Ok...so I admit my recent posts on this blog have turned somewhat curmudgeonly. In my defense...there IS a lot going on in this old world that could turn even the most ebullient among us into ill tempered puddles of goo.
Case in point: I opened the mail the other day and saw a flyer with the headline, "Satellite TV - $9.95 a month!"
I've prided myself on only having broadcast television for most all of my life. And now with 30 plus HD broadcast channels...it would take a lot to tempt me to pay for something I get for free.
But this package promised 150 digital and all the local channels, plus a complete Cinemax package, free dual channel recorder, and free set up and activation.
So, they had my attention.
Then I turned to the fine print.
You had to sign a 24 month contract to get this price and package. And the clincher: After 6 months the prices revert to the "Current Price Structure" of said package.
Translation (for anyone not already there): At the end of 6 months you will have NO idea what your TV package will cost, until it switches over.
It could be $20 a month...but what if they decide the "current value" of the package is $100.00 a month? $200.00 a month? A thousand a month?
Sure...you could cancel...for a price!!! I didn't even bother finding out what that fee would be. But other companies charge hundreds for the privilege.
So it got me to thinking...why would anyone sign a contract where payments are a moving target?
Why would anyone agree to obligate themselves to make payments that might...probably will go up...and not have any idea as you sign how much that might be.
So why sign THAT contract? Why have credit cards that can change the percentage and minimum payment you owe at ANY time? Why have a Home Loan with an adjustable rate?
I had a girl fiend in California 20 years ago. She had an adjustable rate mortgage on her home that could only be raised a certain percent per year. The bank told her it also could have been adjusted down as well. They must've had to stifle their laughter when they said that.
So what happened? Every year the bank raised her rate to the highest interest rate it could...and in a few years she was struggling to pay her increasing larger loan and eventually walked away from her home...and a sizable down payment.
So please...EVERYONE...STOP SIGNING THESE CONTRACTS.
Will $9.95 seem like a good deal when you get your first bill with the new rate 6 months from now?
If a company cannot agree to a set payment for a set service...and has an option to change the rate at a given time...RUN!!!!!!!!!!!
And while you're at it...take some sissors to all your credit cards.
You'll thank me later.