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How To Terminate a Contract Early—and Where To Find Someone Who Can Help You Do It Right

Your legal rights...when the internet is your owner's manual

· Attorney,FAQs,Micro-Consultation,Low-Value Claims,Economics

Needing to terminate a contract early is one of the most common reasons for which people seek legal help and advice.

It is the single largest category of the so-called "low-value claims" that Veeto helps people resolve (example Veeto case data).

Low-value claims are cases in which there is enough money at stake that you don't want to leave it on the table, but not enough money that you can justify shelling out thousands of dollars to hire an attorney.

This is the niche that Veeto fills, for hundreds of contract types. Veeto can help where lawyers can't because our costs--and therefore, prices--are much cheaper than the traditional law firm business model. As a rhetorical example, have you ever heard of someone hiring a lawyer to get out of an AT&T contract? Probably not...which is why the story of Matt Spaccarelli suing AT&T in small claims court--and winning!--has been an internet favorite for years.

Most people start with a Google search for some ifwhere, when, why, or how query...

  • "Can you terminate a contract?"
     
  • "Can I terminate a fixed term contract early?"
     
  • "What is the law on cancelling a contract?"
     
  • "Why a contract can be terminated?"
     
  • "On what grounds can a contract be terminated?"
     
  • "When a contract can be terminated?"
     
  • "How do you terminate a contract?"
     
  • "What happens when you terminate a contract?"
     
  • "Do I have the right to cancel a contract?"
     
  • "Do both parties have to agree to terminate a contract?"
     
  • "What is early termination fee?"
     
  • "Are early termination fees legal?"
     
  • "How can I get out of my early termination fee?"
     
  • "Can I change my mind after signing a contract?"
     
  • "What is the difference between cancellation and termination of a contract?"
     
  • "How long do you legally have to cancel a contract?"
     
  • "Does early termination fee affect credit?"
     
  • "Can a contract be terminated before it starts?"
     
  • "How do I get out of a signed contract?"
     
  • "Can a written contract be terminated verbally?"
     
  • "What makes a contract null and void?"

On this topic, there are a variety of legal services and sources of legal information, including lawyers and non-lawyer services (software, marketplaces, apps)--and nowadays, a great deal of information has also become available on various blogs, forums, and media publications. For example, a recent Google search for the query terminate contract early returned 26 million results!

So one hand, if you want to find out how to terminate your contract the early, the internet is your good friend.

terminate contract early

Sample of the kind of results such a search returns. "Ah, so you're saying I should look for a termination clause. Thanks a heap."

On the other hand, though, for a person who does not have any sort of legal training or experience, it may be difficult to sort through that information and determine what us useful or legally accurate for your case; and even for a person who does have some legal knowledge, 26 million results is tall hill to climb when your time is scarce.

So the right way to think about the internet--and Google search specifically--is that it can quickly acquaint you with some the pertinent questions to ask about the issue, can show you an almost endless list of places to find answers to those questions, and thereby give you some frame of reference for how to quarterback solving your own issue. But, it is also important to understand the limitations of internet research when you're dealing with a real, live legal issue.

Generic advice is seldom useful for the taking action part of handling legal problems, and generic advice is mostly what you'll get from internet searches and the "How To Get Out of a Contract Early" articles you'll find.

Why is generic advice useless for legal problems? Because, when you're handling your own legal issue for the first time, there are real consequences to getting it wrong. So, you don't get to learn by trial and error, and for that reason, you need to have a high degree of certainty that the advice you are following will lead you to the desired outcome--because if it does not, there is usually not an opportunity to start over.

You need specific advice, on-demand, without having to wade through millions of "how to" articles.

That's why legal micro-consultations are useful.

Legal micro-consultations are bite-sized discussions between someone with a specific legal issue and someone with the expertise to know how to solve that legal issue.

For example, Veeto's micro-consultation is a 10-minute phone call focuses on organizing the facts and circumstances of your legal case so that a clear and concise taking action recommendation is possible. Unlike legal services that do not start with, or even include, a micro-consultation, the benefit to the person with the legal issue is derived right upfront, without you having to necessarily hire the legal expert to handle your entire case--if you don't want to. That's because organizing the facts and circumstances of your case around data-driven recommendations about what has worked in the past allows you to understand your case, ask better questions of the parties with whom you enter into contracts, and even to actively participate in solving your own "low-value claim" legal problems--such as terminating a contract early--if you prefer to handle the case DIY.

