And now that the US Supreme Court, Inc., has followed its pro-corporate and anti-consumer, anti-real-people bias to its illogical yet perfectly consistent conclusion (in deciding recently that consumers can't band together to hold abusive companies accountable in collective arbitration), it's more important than ever that you, before you sign ANY contract with ANY company, take the time to understand (a) what you are buying; (b) what you are supposed to pay; (c) and what constitutional rights you are being forced to give up and what protections you are waiving so that the companies can abuse you at will without any fear of having to appear in front of a jury of real people and answer for their conduct.
To that end, if you are considering getting or renewing a contract for cell phone, cable or satellite TV, or Internet service, you should know about CUBConnects.org, a free service provided by Citizens Utility Board of Oregon (CUB).
The companies in this field are some of the worst bad actors imaginable, regularly winning polls of "Worst Company in the World." They are fantastically profitable, providing a "service" with a marginal cost approaching zero, and yet they spend virtually nothing on training customer service representatives (CSRs) and they give them no authority to actually solve the problems that their absurdly complex rate tables and overlapping promotions and schemes create. Worst of all, they use outrageous early cancellation fees as a club to keep you from telling them to stick their "service" in their ear when you realize how the bills you are getting have nothing to do with what you were promised on the phone or on your doorstep.
1) Do not sign up with ANY of these companies over the phone or at your door.
2) Go to an in-store kiosk or a separate store to speak with a sales person.
3) GET A WRITTEN OFFER from them -- what you are buying and how much it will cost.
4) DO NOT SIGN IT until you take it home and READ IT with a highlighter in hand. Highlight any penalties or early cancellation provisions that they've hidden in there (such as mandatory arbitration provisions). Notice how the contract is all about letting them get away with anything, while limiting your ability to hold them accountable.
5) IGNORE them when they tell you that the offer is "only good today" -- whatever they're pushing, if they don't want you to read their offer and compare it to other choices, you don't want it.
6) Go to CUBConnects.org and compare you offer with the others out there, and read the blog and its warnings.
7) If you want me to look over their offer with you, feel free to give me a call and make an appointment; for $35 or less, I'll look over their offer, point out any red flags, and help you consider your options.