Reading the Fine Print and How Not to Sell Your Immortal Soul

Reading the Fine Print and How Not to Sell Your Immortal Soul

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Date: December 18, 2020Author: Denbeaux & Denbeaux

The Retail Installment Sales Act and How Not to Sell Your Immortal Soul

A video gaming company in England included within its fine print that anyone who agrees to the terms and conditions of the purchase has sold their immortal soul to the gaming company:

Now, obviously this was a joke, but it served its purpose also of pointing out how many people do not read the fine print – literally the fine print – on the contracts that they sign.

“So Attorney Denbeaux, you are here talking about how important it is to read all the contracts. Do you?
Ummm … No?”

The point I am making is that I commit the same mistakes as everyone else. It’s pretty difficult and time consuming to read the fine print, and when you are dealing with an internet-based company, or a gazillion dollar bank, its pretty hard to object to any of the terms. There is no negotiation possible and no human to actually speak with about the objection to the terms.


The Fine Print Lesson

I think, though, that this story should be taken to heart by anyone who goes to finance a consumer good. Like a car. Or a sofa. Or a kitchen appliance.

Those contracts are often with smaller players in the industry. This is especially true of the auto industry.

While you are not going to be selling your immortal soul to a used car lot, you might – as what happened to a woman whose daughter failed to read the fine print – end up with a car that has an automatic shut off device in the vehicle so that dealership can shut the car off with the click of a mouse button if the borrower misses a payment …
… or the seller makes a mistake and shuts off the wrong vehicle … while you are driving at 70 miles per hour on the turnpike.

That has happened.

Point is, when financing a consumer good the transaction is governed by the Retail Installment Sales Act. When you are ready to sign, read the entire document. Object to what you refuse to agree to be a part of the contract.

That, and send the contract to an attorney to review it as soon as you leave – or, better yet, before you sign it.

Don’t get bullied into selling your soul … or letting some dealership install a kill switch into the car you need to drive to get your kids to school and you to work.


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