BBB warns businesses to read before they sign: Sometimes not saying “no” means “yes” when it comes to renewals

June 07, 2010

Have you ever received an advertising RENEWAL NOTICE in the mail and tossed it aside because you didn’t plan to renew? Then, you realize that you are still being billed for the advertising even though you didn’t send in the renewal?

Your BBB warns that you always need to read the fine print on the original contract before you sign. It has come to our attention that some advertising contracts contain language that indicates your contract will automatically renew unless you specifically inform the company that you do not wish to renew the advertising. It is not enough to simply not return the renewal form. You must inform the company in writing that you do not wish to renew the contract.

In some cases, when a contract renewal is not received, the company uses what is called an “electronic Voice Verification process.” What happens is the customer receives a call asking them to provide yes or no answers to questions such as verification of name, address, phone, etc. The company then claims they have the customer recorded as saying “yes” to the terms of renewal. Then, when the customer tries to cancel, the company plays a tape of their voice supposedly saying “yes” to the renewal.

If this has happened to you, immediately inform the company in writing that you do not wish to continue and that you want to cancel the contract immediately. If the company continues to bill you, file a complaint at You can also file a complaint online with the Federal Trade Commission at