'Auto renew' contract clauses can be tricky: Make sure to ask questions

Last year Mark Schmidt hired a landscaping service to get rid of the weeds in his yard.

But he wasn't happy with the job.

So he decided not to renew the service and handle it himself.

"They sent a couple of mailings over the winter and I ignored it, thinking they were advertisements," said Schmidt.

But they weren't advertisements. Turns out the contract he signed had an "auto-renew" clause.

The meant the lawn service would continue its services until he requested that it stop in writing.

Schmidt said customers used to only have to worry about that with magazine subscriptions, but it looks like those days are gone.

"One day in March and there's a little yellow flag in my lawn saying they had applied fertilizer," he said.

When Schmidt wouldn't pay the $60 charge, the company threatened to send him to collections. Eventually, the company agreed to drop the charge and Schmidt learned his lesson.

It's important to read each line of a contract, ask the company how to get out of your contract if you're unhappy, and ask if there is an "auto-renew" clause

If you don't want to renew a company's service, ask what exact steps are needed to cancel the service.

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