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That’s Exactly How Contracts Work, Part 2

, , | Right | November 12, 2020

I work as a tech and international specialist for a major US cell phone company. If you’ve never worked call center jobs but have worked retail, the best way to explain the experience is to imagine that every caller hates your guts. Nobody calls in with a warm welcome and good times. You have to earn that with rapport built through the call.

Caller: “What do you mean, I don’t own my phone?! I was told I was buying it!”

Me: “I’m sorry for the miscommunication, sir, but you leased the phone. You’re essentially renting it from [Company]. You had an eighteen-month term. It’s been twenty-six months.”

Caller: “So I own the phone.”

Me: “Again, sorry, but no. The phone is month-to-month until you either buy out the rest of the lease or return the device.”

Caller: “I’m not doing either of those.”

Me: “So you’re keeping it month-to-month?”

Caller: “No! I want to end this stupid lease. I’M NOT PAYING ANOTHER CENT FOR THE PHONE, AND I’M KEEPING IT!”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, those are your options.”

Caller: “I didn’t agree to them!”

Me: “Really?”

Caller: *Proudly* “No!”

Me: “Sir, it’s on the first page of the contract that you signed.”

Caller: “I didn’t read that! Who reads that?”

Me: “Sir, may I be frank?”

Caller: “I guess?”

Me: “You should always read your contracts. They are legally binding agreements.”

Caller: “Not if you don’t read them!”

Me: “Ex… excuse me?”

Caller: “If you don’t read the contract, it invalidates it. How can I agree if I didn’t read it?”

Me: “Why… do you say that?”

Caller: “Says on the end of all contracts that by signing you’ve read and agreed to the conditions. But I didn’t read, and I didn’t agree. So when I sign, the contract is invalid.”

Me: “Cool, cool. I think I understand your logic, but, uh… that’s still not how this works. You signed the contract, which is the certification that you agree. If you didn’t agree, you don’t sign the contract, and you don’t get the device. If you didn’t read it, that’s your loss. But you are legally bound to this contract. If you want out of it, that’s fine. You just have to buy out the lease or return the device.”

Caller: “No, I’m going to sue you! This is my device!”

Me: “If you’d like to, sir, that’s your prerogative. But as a professional courtesy, I’d like to inform you of this. In our terms and conditions, you cannot file a lawsuit against us in regards to our services or your contracts. If you did, you’d likely receive a countersuit for doing so.”

Caller: *Pause* “Is that something I signed?”

Me: “Yes, didn’t read that?”

The caller is getting audibly more deflated.

Caller: “No… how much is it to buy out the phone?”

Me: “Buying out the lease is… only twenty-five dollars after fair market value.”

Caller: *Shocked* “What?! Why didn’t you tell me it was so low?!”

Me: “I was trying, sir.”

Caller: “Oh… yeah, I’ll buy it out.”

Me: “Fantastic. Oh, and I’d like to tell you about our installment billing option, if you don’t like leases…”

That’s Exactly How Contracts Work

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