Monday, July 21, 2008

Terms of Endearment

So we've all heard the saying "The big print Giveth and the small print Taketh away." Therefore, with that in mind we all know the rules: Read anything you sign thoroughly and completely. Alright I'm glad we're all on the same page, because in my line of work I come across plenty of customers that after their purchase claim "I didn't know what I was signing or I signed a blank contract." So please do not become one of these victims. But on a quick side note, if you're ever buying a house don't be like me and attempt to read in their entirety, the encyclopedia sized stack of papers you must sign at closing. Trust me, it's not worth the stares of anger and disgust the others in the room will give you. LoL. However, I was recently signing up for playstation online and noticed that I had to agree to their Terms and Conditions in order to continue playing. Well my mom happen to be present and as I clicked yes to accept the terms and conditions I said to her you know no one ever reads those. Well she laughed and said of course not it's a lot of legal jargon that really doesn't mean anything. So I thought about it and also said to her that I don't think I have ever read one either. She explained that she had read plenty before and found nothing useful or pertinent within them.

Well with that I started to think of all of the "Terms and Conditions" (T&C) that I have just so openly accepted with out reading. I know that I'm not the only one to do so either. I'm sure there are many more that do it as well, some of you on a daily basis. I mean they're every where, pretty much any website that you do any type of transactions on you will be prompted to accept the site's T&C. In fact, just today I paid my cell phone bill to T-Mobile and before I could finish processing my transaction I had to accept their T&C. Of course I like the rest of you don't have the time to sit and read all of their legal jargon so I accepted and got my confirmation # for the payment.

Well I decided to go ahead and write this blog after that transaction and in turn I actually copied the T&C from T-Mobile's website for all to read below.

Terms and Conditions
Terms and Conditions T-Mobile will provide you with a monthly statement of your account containing an itemized list of calls made during the billing period. You agree to review each statement you receive for any errors. If you inform T-Mobile that an error exists on your statement, T-Mobile will attempt to correct that error prior to your next statement to the extent permitted by law. T-Mobile shall bear no liability or responsibility for any losses of any kind that you may incur as a result of an erroneous statement or due to any delay in the actual date on which your account is debited. Each time you initiate a one-time payment transaction, you authorize T-Mobile to initiate an automated clearing house (ACH) debit transaction to your checking or savings account, or a charge to your check or credit card in the amount of the transaction. T-Mobile reserves the right to change these conditions at any time. Notice may be given on or with your bill or by other methods. You agree to be bound by any rules your financial institution requires for ACH debit transactions or credit card issuer requires for credit card charges. FOR MORE INFORMATION Call 1-800-937-8997

Do you agree to the TERMS AND CONDITIONS.

Although I probably should have read this before completing my payment, I of course did not. However, upon reading it now I realize although it is a lot of jargon there is something important in this agreement. "T-Mobile shall bear no liability or responsibility for any losses of any kind that you may incur as a result of an erroneous statement or due to any delay in the actual date on which your account is debited." I specifically authorized them to take the exact amount of my bill from my account. However, what if an error occurs? According to their T&C if there is an error I have until the next billing cycle to report it, and then they will "try" to fix it by the next billing cycle. However, they are not responsible for anything that happens as a result of their error. So for instance, if I only authorized $100 to be paid and they take $1000 on accident I must first catch the error and report it and then they will attempt to fix it before my next bill. But what if I had my rent due that same day? Well guess what? According to the T&C that's not T-Mobile's problem. As they said they're not responsible for any loss incurred as a result of an error on their part. So while they're trying to fix the error I'm getting a 5-Day eviction notice taped to my door. Now I know this example is extreme and I would hope that if an error such as this occurred that T-Mobile would attempt to reconcile the situation prior to it becoming a serious problem. But just in case they can't well we already know they have their bases covered legally speaking at least. Why? Because it's in their T&C.

Now I know that legally the T&C should make sense and that a reputable company such as T-Mobile would never use any trickery in their T&C. Nevertheless, I got to thinking just what if a company such as T-Mobile chose to put something in their T&C that you didn't necessarily agree with? Here's a question that is simply rhetorical but if it applies to you please feel free to answer. As a black man or woman what is the one thing that we as black people are usually leery of? No it's not the police, but that's at the top of the list too. LoL. But what I'm speaking of is somehow being put back into "Slavery."

So, what if T-Mobile (Probably Sprint in this example lol) decided that they were going to put something pertaining to slavery in their T&C? Well the thing is if you didn't read it and you clicked yes to accept there is a possibility that you may be now legally owned by T-Mobile. Now it may have been wrong of them to change the terms on you and you may think legally they have no right to make a change like this without letting you know up front. However, please look back at the T&C it does state "T-Mobile reserves the right to change these conditions at any time. Notice may be given on or with your bill or by other methods." So this means that they already let you know the terms were changing prior to you accepting the T&C. Most likely they sent it with your billing statement the previous month. But if you're like me you don't look at your bill or at least not too closely as long as it's the same amount I usually pay per month then no further investigating is needed. So most likely you didn't see nor read the new T&C agreement they sent with the bill. So, now what? Yep as low down of a trick it was, they now however own you and you're forced to work for T-Mobile answering their customer service calls. LoL.

Now I know that is an absolute extreme case and in today's times it's most likely never to happen right? Well that is at least not without Jesse Jackson, and Al Sharpton being on the CEO's front lawn with picket signs and a media circus. But if nothing else at least I got you thinking. Now keep in mind that big company's send thousands of jobs overseas because of the cheaper labor. So trust and believe that if they can get away with it and find a way to get people to somehow work for free they will. Hell, we don't know for sure but it may have been some shiesty T&C contract that got black people into slavery back in the day. They may have thought they were getting a sweet deal on some spices or something and the next thing you know they were on a boat headed through the middle passage. Well in conclusion all I can say is watch what you sign and or agree to even if it seems okay or like the same old thing you're used to accepting. But I'm sure just like me even after reading this blog you'll still accept the next T&C agreement you see online with no regards. So, I guess I'll see some of you all on the next boat. LoL.

(Please keep in mind as I stated I am a black man, I had to clarify that again I don't want anyone taking offense to the references of slavery in this blog. Don't worry I'm still waiting on my 40 Acres and a Mule as well. LoL)


No comments: