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Understanding Contracts Credit Repair Contracts
Writing Your Own/Forms Other Types Of Contracts
Your Right To Cancel/Get A Refund

Where To Go For Help

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Health Clubs
Home Matters
Getting A Refund, Replacement Or Repair

Understanding Contracts

Contracts-An Excellent General Overview of The Law (Ohio)
What it takes to make a contract, performance, breach, your rights, defenses, and claims for damages etc. Some Ohio law.

Electronic Signatures: Might You Sign a Contract Without Realizing It? (Ohio)

Your Rights And Obligations When You Sign (Consumer-SOS)

Common Mistakes About Contracts (Consumer-SOS)

Changing Standard Form Contracts To Fit Your Needs

Contract Terms Courts Usually Won't  Enforce (Consumer-SOS)

Fundamentals Of Contract Law- How Do You know when You've Got a Deal
Includes basics on Capacity, Written and Oral Contracts 
Offer and Acceptance, Acceptance, Conditions, Consideration 
Reliance, Agents and Delegations and Assignments .

Sample Health Club Contract And How To Modify

Basics On Contracts
(Not State Specific)

Bars To A Contract-When You Can Get Out of One 
Find out what defenses you may have so you can escape a bad deal. Learn about Illegality, Duress, Undue Influence, Fraud, Mistake, Statutes of Limitations, Changing Situations, Unconscionability and Practical Contracts.

Tips On Understanding Contracts (BBB)

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Writing Your Own Contracts

Tips For Writing Contracts (Findlaw)

Writing Your Own Contract (Form w/tips)

Changing Standard Form Contracts To Fit Your Needs (Consumer-SOS)

Sample Health Club Contract And How To Modify 

See Business Forms (Consumer-SOS)

See Legal Forms (Consumer-SOS)

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Your Right To Cancel Or Get A Refund

Contracts-An Excellent General Overview of The Law (Ohio)
Has some general ways to show the contract is void, i.e. your rights and defenses if you want to get out of a contract. Some Ohio law.

Refunds (Ohio)
Are stores required to post their refund policies?

Minors And Their Rights (Ohio)
See left hand index for above topic and learn about their right to cancel contracts.

Can Companies Charge Early Cancellation Fees? (Ohio)
As long as the cancellation fee was included in the contract, it is legal for the company to charge it. To avoid future problems, always read the terms and conditions of any contract before you sign it.

Home Solicitation Sales Act (Ohio)

  • Gives consumers three days to cancel any transaction of $25 or more that occurs at a location outside the seller’s regular place of business,
       such as the consumer’s home, a fair booth or a hotel meeting room.
  • Requires sellers to give consumers written notice of their right to cancel.  
  • Prohibits sellers from beginning any service or selling any loan agreement during the three-day “cooling off” period.
  • Requires sellers to refund consumers within 10 days if they cancel the contract.

Consumer Sales Practices Act (Ohio)

  • Protects consumers from unfair, deceptive or unconscionable acts or practices in connection
        with the purchase or solicitation for a purchase that would be used for the home or personal
  • Makes it illegal for sellers to misrepresent the nature of their business, products or services,
       the price of their goods or the terms of a transaction.
  • Prohibits sellers from taking advantage of a consumer’s illiteracy, mental or physical disability, or
       inability to understand the terms of a sale.
  • Prohibits sellers from selling a product or service to a consumer they know cannot afford or
       substantially benefit from the purchase.
  • Requires sellers to honor guarantees, warranties and rain checks.
  • Protects consumers from deceptive advertising and other types of fraud.

Certificate of Motor Vehicle Title Act (Ohio)
Unconditional right to cancel your vehicle purchase if dealers do not deliver their titles within 40 days of the purchase.

Consumer Sales Practices Act-Substantive Rules (Ohio)
OAC § 109:4-3-01 Addresses these consumer related issues.

Lemon Law (Nonconforming New Motor Vehicle Law) (Ohio)

  • Requires auto manufacturers to repair or replace lemon* vehicles within a reasonable period of
  • Requires manufacturers to notify buyers of their right to compensation if a vehicle is defective.  
  • Establishes a consumer’s right to be refunded if the vehicle is not repaired or replaced within a
       reasonable period.  

Prepaid Entertainment Contracts Act (Ohio)

  • Protects consumers who pay in advance for the services of health spas, dance studios, diet 
       centers, dating agencies or martial arts schools.  
  • Gives consumers three days after their first services are available to cancel their contracts.
  • Sets a three-year limit for the length of these contracts.

Business Opportunity Purchaser’s Protection Act (Ohio)
Gives consumers five days to cancel business opportunity agreements.
Requires sellers to give consumers written notice of their right to cancel.
Requires all oral promises to be included in the written contract.
Prohibits sellers from making misrepresentations about the business opportunity

Hearing Aid Returns Act (Ohio)
Gives consumers 30 days to return hearing aids.
Requires hearing aid receipts to list a consumer’s right to return.

