People Share Their ‘Good Thing I Read The Contract’ Moments
You’ve been searching for months for that amazing apartment in the city. When you spot it, you automatically purchase it so it won’t fall into another person’s hands. You’re celebrating your new residence when you realize the contract. Apparently, the contract states that your landlord can come over once a week to throw a toga party! If that’s not enough, the high school marching band is allowed to practice there at nights!
Being blindsided by the fine print in contracts isn’t anything new. For decades, many people have found themselves on the receiving end of a horrific contract that took more than they expected.
We talked to some people about certain agreements that nearly spelled disaster for them. Thankfully, no one walked away with less money in their wallet or with the wrong item. They just left with a stronger understanding of how contracts work. After reading this, you’ll also think twice before crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s.
#35 Wool Over Your Eyes
Turned a job down because they told me I was getting a particular salary, but on reading the employment contract it stated that the salary they promised was the maximum I’d earn. But I’d start off earning about £5,000 less and work up to it through bi-annually salary reviews. So it would take a number of years.
They would also be deducting the cost of the training they promised upon starting employment from my first few paychecks.
I noped right out of it.
#34 Power In Money
A solar panel company.
Wait. So, if my panels don’t produce enough power for my needs, I have to pay the electric company. But if my panels produce more power than I use, I have to pay you for some reason?
Basically, I had to use exactly the amount of power produced or somebody would charge me extra.
#33 My, That’s An Expensive Scuff Mark
The landlord was trying to steal my and my roommates’ deposit ($1200) for extremely minor stuff like a scuff where a table was against the wall.
Started looking at our contract, and there were multiple violations of our municipal landlord-tenant laws that called for two times the monthly rent (also $1200, so $2400 per violation).
We got our deposit back.
#32 Built For Speed
My husband was buying a car from one of those “buy here, pay here” lots due to some credit challenges and falling in love with a car they had. I was dead set against it but I wasn’t going to be making the payments so I didn’t fight too hard. Until the contract revealed it was a lease, not a loan, and it had a salvage title.
#31 Kick Out The Jams
When my husband and I were moving for work and looking for a place two hours away from where we lived, we found these beautiful condos for rent. The price was great for what it was. When we got the contract and read through it, it was a month-to-month because the Home-Owners Association wanted to recoup the unpaid fees from the previous owners of the condo. The writing on the contract was so small but it basically said they could kick us out at any time. Did not sign that contract.
#30 Out Beyond The Window
The company I previously worked for had a fight with its employees, and as an aftermath, we got a piece of paper to “just quickly sign, nothing special”. We read it through and there were listed stuff like “if the employee talks about the company to a third party during working there or during 10 years after quitting, the employee is given a $10,000 fine” and “the employee is not allowed to work for a similar company for five years after quitting”.
It was a window installing company. I have no idea what secrets in that field could be worth $10,000. We showed the contract to a union lawyer and he promptly told us not to sign such nonsense. We didn’t, and the contract was never mentioned again.
#29 Let’s Get Physical
Had a three-day cancellation policy with a gym membership. Faxed a cancellation notice to them, they said they never got it. I took the cancellation notice, made two copies, and taped it into a continuous loop in my fax machine. Sent that fax the same day. It threw all of their paper out into the floor. They called and asked what I was doing. I guess they got that fax, right?
#28 Mr. Fix It
I was set to take a medical equipment repair job in Austin and they sent me the paperwork. It stated that if I stopped working for them I couldn’t work for a “competing company” within 250 miles of the following cities: Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Oklahoma City, New Orleans and Santa Fe.
AND I would have to tell them who and where I got my next job.
Basically, if I stopped working for them I would have to move two states away from Texas to be able to do my job. I can only imagine how horribly they’d treat me if I’d accepted the job.
#27 Home Sweet Home
A few years ago, I was looking to buy a house. Found it and beat the owners down due to location, etc. All was going smoothly till my solicitor phones and asks if I am cool with the current owners selling half the garden two years before. He said to see how it plays out and asked for proof of sale, transfer deeds, etc. Nope could not produce any of those so I was right out of there.
Turned out they were not happy about the price they sold it for, so they decided to downsize the garden and upsize their profit.
#26 Bait And Switch
I had an interview for a job working with a teenage population who deal with depressive disorders, depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. In the interview, it came out that I was a caregiver for my grandmother who had had a stroke. The interviewer implied that I should work with adults with intelligence disorders, downs, severe autism, etc. I said point blank, no, I would not want to do that. I was still grieving my grandmother and I while I could do things for her I am not mentally equipped to, for lack of better terms, wipe adult behinds. My grandmother was still able to take care of washing and that stuff. The interviewer pushed the mater for too long. When I got offered the job I read it front to back and while the title and first page were incredibly vague and nice sounding, the third page stated this was an offer to work with the adult population with autism. No thank you.
#25 Eye Of The Storm
Had a hail storm knock out my entire crop of apples in 2014. The adjuster did the grading and the math and had determined there was not sufficient damage to warrant a claim. I looked up the definitions of what constitutes specific damage in my contract (policy) and was able to contact his authority figure and trigger a $275,000 payout.
