Although there seems to be no shortage of talking heads touting the beginning of the end of the economic decline, associations (like the average consumer) are still struggling to do more with less.
It just so happens that service providers, like the mall retailers, are now advertising some bargain-basement prices. Unfortunately, because of the use of unfavorable contract terms, such as “evergreen clauses,” many associations will not be able to cash in on the savings being offered.
There is nothing more frustrating than being “locked in” to a contract, and not having the freedom to take advantage of a good deal from another service provider. I know you have heard this before, and it is sometimes harder to implement than lecture about, but a careful read of any contract before signing could pay off big in the future.
Board members are typically very astute regarding negotiating the price and services that will be offered, but the fine print toward the end of the contract is often overlooked. And if there is one contract term that all associations should watch out for it is the dreaded, but often used and concealed, “evergreen clause.”
An evergreen clause is a clause that allows a contract to self-renew unless either party notifies the other of an intention that the contract NOT renew. The language used is invariably a bit tricky as well. A typical clause used in many service contracts, especially contracts for laundry service, looks something like this: