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Scammed Consumer Fraud

Discussion in 'Consumer Fraud & Scams' started by angry, Dec 3, 2013.

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  1. angry

    angry Law Topic Starter New Member

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    5 years ago we received a security system from a security company. We were told by the man selling the system that it was on a lease to own type of system and at the end of our contract we would keep the equipment. The equipment never worked well, but we were unable to ever get anyone to come fix it for us. It did work, just not the way we wanted it to. We were not happy with the service, but assuming it was just a bad company, but at least we have a security system, we did not complain to much.
    Our lease term is now up. We were told that we do not in fact own the equipment, and on further review of our contract, it does say in very small print on the back of a paper at the very bottom, that at the end of the lease we must return the equipment or pay the fair market value.
    The leasing company, seperate from the security company. sent us a letter stating that we needed to continue the lease, return the equipment or pay $350 to keep it. I first called in August, and stated that we did not want to continue the lease, or keep the equipment, that I wanted to return it, but since it was installed and wired into the wall that I needed someone to uninstall it. The man on the phone tried to talk me into renewing the lease, I declined and stated that I have not been happy with the service to that point and I plan to take it somewhere else. He yelled at me saying, Good luck finding a better company then!' and hung up on me.
    My husband paid the monthly fee until he was able to find an alternative system, but in November his credit card was stolen by someone in florida and he changed his card number. leasing company called again today to inform us that they still had his old card number (we just got the new card and hadn't called them yet, but also intended to end our monthly agreement with them this month anyway)
    I told them again that I wanted to send the equipment back, that I needed some one to come and uninstall it, seeing as it is wired into the house. They said I would have to call the contractor I bought it from. I was finally able to contact the security company to find out that they had gone out of business, and a new security company bought them out and 'forgot' to contact us to renew our service with the new company, 19 months ago! so for 19 months we didnt even have security, but were paying for it. good thing we didnt need it. After a quick google search, I discovered that this has happened to a lot of people, their house or business broken into and the system did not work.
    I called the new company, I believe it is still owned by the same man but I cant confirm that. I talked to the owner, who did not give me his name, and he told me that he would charge me $1000 to uninstall the equipment, but if I wanted to uninstall it myself it wasnt actually hooked up to anything anyway, there is nothing that I could possibly break on it, so dont worry about doing it.
    I called the leasing company back to ask for the address to send it to, and she said she would have to find out, that she had to e-mail the other department to get an address for me to send it to, but urged me to buy out the equipment, saying that often equipment that gets sent back gets marked as unidentified, and I would be charged for the equipment in that case anyway. I declined and she then said that unless we got it to them within 15 days, and paid up our account within 15 days, that we would continue to be charged the monthly fee. The payoff amount she gave me was waaayy higher than what we owe, turns out when our card did not work, they ran it 3 times as if it would work if they just kept doing it, and charged us $20 for each time they tried to run it. I am not sure what else was added into that total, they are not very clear on that. I am currently in the process of making sure I can account for every penny.
    I am still waiting to receive a call with the address to send it to. I would not be surprised if it takes them 15 days or more to get that address to me. What options to I have here? Can I sue the owner of either the first company or the one that bought them out for not notifying me that I didn't even have security service? Is it legal for them to charge me so much just to send the equipment back to them? I admit I was duped, but the contract, while deceiving covers everything. It even says that if I want to sue them I have to go to boston mass to do so. is that a legal clause to put in a contract? What can I do now to keep this from getting worse?
     
  2. Proserpina

    Proserpina Moderator

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    You can't sue for the lack of notification - if only because you have no damages.

    Contracts determining where you can file, and/or an arbitration clause, are very very common and not illegal in the slightest.

    I do have a feeling though that they're going to say "They signed - not our fault if they didn't read the small print".
     
  3. Betty3

    Betty3 Super Moderator

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    Contracts generally can be enforced - always read your contract completely including the small print.
     
  4. angry

    angry Law Topic Starter New Member

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    No, I am so thankful that we didnt have damages, other than the fact that we were paying for a system that was nothing more than decoration. It could have turned out very badly if something happened. That in itself cant possibly be legal. If there were a break in or a robbery, I would hate to think what could have happened if we thought the system was working and it did nothing.
    I am aware that I signed a crappy contract and Im stuck with it I guess. What should I do if they continue to dodge my request of an address to send the equipment to? Right now it seems my only option is to return the equipment as quickly as possible, but that hinges on them sending me an address. is there any recourse what so ever? or would I be off the hook for the equipment if I just send it to the office that I send the check to, even though she said not to?

    However there is a bigger issue with this company. Just doing some quick research shows more complaints than I can read against this same leasing company. seems they use a company as a contractor to lease equipment to a business. the equipment often doesnt work. Then the contractor disapears, or 'goes out of business'. In my case, they went out of business, then opened the same type business with a different name, and bought out the old business. Same people run it. Then when you try to say, my contractor is no longer going to service this item, or I no longer have security, the leasing company doesnt care, they still have you with a very tight contract that you can not get out of no matter what. You are stuck paying for your item for the length of the contract, no matter what. If this happened once it would be one thing, but this happens with them over and over with different contractors. It seems to be the way they do business.
     
  5. Proserpina

    Proserpina Moderator

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    I get where you're coming from, but it's moot - there was no break in, no robbery. The court just isn't going to work with "what if"s.

    Let's see if we can help you further.

    (I don't believe it's against the rules to ask and receive a response...sooo..)

    Would you mind sharing the name of this company? I'm genuinely curious as to their terms of conditions.
     
  6. angry

    angry Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I cant see how to send it as a private message. The leasing company is time payment corp.
     
  7. fletcherrhoden

    fletcherrhoden Banned

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    You should bring this story to an investigative reporter and have them do an expose. You won't get any money back, but if the investigation is successful it will cripple their ability to do this to other parties. A friend of mine did this to none other than the Better Business Bureau and wound up shutting the whole LA office! What this company did to you may be strictly legal, but it is surely unethical.
     
  8. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    don't necropost
    don't necropost
    don't necropost
    don't necropost
    don't necropost
     

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