Do contracts tie you in "nots"? Impartial advice for all business leaders.
Too many companies supplying us services at home or in business want to tie us to them for a long time.
Worse, each company has different rules about the contract length, renewal and, sometimes, different rules for different products.
For example - business energy companies often tie companies to them for 2 years. Certain telephone companies tie their customers up for 3, 4 or 5 years. Ideally they want you not to pay attention to the renewal notices - they say "you do not have to do anything......" And that way they can roll over you, sorry, i meant roll you over, into a new contract.
My company is different - we have very few contracts, relying instead on great customer service, an easy to read single bill and superb benefits to encourage loyalty. However, we may not be the cheapest and a contract may be a good way of getting a cheap rate.
So, what must you do to protect yourselves?
Check each piece of paperwork you have that relate to (for example), gas, electricity, telephone, mobile phone, appliance insurance.
Read the documents carefully.
Is there a minimum period you have to stay with them?
Is there a set time at which you can tell them you wish to change supplier? The periods vary and might be 28, or 90 days. You may have a set period within which to express your desire to end the contract, not before one date, and not after another only 2 weeks later. You may not be sure you wish to end it, you may just want to say you are looking around.
Whatever you say to your supplier, confirm it in writing, and keep a copy.
The most important thing is to write down are the dates by which you must inform your supplier of your (potential) desire to leave their company. Personally i have to write the dates on my calendar and set alarms on my mobile phone - I need to set the alarm NOW, i won't remember to check in 9 months or 2 years and 9 months.
Record the contract end date too, so that if you decide to change, you can tell your new supplier when the change can take place.
Many companies out there will offer you a cheaper price if you "threaten" to leave them - which can be good for your purse. If they do this, know that someone else, somewhere, will be paying more than you, because you got a discount.
And that is another thing we (the Utility Warehouse Discount Club) won't do. Everyone pays the same for the same services. And even if our "small print" is small, the heading "Small Print" is written large so you can't miss it.
So, keep your contracts caged, and don't let them tie you in 'not's!
www,telecomplus.org.uk/Evelyn if you would like to see how we do things.