There's a game afoot… Everyone is a player…
The object of the game is to deliver services or products for a profit if you're a corporation or business; and, to get products or services at a fair rate of exchange if you're a consumer. The transactions are based on whatever the seller is willing to sell for and the buyer is willing to buy for. There is no agency to monitor whether the initial agreements are fair. And, there's no agency to make sure that agreements will be completed in accordance with the initial agreements of the players.
1. Send bills – even bogus bills for non-existent services.
2. Expect, even demand, payment whether or not services/goods are delivered.
3. Change the terms of agreements – adjust pricing, change contract dates, and otherwise tinker with customer contracts at any time for any reason.
4. Buyer beware is a safety net that will protect business interests in the event of a dispute.
Consumers who want to avoid scams are encouraged to: Check, and double check all contracts.
- how long is the contract? Are you SURE it's a one year contract – and not a three year contract?
- Is there a clause that says that the contract automatically renews unless you specifically write to stop the contract 60 days before it's termination?
- Are the terms of the contract available to you BEFORE you pay – or are they in a sealed package that, once opened, voids any warranties?
- Does any wording in the transaction allow the business to change its terms or rates without your previous knowledge and approval?
- Do you have any recourse if the service or the product you're buying is deficient?
HOW TO WIN: Watch those bills! Read the small print and the backs of every piece of paper related to your transaction…(even get out your magnifying glass to do it). Check the page numbers to be sure that no pages are "missing". Look especially for any hidden charges, open-ended amounts and weasel words. If the transaction appears to be acceptable — you're getting value for value — don't stop there!!! Roll the dice, a time or two…move forward cautiously…then stop and check the original terms of sale. What has changed? Has the price increased? Is the contract longer than you understood? Is the service or product you purchased broken beyond repair with no way to repair or replace it? Are you still getting what you're paying for?
OTOH.. do you have a bill for something you don't recall purchasing? Or maybe there's an added fee that you don't recognize? Gulp….you've won the booby prize. Go back to Jail, don't pass Go don't collect $200. But rest assured that you'll have lots of company with you.
This is one game where everyone is a player. You don't have much choice – although you don't have to purchase anything if you don't want to…and you certainly don't have to lose. But, to arrive safely at the end of the game, you do need to be eternally vigilant. The rules of this game change moment by moment. No one is going to tell you what those rules are. It's up to you to find out what the rules are at any given moment and to take whatever action you can to protect your own interests.