Consumers are often warned never to sign contracts without first reading them, but many people still do not heed the warning.
Some people believe that they can escape the downside of a contract by cancelling it before the cooling- off period has expired. Many don't realise that this is not always possible.
Johannes Baloyi said he was led to believe that he stood a chance of winning R10000 if he took part in a consumer holiday survey conducted by Smart Rental Vacations at High Grove in Tzaneen last year.
Baloyi thought he could rely on the cooling-off period to easily extricate himself from the contract.
But when he cancelled his contract a day after signing it, he found he was still liable to Smart Rental Vacations because they had not signed his letter of cancellation.
The contract he signed had no cooling-off period at all. In fact it contained a condition that his cancellation letter had to be signed by both parties before he could be released from it.
"The presentation was splendid and I was interested and joined the club," Baloyi said.
He signed the contract without reading its contents and paid the R797 registration fee. A day later Baloyi cancelled the contract, but the company ignored his instruction.
Baloyi is liable to pay R199 a month until Smart Vacation accepts his cancellation letter.
"Instead of cancelling my contract they sent me a letter welcoming me on board.
"Do I have to tell them in Tshivenda that I want out?" asked Baloyi.
Redwaan Hassiem, an attorney representing Smart Rental Vacations, said that they were investigating the matter.