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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
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Experience:  Multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation and administration.
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Does California have any laws for businesses concerning auto

Resolved Question:

Does California have any laws for businesses concerning auto renewal contacts?

I am a CA business owner trying to terminate a contract with a telephone provider. My original contract was signed in 2005 & contained an auto renewal clause. 30 days prior to my most recent renewal term I gave them written notice not to auto renew my contract because I was considering a change, (and I have record of their receiving my notice). No one contacted me, and they renewed the contract. Later when I tried to cancel they said that I did not follow their proper procedure, because I should have given them a specific termniation date on my notice. Apparently they print a notice on their monthly bill, saying you should contact a customer service phone number with a date, but it is not in bold or oversized type. Its just stuck in with other miscellaneous notices. They are now trying to charge me large termination fees and they tell me that they are my contract is governed by the state of Virginia.
Are you aware of any California laws or agencies that may help my situation
Thank you
Amy
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 10 months ago.

Thank you for your question. Please permit me to assist you with your concerns.

 

 

Amy,

 

Typically this would be governed by the actual contractual language itself in your agreement with the provider. If they are claiming that you did not follow the expressly stated conditions in the contract, they can keep you liable for the agreement, especially if they renewed and you did not contest it in a timely manner. While you can potentially contact the Attorney General's office and speak with their division on consumer protection, this is ultimately a factual dispute--that means that if you feel that the company is wrongfully holding you to terms, you would need to consider taking them to small claims court in front of the judge and get the judge to cancel the contract. Agencies typically do not have the power to interfere in a private contractual agreement unless there was fraud or misrepresentation, and from your facts I am not clear if any of that existed. What it may instead be is a 'boilerplate' agreement that ended up being unclear, but that then is a legal matter that the courts would have to evaluate and rule upon.

 

Hope that clarifies.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.


Do they have an obligation to notify me before or after auto renewal? I think it may be required for consumers, but is it the same for a business?


I did not even know they had renewed it, until I tried to cancel.


 

Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 10 months ago.

Thank you for your follow-up, Amy.

 

Commercial businesses are not granted the same rights and protections because the state considers a business to be more 'sophisticated' as a commercial entity. State law generally requires that language for cancellation not be buried in fine print and be clearly listed, but that is about it. In any case claiming that they are in violation is not up to an agency to pursue unless they actively misrepresented, it is more a contractual and factual dispute that has to be pursued by the local courts.

 

Hope that helps!

Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 37618
Experience: Multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation and administration.
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