Our partners at WISC News 3 Now in Madison, Wisconsin report on the story of a small business owner who came to a rude awakening when she tried to cancel a contract with her internet service provider.  Her internet had recently become unreliable, and a competing service was available.  The competitor had even offered to pay $500 toward any cancelation fee with her existing provider.  When she canceled and made the switch, however, she got a bill from her old provider with a staggering figure attached:  Cancellation would cost her $4,300.  Assuming it was a scam or an error, she contacted the provider and confirmed the charge was real.  She checked her service contract, and while it mentioned a cancellation fee, it didn’t explain what that fee was.  As it turns out, it was the sum of all monthly bills remaining on the contract at the time of cancellation.  Threatened with getting sent to collections by the provider, the woman reached out to Call For Action.  While laws are in place requiring providers disclose their cancellation policies to consumers, these protections are less clear in the case of small businesses, such as the one in this case.  Call For Action and News 3 Now have tried to reach the provider, but have yet to get a resolution.

Woman calls for action over $4,300 internet cancellation fee

This case serves as a cautionary tale to consumers and small business owners:

  • When you discuss the terms of a contract with a provider’s representative, take careful notes of what they describe.
  • Make sure you get a copy of the written contract and confirm that its provisions line up with how the contract was explained to you.
  • Before you sign a service contract, make sure you understand all the terms, including cancellation.

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