I cancelled my water service and Sparklett's is charging me $15 to cancel! My agreement was for 1 year. My Initial term began on 5-25-05 and was cancelled on 12-20-06.
Sparkletts Waters aka DS Waters of America, LP. are sneaking in a cancellation fee, regardless of whether you complete the term of service or not. Their wording makes you think there's only a fee if you cancel before the contract is up, but oh no, there is a fee even if you fulfilled your Inital term.
About the contract:
On the contract under Initial Term of Agreement there are three boxes to check (3 years, 1 year, or period-to-period). 1 year was checked in my situation.
You must note that throughout the entire contract Sparklett's uses the terminology "Inital Term of Service" and they also use the terminology "Term of Service".
Cancellation Fee on the front of the contract reads: If Customer terminates service during the inital term, customer will be charged a $35 admin cancellation fee (period-to-period customers will be charged a $15 admin cancellation fee).
The small print on the back:
#2 Term: This agreement begins on the effective date written on the front of this agreement and continues for the term indicated in item 7 on the front of this agreement (the "Inital Term"). Upon expiration of the Inital Term, this agreement shall be in effect on a period-to-period basis until terminated in accordance with this agreement.
#7 Termination: You may terminate this agreement at any time, for any reason, by doing all of the following: (i) providing written notice to DSW at least 28 days prior to the desired termination date, and (ii) if such termination is during the initial term, by paying an admin cancellation fee of $35 (period-to-period customers will be charged a $15 administrative cancellation fee) for processing the account termination, retrieving the water cooler and/or other equipment (if applicable), and related expenses. Within 14 days following any termination of this agreement, you agree to return all water bottles, water coolers, coffee equipment, and related equipment in good condition, normal wear and tear excepted, to your route sales rep.
So here's my beef:
Under #7 (ii) the entire sentence is referring to terminating during the initial term, not afterwards. It's a moot point that #2 term says "Upon expiration of the Inital Term, this agreement shall be in effect on a period-to-period basis until terminated in accordance with this agreement." since #7 (ii) is only referring to terminating during the initial term, in my case 1 year. And the front of the contract only talks about terminating during the Initial Term as well. In fact the $35 was circled by my sales rep. He never told me that after I fulfill my obligation the $35 becomes $15. That's NOT how it reads to the average consumer. I spoke to manager, Stanley, and pointed out to him that the verbiage of the sentence. He told me that I have an old contract and the new ones now have a commma or a period or something to reflect that "(period-to-period customers will be charged a $15 administrative cancellation fee)" is a separate sentence from "If Customer terminates service during the inital term, customer will be charged...". WHICH TELLS ME THE LAWYERS KNEW THEY MADE A MISTAKE IN THE WORDING ON MY CONTRACT. But would Stanley refund my $15? Oh NOOOOOOOOOOO. He said I was SOL.
The way it reads to me and all consumers is like this: If you sign up for 1 year or 3 year contract and cancel before your time is up, you will have to pay $35. If you sign up for period-to-period (REMEMBER THIS IS ONE OF THE THREE OPTIONS ON THE CONTRACT ITSELF), your penalty for not having a contract with any length of time on it is to pay $15 upon cancellation no matter what. The only way to get out of paying to cancel is to have at least a year contract and to fulfill that obligation.
The contract does NOT read: If you fulfill your obligation, Sparklett's will still charge you $15 to cancel no matter what.
What a rip-off! Who else is out there that this had happened to? I smell a CLASS-ACTION LAWSUIT BREWING here....
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