Picture this scenario: You've got a repair at home that you need an expert to fix, a leaky roof. You've tried to solve it yourself, but it's clearly an issue that requires a professional. You do your research and find a company that checks out. Great performance reviews, licensed, rated with the Better Business Bureau, the whole nine yards.
The price quote comes and that too is A-OK, so you go ahead and sign on the dotted line. Soon enough, what was broken is now back up and running. All you have to do is pay the bill. But something is amiss – the price you were quoted is noticeably more than the original agreement. Turns out, there was a disclaimer buried in the fine print, and since you attached your signature to the agreement, you're on the hook. You grumble at the unfairness – it almost feels like a dirty trick – but ultimately you pay what's owed.
Fast forward a few months: You wake up in the night hearing that dreaded drip, drip, drip. The roof repair hasn't stuck, so you try to contact the company that did it, only to find they've left you high and dry – seemingly impossible to get a hold of.
"Vendors in just about every industry have stooped to nickel and diming."
Unfortunately, this isn't something that you have to imagine; chicanery like this happens every single day – the nickel and diming, followed by an unceremonious exit. It's an equal opportunity offense to which virtually everyone is vulnerable. Perhaps more frustratingly, vendors in just about every industry have stooped to such shenanigans. Banks and credit unions are affected just as much as anyone else.
Part of the problem is the nature of terms and conditions. You see those disclaimers and provisos all over the place, within contracts, on concert and sporting event tickets, even embedded in mobile apps. Aside from the fact that they're filled with jargon and legalese, they're so insanely long, you might mistake them for a Victor Hugo or Leo Tolstoy novel.
91% don't read the fine print
Who reads the terms and conditions? You guessed it. Pretty much no one. Indeed, according to a 2017 survey conducted by Deloitte, only 9% of respondents said they take the time to read terms and service agreements before signing them.
Vendors are often well aware of this, ultimately giving them free rein to nickel and dime their heart away by inserting stipulations, clauses and caveats that tie customers' hands when they agree to pay for services after signing their name next to the "x."
Sign here, please
You'd be amazed what people acquiesce to without their knowing. As reported by Business Insider, researchers from the University of Toronto and the University of Connecticut recently conducted an experiment to see what people would agree to when signing up for certain services. For instance, the study's principal investigators included the proviso that by signing on the dotted line, customers agreed to surrender their first-born son or daughter and that their personal information was free to use at the National Security Agency's discretion. Shockingly – or maybe not, given few take the time to read disclaimers – 98% literally signed their life away.
Fortunately, companies aren't so nefarious as to do such a thing as brazen as this, but you do tend to see a lot of nickel and diming. Laws protect consumers from excessive fees, but issues still exist. Businesses and corporations like cable providers, certain third-party vendors, telecommunications companies and loads of other organizations resort to sleight of hand to wring every last dollar out of these transactions.
In banking, customers most commonly complain about overdraft fees. In 2017, Americans spent more than $34 billion in said fees, according to data collected by Bloomberg. Generally speaking, however, financial institutions tend to be pretty straightforward in their communications. That's not to say that those entrusted with those nickels and dimes are unlikely to be targeted themselves by vendors that may not have their best interests at heart.
At BranchServ, we don't support underhanded tactics. We like to think of ourselves as an open book. Part of our mission statement is founded in reducing overall costs and enhancing the end customers' experience. Whether you're seeking automation solutions, equipment integration, consultative branch design, on-site repair, physical security or electronic security, we provide a statement of services up front and apprise you of all fees that may apply – ensuring you're aware of them. They say that sunlight is the best disinfectant. We couldn't agree more and wouldn't have it any other way. Plus, we'll be with you every step of the way – even after the services are completed. That's because we see our customers as life-long partners.
Don't take our word for it. Please contact us and put our value and integrity-driven assurances to the test.