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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71030
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I signed a sales contract in January for 1 year ( online by

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I signed a sales contract in January for 1 year ( online by digital signature) after a telephone conversation with a rep who promised (verbally ) to promote my service and provide advertising space online for one year - with hindsight his sales claims seem ridicules. The written contract itself only promises the advertising space which is being fulfilled. I received the contract by post and have just noticed that it will auto renew unless I cancelled within 21days of receipt of contract - this seems grossly unfair to me ( I would expect to be able to cancel a few weeks b4 contract expired). If it wasn't for the reps sales claims I would not have signed the contract in the first place. In the contract I agreed to pay the fee by 4 monthly instalments - I have made 2 payments. Can I break the contract?

Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

Did you agree any rights of cancellation?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I briefly viewed the contract online b4 signing. The renewal stipulation wld have been there to see but I didn't look to closely as I didn't expect such a clause.
It states ' there is no right to cancel this agreement' .
Surely from my point of view this is unfair?
Well, possibly but thats not a ground to cancel.

If the essence of this is that you have agreed a bad deal because you didn't read it properly then I'm afraid that is not a misfortune you can pass onto your contractual partner.

Ultimately, its for every person to read what they sign. If you sign a document, even digitally, the law presumes that you are aware of and consent to all of its terms.

You could try to argue that the renewal is unfair within the meaning of the Unfair Terms and Contracts Act and so that particular clause is void. That might have merit. Automatic renewal dates have been criticised anyway and such an immediate requirement could be challenged. Its one of those things that could go either way. Generally speaking courts do expect business customers to be more sophisticated than consumers and the contrary argument is to say that there is an advantage in being able to cancel early when the contract is fresh in your mind. I think overall though, on that particular point, the court would probably find in your favour.

That doesn't do anything about the yearly contract though and it would seem you are locked into that.

If you do cancel unlawfully though they only have a lost profits claim which will be nothing like the sum due under the contract. They may not sue anyway. Often they do not.

I'm sorry this isn't the answer you wanted but it is the position that you face and I have a duty to inform you truthfully.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.

Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Ok - thanks. I certainly don't want to renew the contract so what would I do to challenge the renewal? I'm assuming if I do nothing I will be locked in for a further yr and they cld possibly sue for not paying for that year.

Personally I doubt they would sue given the nature of their business but don't want to take the chance.
In legal theory you could.

You cannot lawfully cancel so all you can do is give ostensible notice in writing and send it recorded delivery so they cannot deny receiving it.

Then just don't pay after the renewal date. They will scream fire and brimstone but may well not sue. Its often not cost effective to sue and also they could lose on that particular point because of UCTA. It is the type of term that a Court would probably say should be fairly prominent in the contract and I bet it is not.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thanks - your advice has been clear and concise.
No problem and all the best.

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