My question involves business law in the state of: Washington
I got a call from a local news station asking if my cleaning company would like to be an exclusive cleaner for one of the several Greater Seattle areas about a month ago. I listened fully to the guys pitch and it sounded great. What more could a business want than to be affiliated with the local news? The person told me a list of things they will be doing to generate leads, which included a spot on their front main page.
So, it all sounded great so I agreed and foolishly signed the contract without giving it a 2nd look thinking "hey, it's the local news, they wont screw me over!" . WRONG. After signing the contract and paying the money for the advertising the guy set me up for a phone call so I could get set up with my end of the advertising. They work with an online company where I have some type of editing and stats access for all my ads. So, once I received this call and actually started talking to the person it became very clear to me that everything that this guy told me was sugar coated. Sure they did provide every service he said they would, but to what extent was a lie. The biggest thing that stands out is the fact that he said we were to have an ad on their main page. He even showed me over the internet where exactly it was going to go. The exposure was going to be a lot. Now here is how that 'ad placement' actually went. Yes, we get an ad on their main page. But it wasn't where the guy said it would be. The company that runs the advertising for the news station also runs their own coupon website. So it goes like this, the person goes to the news station website, they scroll to the bottom and select the specific city in greater seattle that they are in , and then there is a 1 in __ chance (how many company ads the coupon website has) in showing.
If you are like me, the only reason why I go intentionally to a local news station website is usually just to get a quick look at the weather. I dont know anyone personally who goes in depth into those websites.
Now, it gets worse.
On top of this, I call the news station to figure out what the other companies are for exclusive cleaners for the other greater seattle areas. Maybe there is something that they are doing to help them get business in this. The station refused to give up any names despite it being public information. This is terrible! Not only is this information not verifiable by the station, other businesses are getting treated the same! People can claim a lot, and so what if someone hears about my company or sees an ad and thinks" Hmm, an exclusive cleaner for ___news station? I've never heard of that, is that a real thing?" So they call, and what does the news station do? They have said 1 of 2 things to me, I don't know what you are talking about or only high-ups have that information. There is no credibility in this! No way to verify to customers and it is fishy they wont tell me the names of any of the businesses.
AND IT GETS WORSE
2 weeks into advertising we have received no business. I have already contacted the news station saying that I feel lied to and I wanted my money back. They told me that because I signed the contract I had to pay a percentage of what I agreed to which came out to 1K. No way was I about to pay 1K just to stop advertising with them. I might as well just let it sit and hope that I get at least 1 persons buisness.
So, I decided I was going to go on my own and advertise it. I paid over a thousand dollars for this title " exclusive cleaners' and no where in the contract does it say I cannot use that in my advertising. What they are doing isnt cutting it. So, I have some local magazines and a email campaign I feel I have the right to add in that "exclusive cleaners for ___ area" . They told me I cannot because of a 'branded' thing?
It is my understanding that unless it is in written word in the contract you can't just say that. This is how they justified it. They said that because the word BRANDED is on the lefthand corner of the contract means that I agree to not advertise it?
If you look at the contract, it is very loosely written and has nothing in it regarding how I use the title.
The more I think about it the more I think that I could get out of this using the unconscionable contract thing as why.
Or maybe you can think of something else I can do?
I feel cheated and I would like to at least try on my own to get buisness from this somehow.
I am 1 1/2 months into this now and still NOT ONE SINGLE LEAD NOT ONE PERSON NOT ONE ANYTHING
Does someone feel up to looking at the contract? It is only 2 or 3 short pages.
If you dont mind, it doesnt actually have any personal details in it.