Read the Fine Print Before You Sign


There are exceptions, but generally, there’s a reason fine print on documents, contracts and policies is so tiny and difficult to read. There’s an assumption that most will either skim through, or omit reading that section altogether.

And it often has some worthwhile information, that you really should know about. Information that more than likely is beneficial to the other party.

The solution?  Never skim over or omit any part of a policy or contract. You should be aware of every clause that’s included in a document and ask questions if you don’t know what it means. Don’t sign blindly; seek legal counsel to understand what you are about to sign and agree to.  Contracts are binding and it’s more costly to try to get out of one later.

Examples can be termination clauses or auto renewals on contracts which can make it very difficult to cancel it later; on an insurance policy, it could be items or events that you thought would be insured but really are not; and for a loan, it could be that the creditor has included some of your other assets to secure the loan, or that you’ll be subject to a different interest rate in the future.

Credit card companies are quick to offer a low interest rate if you switch to them, but that usually incredible low rate is often for a very short period and the small print can reveal what you’ll really pay after that period, once you’ve transferred the balance to them.

And energy retailers often omit telling that you will still have to pay other charges beyond energy if you sign up.  Those details are often conveniently included in fine print and knowingly omitted when the terms were discussed. So in effect, your cost for energy can be much higher than expected.

Be wary when there’s lots of fine print and be prepared to delay signing to take time to review the contract, or carry a magnifying glass with you if you need one.  If they don’t want to give you the time to read the contract carefully at your leisure, that more than likely is a clue that they don’t want you to read it – but you should.

Be well informed and protect yourself and your money.  Read everything; ask questions and then sign only when you understand what you’re signing and agreeing to.


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