Thank God for that. It saved my farm.
#24 One Way Hotel
When my friend and I turned up to our hotel in Portugal the receptionist said we had to pay an addition €250 deposit and sign a behavioral agreement because we were 21 years old. This deposit is literally not mentioned anywhere and I knew my contract inside out and wasn’t going to pay it. Then we spotted on their paperwork explaining why they wanted this deposit we saw that it specified that it was only for groups over four that had two rooms. When we pointed that out the receptionist said “oh well that’s wrong”. Wrong or not we didn’t pay it but did sign the behavioral agreement. Wouldn’t go back to that hotel was super anal about everything and hated young people, but like it was on the strip so that would have been most of its customers like.
#23 Are Those Vitamins Magic Or Something?
My friend asked me to order her some vitamins online. They were “free” and you just had to pay £4.50 for delivery. I was filling in the form to order them when I got distracted by something and closed the browser. Ten minutes later I got a call from a random number on my phone. I didn’t answer it but decided to Google it, the number was flagged as part of a scam that if you completed the order you were subscribing to their service and £80 would be taken out of your account every month. Apparently, it was near impossible to cancel too as it was some random company in Portugal. When I went back on the website to find the terms and conditions it was a tiny link at the bottom that took you onto another page altogether. Phew.
#22 Formula None
I almost bought what I thought was a year’s subscription to Formula 1’s F1 TV, to watch the races live. But then when I filled out all the forms and subscriptions and was almost ready to pay, I noticed “F1 TV” in my country is not for actually watching the races live, just for live timing data and replays. Like I’d pay 30 Euros just to watch numbers change live on a screen every other Sunday; no thanks.
#21 A Rotating Door
I got a job offer that seemed pretty good, but after having my step-father look over the contract, there was some veiled stuff in there which I had to confirm:
It was an IT job where I had to do jobs over the entire country and had to cover my own expenses for travelling and equipment, then ask for refunds for the expenses from the company, and the workhours was not set, so I could easily go one-to-two months without pay before getting three weeks of constant work, then more long periods of downtime.
It was an incredibly terrible job overall, and I heard that they had to recruit more people lately, so I assume that people who took the job quit and they had to get more replacements.
#20 An Accidental Swap
I bought a car recently. Got all signed and walked out to the car and was looking through the contract in the parking lot (I had bought three cars from the same guy in the last year, so I trust him by now) and noticed it said my new blue car was white. Checked the VIN, and it didn’t match my car. They gave me temp plates for the wrong car, too!
I pointed it out and they fixed it and gave me $400 for the trouble. Would have been REALLY hard to convince a cop my plates weren’t stolen if I hadn’t caught the error.
#19 My Camera Never Lies
I recently worked as a photographer for a university event. Within the original contract was a clause that basically said I gave up all rights to my “intellectual property” created during the course of my duties. Obviously, I didn’t sign that one. I talked to the person who I’d been in contact with and who’d check on it. They eventually said they ’d change it and a couple days later I got an updated contact with an updated clause.
Not super exciting but I was definitely glad I gave that contract a reading.
#18 Two Million Dollar Disaster
As a translator, I usually work through agencies. It means I don’t have to pay for very expensive liability insurance and they are supposed to have a proofreader check things out before they send the job on. In the last contract, they said I’d be liable for up to $2 million if a client complained. I scratched out the paragraph and told them I didn’t agree. They were fine with it. They’ve also started hiring proofreaders.
People, if you don’t want to agree with a particular part of a contract, edit it and tell whoever is making you sign the contract. You may be pleasantly surprised.
#17 That Ain’t My Truck
I recently bought a used truck and they tried to offer me a dealer warranty. The warranty tried to play it off like they’d cover any mechanical expenses. Turns out it didn’t cover anything mechanical at all, nothing in the drive train, wheels, suspension, etc. To be honest, I have no idea what it would have covered.
#16 Don’t Stop The Music
Being 16, I think it’s easier for me to be influenced and taken advantage of by people who know more than me. I was signing with a manager for my music, and him and his lawyer spent about two months on a draft. The rates were insanely good. Too good to be true for what I was looking for and had discussed. I guess the dishonesty is why?
One thing that I’m so glad I read over on it— all PERSONAL and commercial work would be their property. Anything I didn’t want attached? Too bad. I didn’t have a say.
It was dishonest. Manager dude tried to get me to sign it, saying it didnt mean what I think it meant. It did.
Nope out of there.
#15 Same Difference
In my town, there is a medical university. I wanted to study medicine so I passed the chemistry and biology exams. I was accepted.
Together with my mother, I went to register for the medical specialty. We got into a room to pay the semestrial fee. There was a woman who asked us what I was going to study. Mom and I both said Medicine. We paid the fee. Then she gave us some sort of a document to sign that I was going to study that certain specialty.