Thus, the optionality you get from a micro-consultation can save you a ton of time and money, regardless of what you decide to do after the micro-consultation ends.

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This, BTW, is why Veeto's process always begins with a micro-consultation.

What is a Veeto micro-consultation? The Veeto micro-consultation is simply a 10-minute call between you and a Veeto expert, which you book at a time that is convenient for you. Logistically, Veeto's micro-consultations are designed to be just simple phone conversations between two human beings.

How does it work? When the booked slot rolls around, the Veeto expert will call your phone directly...so no automated phone systems, waiting on hold, or middlemen to contend with. It's just you and a Veeto expert discussing your case for 10 minutes, and the goal of the call is for you to walk away with a full playbook you can use to resolve your case whether you decide to work with Veeto or not.

How can you book a Veeto micro-consultation? Click the button below, and pick a time that works for you.

Many attorneys don't offer this kind of micro-consultation service--for two reasons.

First, there are professional rules of engagement with which all practicing attorneys must comply. This is why they cannot give legal advice over the internet to someone who is not yet their actual client, for example. You've probably seen a disclaimer like this before if you've already begun kicking around Google search results:

This post is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice specific to you. This general information is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney in your jurisdiction. The attorney client relationship is not established by this post.

Becoming an attorney's actual client usually requires that you sign an "engagement letter" and pay a retainer fee which might be anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars. All of this makes the "setup cost" of just talking to someone about your case often prohibitive, such that you opt to not reach out to an attorney to begin with because you know that the low-value stakes of your case don't justify that upfront time investment.

Second, most attorneys operate under the billable hour business model. For this reason, any kind of useful consultation with an attorney will often come at a price of anywhere from $250 to $350 an hour. It does matter whether the consultation is micro or macro; if you are consulting with an attorney who depends on the billable hour, your consultation will cost you some proportion of that hourly rate.

There is an exception that is somewhat common, and that is when an attorney offer a "free initial consultation." The trick there, though, is that the attorney will almost never give you any meaningful degree of advice about your case. Instead, the attorney's free consultation serves more as a sales call for that attorney, so that he/she may determine how likely he/she is to get you to later pay the full retainer fee.

There is a logic to this limitation, of course, and it is that attorneys are simply following the old adage...

If you're good at something, don't give it away for free.

I get that. And no hard feelings, of course.

But it is precisely why we added the micro-consultation to the menu of Veeto services: because it meets an otherwise unmet need, at a price commensurate with the value of a large category legal cases that most attorneys can't/won't help you with.

We ran into this problem ourselves over a decade ago, realized there was not right-sized solution in the market to help us, and subsequently decided to build that solution ourselves. Ten years later, we have helped thousands of freelancers, executives, consumers, and business owners handle low-value claims like getting out of a contract early when the need arise.

Why is Veeto not a substitute for a lawyer, and a lawyer not a substitute for Veeto?

Economics. The short answer is that most law firm business models are designed to handle higher-stakes cases, whereas Veeto is designed to handle lower-stakes cases.

Our perspective is that there are cases for which hiring a lawyer makes sense, and there are cases for which hiring a lawyer does not make sense. Lawyers are happy handling the former, and we are happy handling the latter. There is very little overlap between the two case types, because the difference is almost entirely driven by economics; and when a lawyer spends over a hundred thousand dollars (often through interest-bearing student loans) and 3 years on law school, he/she understandably does not want to lower the price of his/her time below a certain threshold. We get it.

But there is a massive need for effective legal service below that price threshold, and we figured out that we could use software to automate much of the case-handling process so that we could still earn a profit when we charge rock-bottom prices--such as $32 for a micro-consultation, even when that means you are talking to one of real, live, human beings about your case.

We know that many attorneys are actually huge fans of Veeto, because about 25% of our clients are themselves attorneys. For the right kind of case with the right economic stakes, there is no sensible substitute to Veeto. You, of course, do not need a law-school education to understand that.

Are you ready to stop kicking around Google search results and to start to terminating your contract?

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