Misled By Salesman - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Misled By Salesman

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When you buy something, you often have to sign some paperwork. Whether you are customer buying a car or a business owner getting a piece of merchandise. And what's in that sometimes lengthy contract can be troubling, which is why one woman called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

Candice Giraldo: "This is one of our top sellers why because it is whole it grabs your back."

Candice is in the 'make you look better' business.

Candice Giraldo: "We try to offer a lot of different products that makes our customers feel good about themselves."

Candice and her mother opened Lucy's Fajas to provide sexy girdles for women, and even men.

Candice Giraldo: "Men also get surgery done. Men are losing weight their getting handsome, just as we women are getting beautiful."

To run a successful business like Lucy's, you need to accept credit cards, meaning a business needs to pay a company to process those transactions.

Candice Giraldo: "And he promised us about everything. Down to the machine is free as long as you have the service with us."

But after the credit card machine was delivered, Candice saw the true costs.

Candice Giraldo: "We noticed month by month there were a lot of different fees that were being charged that we were not told about."

After a year of paying the fees averaging about $250 a month, Candice had enough.

Candice Giraldo: "Because it was getting expensive, so I found another company. It's almost the same company but we lowered our rates and it's more direct with us."

Candice dropped the old credit card processing firm, but they didn't go quietly.

Candice Giraldo: "And the next day when I'm doing my online banking, I noticed they withdrew $900 from my account."

When Candice called them they told her the $900 was the fee for canceling the contract. Candice replied, 'What contract?'

Candice Giraldo: "I said no, I never got a copy. I got one piece of paper and I took it to him."

Candice doesn't have a contract and certainly doesn't remember being told there was a $900 fee if she dropped the company.

Candice Giraldo: "Devastating. I was devastated. For some people that might not be a lot, for me it is. I was devastated and said I can't believe this happened to me."

Well Howard, you pay a company $250 a month. A couple of thousand a year, and then they charge you $900 more if you cancel with them. Legal or illegal?

Howard Finkelstein: "It depends on the contract. And I can tell you from personal experience and I am a lawyer, that these multipage contracts, are often written by other lawyers in confusing, and convoluted language. It's done to protect them, not you. But once you sign it whether you've read it and understand it, you are bound by the terms."

We spoke to the credit card processing company. They told us that they sent Candice a copy of the contract when she hired them.Candice says she never got it. They sent it again, and here is the clause that says 'early termination fee $900 dollars.'

Candice says she does not remember reading that, but says the initials do look like her handwriting.

Howard Finkelstein: "Candice did what many of us have done. She signed a document after being painted a rosy picture by the sales person. And beware, most contracts say, the company is not bound by what their salesperson says verbally. So read these things so they don't come back to sting you in the wallet or purse."

Candice had to pay the $900, but now she gets to do something she enjoys, sell some products to recover that $900 dollars.

Candice Giraldo:: "This is our latest product.These are Colombian butt lifting jeans. We have all sizes, all styles, and all colors. What they do is they enhance the derriere."

A contract to buy a phone, a car, a house is long. Who wants to read it? The salesperson will tell you, its standard, no big deal. It is a big deal. So take your time, take it home, read it. If you don't understand something, contact us. Howard understands the law. Ok, well at least he has a law degree.

Contracted a problem you want to break away from? Need to figure out what to do? Contact us. We cant make you look better in a girdle, but hopefully we can help hurdle your legal woes.

With this Help me Howard, I'm Patrick Fraser, Seven News.

Contact Help me Howard:

E-mail: Helpmehoward@wsvn.Com (please include your contact phone number when e-mailing)

Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.Com

Miami-Dade: 305-953-wsvn

Broward: 954-761-wsvn

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