Local business owner gets locked in contract
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) - How many times have you purchased a product, without reading the fine print? That's exactly what one valley business owner did, and it's coming back to haunt her. But there is a catch, as you'll hear from Contact 13's Tricia Ke Video by ktnv.com
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- How many times have you purchased a product, without reading the fine print? That's exactly what one Valley business owner did, and it's coming back to haunt her.
"It's been a hassle, a headache and it's not fair," said Gina Fritz.
She isn't happy. Her frustration involves Dex One. She hired the marketing company back in July 2010 to advertise her wedding videography company, Memory Montage, on the company site DexKnows.com.
"I needed to have people call me, and the best way to do that is to get yourself online," says Gina.
She admits when searching for Las Vegas videographers, her company does come up on their site. But she argues it's buried under a long list of other companies.
She says, she felt she really never saw a return on the investment. And she was paying around $100 a month for the service. So after a year, Gina says the company called her, and she made the decision to cancel her deal with Dex.
"They say, do you want to renew? And I said absolutely not," saidGina.
She thought that was the end of it. The only problem was, the very next month in August 2011, Gina got another bill. And she kept getting bills, all the way through December of last year.
"I'm thinking why are you billing me, when I'm telling you no I don't want this. I've told you no," said Gina.
It turns out she was locked in a contract, because of this, an automatic renewal clause. The terms and conditions state you must quote: "notify us in writing at least 30 days before the anniversary of the start date of your services." Gina sent them a certified letter, but at that point it was too late. She had missed the window, meaning she was under contract until July, 2012.
"I never agreed to the renewal of my contract for the year 2012, verbal or written," said Gina.
She argues, her original agreement was all done over the phone, so she never signed any contract. But the company says since it was all done on the phone, her information was filled out on the contract for her, and they sent her this copy.
"In their agreement it does have an automatic renewal clause. But if it's not signed, it's irrelevant to me," says Gina.
After months of fighting, the bills have continued to mount, and now they've gone to collections. So when Gina got this latest bill for more than $1,000, she reached out to Contact 13. She wants to know, how can she be held to a contract she never signed.
We reached out to Dex, which actually says they understand Gina's concerns and are willing to work with her. They proposed a new amount of just over $500, and they would drop the rest of the charges. Gina says, no deal.
"I'm not a lawyer, but I look at it and say if I didn't sign this, how can they use this," said Gina.
So we asked Dex. The company admits Gina never physically signed the contract, agreeing to the renewal clause. But as part of the original agreement over the phone, Dex says Gina handed over her tax ID number, which acts as her legal consent.
"This form of authorization is accepted? Who accepts it? I don't accept it. I feel that what they are doing is wrong. I feel that I don't owe them money," says Gina.
So here's the Contact 13 bottom line: Gina says she feels she was unfairly trapped into her contract, and now she plans to take the case to small claims court.
So what can you learn from this? Even if you never sign a contract and just agree to something over the phone, make sure to read the fine print on any paperwork a company sends you.