Contract Fun-Is this common?
This past week has been very interesting indeed.
Last week, I started the process from two different ads on WHT for free trial servers. I did, in fact, end of getting one of the two. I will share my experiences later..as they are headed in a interesting direction...and I feel many can learn a few things from my experiences.
The first one went rather badly...and I posted some info about that..but further needs to be shared. I think there are some very interesting elements to the first agreement..and contract..and I have taken the steps to contact a lawyer about this for absolute clarification.
Many of you did not read the first post..so I will summerize here first. What happened was this:
I responded to ad here which offered, "First free month..no contract..no obligation." I made note that the first two claims were absolutely false..two verifiable lies right off the bat. One more and that would have been my absolute limit. However...it did not get that far.
I responded...and expected to recieve a CC auth form..instead a very lengthy contract...with some very interesting elements I will share here today. He agreed to change a few of the more absurd elements..but that was the end...further contract negotiations were not possible.
He ended it..and I was having so much fun!
As I said..I am not asking for legal advice at all. I am sharing this..because many of you have had more experience than I with these...that I am sure. I am also curious to see if my grasp of contract law was up to snuff...and my conclusions were at least close..if not dead on.
First...it should be mentioned that this contract deals with Texas law..this company is located in Texas. Without further delays..on with the show!
1. Contract says: 1a Server Readiness extended thirty days
My understanding: This seemed ok..it's how they offer the first thirty days free. Ok..reasonable enough.
2. Contract: Section 2-Server Readiness Date: ..server will be considered opertional once it has been contructed...monthly minimum $240.00
my understanding: Reasonable enough..nothing had to understand there. A certain amount of time will pass...then the server will be ready for me to use.
3. Fees: No surprises there..standard stuff.
Here's where it begins to get interesting-
4. Initial Contract Term: CLIENT agrees to purchase 1 month of consecutive service detailed in section 1A from the "server readiness date" detailed in section 2...
My understanding: This is confusing..and here's where I may have made a mistake. It seems to me since the readiness date has been extended 30 days..I have agreed to pay for at least one month past the free trial. That's not the deal killer, though. Seems reasonable enough...I get a free month..then I have to pay for a month. Fine.
5. Extended Contract: Simple..rehashs basic month-to-month agreement
And here..ohh..the fun *REALLY* starts!
6. Cancellation by CLIENT: CLIENT may cancel this contract..providing 15 days notice to the address above. Upon cancellation the Client will be ordered to pay the monthly minimum bandwidth fees within 15 days..per section 3..for the remainder of the contract term detailed in section 4 of this agreement.
If section 4 of this contract has been fulfilled and CLIENT is operating under section 5 of this agreement, CLIENT may cancel this contract at anytime with no penalty by providing 30 days written notice.
My understanding: Even more confusion. At first..I just took this to mean I'm on the hook for two months after the free trial. However...I think it is even worse than that..as you wil learn. I think now that I have thought about it..I was wrong here. If I cancelled within 15 days of billing..that would be that..the end. However..if you paid for the second month..you are clearly on the hook for month #3 as well...maybe even month #4
let's skip down to billing..more interesting things there.
10. Billing: Billing for services rendered to client under section 1A of this agreement will begin on the server readiness date detailed in section 2 of this agreement. Payments for services are prepaid and are due on the first of each month for the respective month's service. ...reserves the right to temporaily disconnect services for invoices 3 days past due. ..reserves the Right to charge a one-time $75.00 late fee for any invoice 3 days or more past due.
My understanding: End. No way. I am still confused here..with the server readiness date being extended for thirty days..and me signing up on 10-19..with server being ready 10-23..I still think I would have got a bill for $240 on 11/1. Correct? Or no? Even so...I'm never signing a contract like this...period...even for the lead to gold recipe.
This is the first time I have ever seen a contract like this...and hopefully the last time.
I find it hard to believe anybody would sign it..but that's me.
My main question is this: Is this common? Maybe I should have a lawyer on retainer after all.
Bryon L Harvey
Soil Relocation Engineer