Telephone Solicitation Sales Act (Ohio)

  • Requires certain telemarketing businesses operating inside and outside Ohio to register with the
       Ohio Attorney General’s Office.  
  • Says that no contract made through a telemarketing call is valid until the telemarketer receives a signed, written confirmation from the
  • Requires telemarketers to state their real name, their company’s name and their purpose for
       calling within the first 60 seconds of a call.
  • Establishes criminal and civil penalties for violations of the law.

The Mail & Telephone Order Merchandise Rule

The Cooling Off Rule (When You Can Cancel A Sale or Sales Contract)

Bars To A Contract-When You Can Get Out of One 
Find out what defenses you may have so you can escape a bad deal. Learn about Illegality, Duress, Undue Influence, Fraud, Mistake, Statutes of Limitations, Changing Situations, Unconscionability and Practical Contracts.
For small businesses.

Shopping From Home-Your Cancellation Rights
Learn  about your right to return merchandise, cancel orders and protect yourself from fraud. 

Unordered Merchandise (FTC)

How To Right A Wrong (FTC)

See Getting Refunds, Replacements and Repairs

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Credit Repair Contracts

Credit Services Organization Act (Ohio)
Mandates registration and bonding for organizations that offer credit repair, debt counseling or related services. Gives consumers a three-day right to cancel contracts with credit service organizations.


Title IV of the Federal Consumer Credit Protection Act (Public Law 90-321, 82 Stat. 164) is amended to read as follows: 


(a) In General. -- Any consumer may cancel any contract with any credit repair organization without penalty or obligation by notifying the credit repair organization of the consumer's intention to do so at any time before midnight of the 3rd business day which begins after the date on which the contract or agreement between the consumer and the credit repair organization is executed or would, but for this subsection, become enforceable against the parties. 

(b) Cancellation Form and Other Information. -- Each contract shall be accompanied by a form, in duplicate, which has the heading 'Notice of Cancellation' and contains in bold face type the following statement: 

'You may cancel this contract, without any penalty or obligation, at any time before midnight of the 3rd day which begins after the date the contract is signed by you. 

To cancel this contract, mail or deliver a signed, dated copy of this cancellation notice, or any other written notice to (name of credit repair organization) at (address of credit repair organization) before midnight on (date) I hereby cancel this transaction, 


(purchaser's signature).

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Your Rights And Obligations When You Sign A Contract
A contract is a written or oral agreement that defines the rights and duties of both you and the other party.[1]  When you enter into a contract, both you and the other person make a joint commitment that has the force of law.  This means that either of you can sue if the commitment is broken.  

Keep in mind that courts generally respect your right to bargain and will rarely step in just because the contract is unfair or one sided.  By and large, when you sign a contact you will be held to the contract's provisions.  This holds true even when the terms are unfair or you never took the time to read them. 

See also

Electronic Signatures: Might You Sign a Contract Without Realizing It? (Ohio)

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Common Mistakes About Contracts
Many people foolishly assume they have three days in which to cancel a contract.  But this is not true in most cases.   The three day rule is something enforced by the Federal Trade Commission and applies almost exclusively to contracts involving door to door sales. 

Another mistaken belief is that the laws in all states are identical.  Contract laws can and do vary from state to state.  The rights given to consumers under the laws of Idaho will have no bearing on your rights while in Georgia.  Likewise, while you have 7 days to cancel a health club contract in Georgia, you may not have such a right in Florida.

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Changing Standard Form Contracts To Fit Your Needs
As a consumer, you are at a distinct disadvantage when you sign a standard or "boiler plate" contract.  Never forget that contracts for health clubs, airlines, and housing always favor the seller over the buyer.  The problem is made worse because a lay person may find the contract's small print hard to read and full of legalese.  That is why you should never sign a contract until you have read and understand each and every part of the agreement. 

But you can change a contract by penning in more favorable terms and/or crossing out the terms you dislike.  Remember, your right to bargain is just as important as the seller's.  Note that when you cross out terms before signing, you have made an entirely new offer which the seller is free to accept or reject.

If the seller then signs the contract, he must abide by all of its terms even if he later claims he never saw the changes made to it.  For your protection, make sure you press hard enough so that the alterations appear on your carbon copy.  Put your initials next to where you made the changes if possible.  Then if you lose your copy, your initials will show that you had changed the original contract before signing it.

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Contract Terms Courts Usually Won’t Enforce
While courts normally respect people's right to make agreements, some contracts are just so objectionable that they will not be enforced.  A contract is legally invalid if it is procured through fraud, violates the law or goes against public policy.  Note: An invalid contract won't be enforced even though you signed it.  Often valid contracts will have invalid provisions within them.  When this occurs, courts will most likely strike out the offensive term and uphold the rest of the contract. 

