Getting asked to review and sign a contract is just as exciting as getting asked to read the index of your favorite encyclopedia. If you are like most of us, then you probably have no idea where to begin reading and probably end up skimming rather than reading...
If your group is interested in learning about consumer law and consumer rights, Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. can help by arranging a one-hour presentation for your group...
Prepaid Entertainment Contracts
Laws protect consumers who sign and agree to prepaid entertainment contracts. Examples of prepaid entertainment contracts are gym memberships, dance studios, dating services, massage companies and spas, martial arts facilities, sports clubs, weight reduction centers, and other services requiring monthly payments.
Prepaid entertainment contracts have to be in writing and signed by the consumer and the servicer before the contract begins. The contract has to be under three years and the consumer cannot be charged more than ten percent of the total contract before the services are made available. Servicers must tell consumers orally about a right to cancel the contract and must provide two printed copies of the cancellation rights along with the agreement at the signing.
Every consumer is eligible for a three day right to cancel after signing. A disclosure in bold print should verify all rights to cancel the contract. A consumer disability also justifies the right to cancel and relocation of the company facility more than 25 miles away from a previous location is also reasonable cause to cancel. It is also illegal for a company to waive the right of the consumer to cancel in the contract. Every consumer has the right to cancel.
The company cannot deny a cancellation and must stop charging a consumer after canceling. A company failing to provide a consumer with the rights to cancel in the agreement at signing can allow a consumer to cancel at any time, even years after the contract began. A consumer lawyer can provide assistance to consumers dealing with companies not following the law and struggling with canceling a membership. Consumers who sign contracts before a facility opens are protected by additional rights.
What you, as the Consumer, should know about vehicle repairs
Whether you have had to get your car fixed for minor issues, or needed a complete auto-repair, you have rights according to Ohio Law. The Ohio Administrative Code provides certain protections to consumers when it comes to getting their car serviced or repaired. The following are just some of the requirements under the code:
- Once you meet with the servicer in person, they must provide you with a form which indicates: (a) the date; (b) identity of the supplier; (c) your name and telephone number; (d) the reasonable anticipated completion date; and (e) if you requested, the anticipated cost of the repair or service. The form must also contain the following language:
- Estimate: You have the right to an estimate if the expected costs of repairs or services will be more than fifty dollars. Initial your choice:
____ written estimate
____ oral estimate
____ no estimate
- If you request a written or oral estimate, the servicer must provide you with the estimate before starting service or repair
- Your bill will not be higher than the estimate by more than 10% unless you approve a larger amount before repairs are finished.
- The servicer must obtain oral or written authorization from the consumer for the anticipated cost of any additional, unforeseen, but necessary repairs or services when the total cost of the repairs or services, if performed, will exceed fifty dollars.
- The servicer cannot represent that repairs or services are necessary if they are not.
- The servicer cannot fail to disclose to you prior to starting any service or repair, that any part of the repair or service will be performed by a person other than the services or his employees, if the servicer disclaims any warranty of the repair or service performed by that person. The servicer must also disclose the nature of the repair or service which that person will perform, and if requested by the consumer, the identity of that person.
Ohio courts have found that when a supplier has engaged in an act or practice declared to be deceptive by the code, the consumer has a choice of remedies, including rescinding the transaction, or recovering three times the amount of the consumer’s actual damages. In Grieselding v. Krischak, the Court of Appeals Sixth Circuit, affirmed the trial court’s award of $1612 in treble damages, plus interest and attorneys’ fees stemming from a mechanic’s failure to notify the consumer of repairs beyond the stated estimate.
These are just some of your rights as a consumer, among many. For more information see: O.A.C. 109:4-3-13, or call Doucet & Associates Co. LPA at (614) 944-5219.
Right of Rescission
A borrower facing foreclosure has a number of defenses to losing his or her home. One such defense is the right of rescission. One can think of rescission as the ending of a contract or agreement. Under the Truth in Lending Act (“TILA”), 15 U.S.C. § 1635, a borrower has the right of rescission as to certain transactions including mortgage refinancing, a home equity line of credit, a home improvement plan, or any other non-purchase credit transaction secured by the borrower’s principal dwelling . However, TILA’s right of rescission does not apply to the purchase of a home.
TILA “requires creditors to provide borrowers with clear and accurate disclosures of terms dealing with things like finance charges, annual percentage rates of interest, and the borrower’s rights[.]” Barrett v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A., 445 F.3d 874, 877 (6th Cir. 2006). See also 12 C.F.R. § 226.1(b) (“The purpose of this regulation is to promote the informed use of consumer credit by requiring disclosures about its terms and cost.”).
Normally, a borrower is allowed until midnight of the third business day after the consummation of the transaction or delivery of the required TILA disclosures to the borrower, whichever is later, to rescind the transaction. But if the lender does not provide the required TILA forms and disclosures to the borrower, the borrower’s right of rescission may extend up to three years. In other words, a borrower has an “unconditional right to rescind for three days,” after which the borrower has three years to rescind if the lender fails to satisfy TILA’s disclosure requirements. Jesinoski v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., 135 S. Ct. 790, 792 (2015).
If a lender does not meet its TILA disclosure obligations and the borrower wishes to rescind the transaction within the three year time period, the borrower may do so by giving notice to the lender in accordance certain Federal Reserve Board regulations. For a borrower, a rescission of a transaction means the borrower is refunded all payments, fees, and costs, essentially placing the borrower in a position as if the transaction never occurred.
South Beach Fitness LLC Closes Location in Gahanna, OH
South Beach Fitness, LLC in Gahanna, Ohio closed that location in late September, 2013 to the surprise of many people. On the entrance door, it welcomed its members to visit its facility several miles away in Reynoldsburg. Unfortunately, some members recently signed up for services in Gahanna and expected to receive services at the Gahanna gym, especially after paying hundreds of dollars in enrollment and administrative fees. Questions remain about when the gym ownership knew about the move and why they chose to accept new membership fees with a pending move on the horizon.
Our firm is looking to help people who would like a refund of the money they paid to South Beach Fitness, LLC. The membership contract we reviewed appears to violate Ohio law, which likely entitles consumers to a refund of money paid, some damages, plus the payment of our attorneys’ fees for assisting in the matter.
If you would like to discuss how Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. can help you cancel your contract with no out of pocket attorney costs, please call us today at (614) 944-5219.