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WatchingCatch It If You Can – In The Small Print

Teaching Materials

Importance of the Topic:

This funny vignette stresses the importance of reading the fine print. Many times the “small print” is hard to read.  Warranties, contracts, policies, agreements and guarantees can be so long that it is human nature to skim over the text and sign without fully reading all the details. It is likely we have all done it. Think about it, if there is something that a seller wants to hide from you knowing, where would you put it? Often the information or exceptions that you really need to be aware of are placed at the end of the agreement. By that time, you are tired of reading and often agree without finishing reading all of the terms.  A buyer needs to be aware of his or her rights and have the confidence to stand up for them.

Desired Outcome, Knowledge, or Skill:

  1. Understand the importance of reading all the details in a contract, warranty, guarantee, agreement or policy.
  2. Ask questions if you don’t understand what all the terms mean in every document that requires your agreement or your signature.
  3. Ensure that you know what the exceptions and limitations are before agreeing to anything.
  4. Know that even verbal agreements can be binding.
  5. Be aware of consumer rights in Canada, so you are confident when standing up for your rights.
  6. Keep all warranties and receipts in a safe place.

Possible Activities:

  1. Compare several cell phone plans and read the fine print. See if there is any hidden information that you need to know about.
  2. Make a list of questions you need to ask ahead of time so you don’t forget to ask all the right questions before making a purchase.
  3. Research the integrity of a company by checking with the Better Business Bureau or Chamber of Commerce.
  4. Get in the habit of checking consumer reviews, choose an item that you would like to purchase, and read the reviews from other buyers.
  5. Read about consumer rights in Canada, and in your province or territory.
  6. Create safe places to keep warranties, receipts, and important documents.
  7. Find out about your rights regarding scanned bar codes. See how you are protected from mistakes.