But courts are hard to second guess.  You never know when they will void the entire contract, leave the contract as is, or delete just one provision.  Play it safe and be sure to cross out offensive terms before signing any agreement. 

Samples Of Invalid Contracts
Examples of invalid contracts may include: agreements where you waive your right to sue your doctor or lawyer for negligence or malpractice; contracts for illegal services such as for prostitution; illegal gambling, or illegal lottery operations;  residential leases that make the tenant responsible for repairs due to normal wear and tear, and any lease that holds the landlord harmless for any and all damages to both person and property.   

Note: Always beware of provisions that allow sellers to duck out of their responsibilities.  Agreements in which sellers try to avoid their own negligence are in many states found void for public policy reasons. 

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Sample Health Club Contract And How To Modify

Below is an Waiver and Release provision from a Bally's Health Club contract.  All potentially invalid terms have been highlighted.  Terms you should modify have been underlined.

You agree on behalf of yourself (and your personal representatives, heirs, executors, administrators, agents and assigns) to release and discharge us (and our affiliates, employees, agents, representatives, successors and assigns) from any and all claims or causes of action (known and unknown) arising out of our negligence. This Waiver and Release from liability includes without limitation, injuries which may occur as a result of (a) your use of any exercise equipment or facilities which may malfunction or break, (b) Our improper maintenance of any exercise equipment or facilities © our negligent instruction or supervision, and (d) you slipping and falling while in the health club or on the premises. YOU ACKNOWLEDGE THAT YOU HAVE CAREFULLY READ THIS WAIVER AND RELEASE AND FULLY UNDERSTAND THAT IT IS A RELEASE OF LIABILITY.  YOU ARE WAIVING ANY RIGHT THAT YOU MAY HAVE TO BRING A LEGAL ACTION TO ASSERT A CLAIM AGAINST US FOR OUR NEGLIGENCE.


Suggested ways To Modify:

Change any term that will release the health club from its own negligence. Replace the word "our" with the word "my" throughout the paragraph.  In section (a) insert "naturally" before the word "malfunction".  In section (d), insert the word "negligently" between "you" and "slipping".

[1]In many states, oral or spoken agreements are also binding contracts. For Example: In Georgia, an oral contract is binding if you are bargaining for something less than $500 and the contract is able to be performed within a year of your agreement.

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Other Types Of Contracts

Various Types of Contracts
All about contracts-from real estate to retail. Choose your topic and blast off.

See Business Matters
See Work

For more help See Consumer-SOS Subject Index

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Where To Go For Help

Where To File A Complaint (Ohio)
Choose issue in drop box and they'll direct you to the right agency. Pertains to issues relating to banking, charities, credit cards, incorporations, insurance, landlord tenant and utilities.

Ohio Attorney General's Office

Find Your Legal Aid in Ohio By County or Zip Code

Consumer Complaints Against Businesses (Ohio)

The Court Says I Won: Now, How Do I Collect?

Search Complaints Against Companies (Ohio Attorney General)

Search For Unfair, Deceptive or Unconscionable Acts Done by Ohio Businesses, Stores, Landlords, Etc (Attorney General)
Ignore all fields but their subject box, and choose a subject your issue relates to. Then click "SUBMIT" to Search records for similar violations done by that business or by any other business. And if the violation is something that has been previously addressed in an administrative rule or by any Ohio court, you may be able to recover three times the amount of actual damages or $200, whichever is greater. Topics include everything from Aeronautics to False Advertising to Food to Travel! Too Many Hits? Use your back button and narrow your results by also selecting a topic from the CATEGORY box.

Find Your City & State Consumer Protection Offices (DC Included)
These are the agencies that regulate any unfair business practices in your state. They also have information on a variety of consumer subjects relating to cars, lawyers, credit, contracts, employment, home improvement, employment, etc. 

Better Business Bureaus (Links Throughout The U.S.)

Find Your Local Newspaper, Magazine, Radio & TV Stations
Give them a little bad press and you're bargaining power increases tremendously. Select your state, and then click on your county or city for the proper media to report to. (DC Not Included).

Find The AARP In Ohio
The AARP offers legal advocacy for seniors and may also have state specific consumer brochures which are available to everyone.

Government Complaint Center
Find the federal agency that deals with your problem and fill out an online complaint form to get them to investigate.  Subjects regulated include, airlines, banks, food, medicine, car matters,  cell phones, health clubs and much much more.

The Federal Trade Commission

National Help Orgs For A Variety Of Consumer Problems
The Elderly, Environment, Families, Fraud, Health & Safety, Insurance The Handicapped, Medical Problems, Telemarketing and more.

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Related Topics

Health Clubs
Home Matters
Getting A Refund, Replacement Or Repair

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