What's the purpose of a long term contract?

How do you feel about long term contracts?  Do you like the idea of being stuck with something contractually rather choosing a long term relationship?  Does it shine a different light when you rephrase it as stuck with something?  Am I just annoyed at something that is happening to me this morning?  Yes I am. 

 LET ME OUT!

LET ME OUT!

Now I want to say right of the bat that I understand contracts can work in our favor too. Perhaps you scored a sweet deal for a long term advertising package and locking it in with a contract benefits you. If you're buying a house in Kansas City the real estate contract is heavily weighted in the buyers favor, and I'm sure everyone is grateful to have a document stating clear terms up front. I know contracts work both ways.

Currently I'm being annoyed by cancelling a service I tried to cancel in June. I had to continue with the service, which I didn't use all the way through now... and technically through 12/10. I'm just working today to ensure that I am not automatically renewed for another 12 month sentence with their crappy service. 

The way I see things, when it comes to services, contracts should exist to explain the terms of the service AND contain a clear and easy escape clause. I hate being trapped in a contract for a service I'm not happy with or worse, not using at all. 

As a service provider if a client asks me to cancel our contract because they are dissatisfied with my level of service, or don't need my service anymore, I cancel. I have several times. Sure, it sucks to see a client walk away and in my opinion having enough dignity to let them out rather than acting like a spoiled brat and pointing to a contract, well it's just the right thing to do.

Do you really want ex-clients out there spewing ill will and hate about you. Explaining that it felt like a jail sentence because they couldn't leave. They only wanted out because they didn't need the service anymore yet "that guy" said I had to pay all the way through the terms of the contract. It's just bad business, or at least poor reputation management. 

In the real estate world I see crazy contracts written up by other agents locking clients into their services for one year. These guys make the contract sound benign until a buyer or seller wants to use another agent due to a lack of performance. Then that agent will point out all of the onerous sticking points to the contract they never brought up when presented for signature.  It's the same thing with cell providers, cable or satellite providers and even some pest control contracts. 

The moral of the story?  Read through contracts prior to signing. Make sure you understand them and don't just take the word of someone putting it in front you. When I signed up for this service in December of 2014 I knew that the contract said 12 months. I knew there was no escape clause. I knew I was taking a risk in believing the salesperson who said if "you're unhappy or not getting any use out of it we will absolutely cancel." When I asked them to honor that statement in June and was told flatly that it was a 12 month contract and I couldn't cancel I wasn't all that shocked. 

I told them "Well I guess all I can do is serve the rest of my sentence since you refuse to grant me parole." I guess I was hoping to call their attention to the crummy circumstance. He glossed over it and offered more training and webinars on how to best use the service. Gee, thanks sport.