I signed it and gave it to my mother to check for any details. She saw that instead of Medicine it was written Pharmacy. We managed to fix that issue. I was quite worried.
#14 Ready Player One
Trying to get funding for a video game I was trying to make a while ago and an agent was recommended to us to help us get funding.
The agent’s contract did not guarantee in any way that he would get us funding. But it did guarantee him 7% of our company’s profits (not just game profits) forever. Forever.
So once the contract was signed he could technically do absolutely nothing and get 7% of our company forever.
We did not sign.
#13 Put Up Your Guard
I was about to sign up for the National Guard and they tried to make me sign on as an ammo specialist instead of my promised job of chaplain assistant (now religious affairs specialist). I told the interviewer that wasn’t the job I wanted, I also told my recruiter (who was in the room at the time) and they both said: “Yeah you can’t have that job cause oops we didn’t see the requirements for it and you don’t have the credentials.”
I thanked them for their time and walked out.
Could’ve been wasting my time right now counting bullets and hating myself for signing a six year contract with Uncle Sam if I didn’t pay attention.
#12 All Mixed Up
I was signing a lease in an area that is heavily populated by college kids. Another dude had toured a few apartments at the same time that I did. He signed the lease without reading it through. I took my time and I could tell the leasing agent was getting nervous. They wanted us to agree to a September 4th move-in date, giving the notice to renew the lease in December, and the lease would end August 29th. I asked the dude if he had noticed that and he got really upset. Bullet dodged.
#11 Laughing To The Bank
This guy tried to hire me as a “personal buyer” where I had to maintain a bank account in my own name. He would transfer money into an account, tell me what to buy and I’d buy it.
It was mostly computer equipment but it sounded shady.
#10 Quarter In The Jukebox
In the offer letter for my last job, it stated that my hourly wage would be $11.25 per hour.
Minimum wage in my state is $11.50.
I brought to their attention and they fixed it right away, but part of me wonders what would’ve happened if I didn’t catch that until much later.
#9 Cancelled Forever
I signed up for a gym membership on a whim and got sketched out when they initially charged me $250 instead of only the $90 for the month. I went home and legit didn’t sleep because I was so mad I went through with it. I called and asked the next day to see if I could cancel and almost everyone I spoke to said either no it was impossible or only if I moved to an area that didn’t have the gym. I checked the contract and you could cancel within the first two weeks and I was only three days into the contract. You bet I canceled so fast.
#8 Hot Spot Junkie
At my high school, they set up wifi for us to use. However, in the terms of service, it said that by signing in to the network, the school had permission to search the phone and look at its contents. I did not sign in and have not to this day.
#7 An Unwanted Addition
We were in the process of selling our business. My wife’s car was registered under business. We sat down with our lawyer to discuss what is included in the sale (equipment, supplies, etc..) and we clearly told him the car is not included in the sale. Well guess what we receive the typed up contract from our lawyer and he had added the car along with other things. Thank God we read it and had it removed before signing it and sending to buyer’s lawyer.
#6 100 Ways To Lie
Went to buy a new phone for $200, the employee told me they were closing soon and asked if I could come back the next day to sign the paperwork.
The $200 mysteriously changed to $300 while the document was sitting in a desk overnight. Called them out on it and got it from somewhere else.
#5 Senses Working Overtime
Recently, I started a new job and the employment agreement said I wasn’t eligible for overtime, but it was something I 100% confirmed I was eligible for, and it was in my job offer letter. I pointed it out on the spot and HR crossed it out and initialed it.
She claimed she must’ve grabbed the wrong agreement by mistake. I hope there wasn’t anything else in the agreement that didn’t pertain to me.
It did have a forced arbitration clause that I’m still unhappy about but this job is just a stepping stone for me.
#4 Never Underestimate The Youth
Joined the Army National Guard right out of high school and was eligible for a $20,000 bonus lump sum for the job I picked, as it was stated in my contract. Recruiter told me that wasn’t the case, I would receive the first half after completing all initial entry training, and the other after three years of service.
I double checked and verified and brought the sum to him. To his surprise, he didn’t believe anyone (an 18 year- old) would read their contract.
#3 Radio Silence
Had a non-compete in a radio contract that said I would have to sit out 90 days if I left for any reason. Wouldn’t sign it until it was revised to be non-compete only if I quit. When they asked why I told them if I was so bad that they fired me, wouldn’t it be to their advantage to have me work for their competition? They had no answer for that.
#2 Don’t Be A Herb
Herbalife. I didn’t look at the contract because there wasn’t one. As soon as the phone interview got to “now canvassing is not the easiest part but if you have others in your downline, that helps”. I hung up. They desperately called back for two days until I finally told them off.
#1 Clause For Concern
I’m a graphic designer working for a company that does business consulting. I was reading my contract and realized they had a very vaguely phrased non-compete clause that, if pursued, could have basically been applied to any graphic design job because it was phrased for the sales department and didn’t directly mention the industry. I brought this up with our HR guy and he gave me a copy that didn’t have the clause in there.