UNICOM Website Termination Fees

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Hi. I'm not really sure where to put this thread as it relates to website design from UNICOM. Suppose its internet related so i put it here. my family own a DIY shop and around a year ago a salesperson from UNICOM came out and asked if they wanted a website making. The business isnt taking as much as it used to so my family decided it was worth trying for a year. The salesperson agreed to this and my parents paid for the year's contract outright by cheque intead of UNICOM's preferred direct debit method. They signed the paperwork and the website was designed and created etc. Now a year has passed and we are recieving letters form UNICOM saying we are tied into a 3 year contract and if we want to end it we have to pay a termination fee wich is equal to paying for the full 3 years anyway. It does say in the smallprint that the contract is for 3 years but the salesperson signed us up knowing we only wanted it for a year. We are now recieving letters saying what we owe and how they are taking us to court if the fees arent paid etc. Has anyone else had any similar problems or know a way to get out of this contract without paying a fortune? Any help would be much appreciated.

Jordan

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  • macman
    macman Posts: 53,098 Forumite
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    Unfortunately if it is in the contract then it is your word against the salesman's, so it is hard to prove your were misled. They will just say that you should have read it. The odds are that the salesman was just working on a freelance commission anyway so he won't be available for questioning.
    Since, luckily, you did not go the direct debit route they can only get the money by taking you to court. So I would be tempted to tell them that the contract was misrepresented to you and you will not be paying any more. I don't know the sum involved but it's unlikely they will pursue you through the courts for a small sum. If they are doing this regularly then you will not be the only victim, and they probably rely on the threat of legal action making some people pay up.
    No free lunch, and no free laptop ;)
  • jordan0191
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    well its around £450 i think. the problem is that the paperwork that my parents signed states that the contract was for 3 years, but the sales person filled it all out, basically stuck it under their noses to sign and took it back so they wouldnt have even read the contract period. when they complained to unicom, they were told that it was stated on the paperwork they signed. so like you said its their word against ours.
  • macman
    macman Posts: 53,098 Forumite
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    It's actually in their favour, as they have your signature in writing against a contract that says 3 years. However I still have my doubts that a company that does this would want the expense and risk of going to court, even via small claims. So personally I would call their bluff. If they do serve papers on you, you can then take legal advice.
    Maybe you can find out if this company has been doing this to other local businesses and compare notes.
    No free lunch, and no free laptop ;)
  • jordan0191
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    i have only found one other person on another forum website who has had exactly the same prob. apparently she managed to get out of the contract without a termination fee so im going to try and contact her.
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