the technical specification of the materials used in about 38 languages and a ‘Quick Start’ guide. The majority of consumers either don’t care enough to read them or find it impossible to understand the jungle of legal terminology they are filled with.
Why not provide a simple version or summary of the terms that include the key facts such as cost, contract length, renewal terms and additional charges/fees?
If you want information about your rights as a consumer there is a good page on the Citizens Advice Website.