Mark Fitzsimmons is not happy with Regus
Dating back to the early months of COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the cause of Mark's discontent with Regus seems to be twofold.
- Mark claims that, whereas his virtual office contract with Regus featured a month-to-month term, after about six months into relationship, Regus unilaterally changed Mark's contract to make it a 12-month term.
- According to Mark, when he tried to terminate his month-to-month agreement, Regus claimed that Mark could not terminate the agreement on account of the newly instated 12-month term; and when Mark tried to resolve
that discrepancy, the Regus corporate office ignored his phone calls and emails, which allowed Regus's automatic charges to Mark's AMEX credit card to continue unabated.
As you can see in the screenshot of Mark's account above, he used the word "fraud" to characterize Regus's unilateral change to his contract. And as you can see in the same screenshot, Regus responded to make the blanket claim that "we don't make non consensual changes to contract[.]"
Does Regus make unilateral changes to contract?
So, as you can see, this exchange between Mark and Regus amounts to a classic "he said she said" deadlock; because Mark claims that Regus did and does make unilateral changes to contracts, while Regus claims the contrary.
Because we've handled thousands of Regus cases, we have the evidence to show whether Regus's claim that they don't make unilateral changes to Regus customers' contracts is true or false. So, in this post, we're going to help Mark out by citing three examples of unilateral changes Regus has made, and commonly makes, each of which render Regus's claim to the contrary verifiably false.
Does Regus "make non consensual changes to contract[?]" Yes, and here are two examples.
Example # 1: Lobby Sign Fee
Just about every Regus location has some sort of tenant directory or signage in the lobby to highlight some or all Regus customers occupying that location.
Not every tenant cares about having their company's name listed there, and, indeed, some actually prefer their name to not be listed. But some do prefer to have their company's name listed in the lobby, mainly so that their clients see that they arrived to the correct place when they enter the lobby.
Knowing, then, that some tenants want this lobby signage, Regus salespeople have long used the lobby signage as a "deal sweetener" to induce a would-be Regus customer to enter into a new agreement with Regus. The most typical form is: if you sign this agreement, we'll give you a sign in the lobby at no extra charge.
As such, when a company enters into that deal on the basis of that particular inducement, the terms of the inducement become part of the deal. In other words, if one part of the offered deal was that you would get a sign in the lobby at no extra charge, then you would be contractually entitled to receive that; and Regus would be contractually obligated to provide that.
For this reason, when Regus later begins charging you a monthly "signage fee," without you having agreed to that change, this would constitute a unilateral change to the contract. (Note that another version of this same change is when Regus says that they're unilaterally taking away the signage but that you can have it back if you begin paying an extra fee; in both versions, the effect is the same.)
So, as you can see, the signage fee example pretty squarely faslifies Regus's claim that "we don't make non consensual changes to contract[.]"
Example # 2: Coffee Fee
For a billion-dollar business, it's sometimes laughable how ham-handed Regus's schemes can be. A prime example of this is the coffee fee (a.k.a. "kithen amenities" fee), because Regus doesn't even really bother trying to cover its tracks, as it were.
For this reason, Regus's scheme to constantly charge customers coffee fees, despite those customers never having agreed to pay those fees, always reminds me of the 1999 movie Office Space--in which Milton's employer constantly moves his desk and steals his favorite red stapler. Shameless and unrelenting...that's the common thread through both.
Anyway, the basic sequence tends to be something like this:
- Regus represents that Regus's shared office services are sold as an all-inclusive package, and that "Everything's included" for "One monthly fee."
- In reliance on that representation, then, customers enter into Regus contracts believing there to be no "extra" fees.
- Within a couple of months of the relationshio, however, the customer might notice that Regus quietly tacked on extra fees for coffee (a.k.a. "kitchen amenities").
- This typically results in the customer asking Regus to stop charging those fees.
- Then Regus puts the customer's contract into this endless loop of quietly reinstating coffee fees after a few months have passed since the customer complained, which repeats after each customer complaint.
In the context of this post, the point is that the price a customer pays is a material part of the contract. So, any unilateral increases in price--whether by increasing the underlying rates or by tacking on extra fees--constitutes a unilateral change by Regus to the contract.
Here is that sequence in motion...
Step 1. A few months into the contract, the Regus customer notices a $33.38 "Kitchen Amenities" charge on his June 2017 Regus bill. So, he emails Regus to ask for the extra charge to be removed:
Please credit us $33.38 for “Kitchen Amenities,” we did not sign up for this and thought it was included. Thank you.
That was July 2017. The client had, by then, discovered the sneaky extra fee, requested that Regus cease charging that fee, and Regus confirmed that the fee would be removed from the client's Regus account--all of which you can see in the two email exchanges above.
Step 2. Then, a little less than a year later, the client discovers the coffee charges on his Regus bill once again. So, he once again emailed Regus to ask Regus to remove the extra fee from his Regus bill and account:
This month-late email shows that I am enrolled in the $30/month coffee plan. I do not drink the coffee or tea provided, could you make sure I am opted out of this charge. Thank you!
Repeat step 2, ad infinitum. Then, six months later, Regus notified all Regus clients at this Chicago Regus location that Regus would be once again unilaterally adding the coffee fee back onto everyone's Regus bill and account:
This is the moment when the parallels between Regus's coffee fee and Milton's desk in Office Space are hard to miss--because Regus just keeps reinstating this fee, no matter how many times a customer "opts out." More importantly, though, the content of the 12/11/2018 email message above shows that Regus basically admits to unilaterally changing these customers' contracts ("each client automatically be opted in") by tacking on this extra fee unilaterally. In repsonse, though, the client once again emails Regus to request that Regus not charge him this coffee fee:
Please opt us out of this package and any related charges. I have my own tea bags, don’t drink coffee or hot chocolate and do not have guests.
Client sent that request on the same day as the 12/11/2018 email notification. Good to go, then, right? Not so fast!
The email notification had said that everyone would be opted back into coffee charges on 1/1/2019. But on 1/3/2019, Regus sent out another email notification, which once again mentioned the upcoming "mass opt-in day," which, by then, had already happened two days prior to this second email notification. Madness.
Anyway, based on this evidence, you can see exactly what I mean when I say that Regus puts customer accounts into this endless loop of being constantly "opted back into" these coffee charges. It does not matter whether you knew about the charges to begin with. It does not matter if you eventually notice the charges on your bill and ask Regus to remove them. It does not matter how many times you "opt out." Regus will constantly, and unilaterally, alter the terms of the contract by tacking the coffee charges back on.
So, as you can see now (for the second time), the coffee fee example also pretty squarely faslifies Regus's claim that "we don't make non consensual changes to contract[.]"
Verdict? Yes, Regus regularly makes "non consensual changes to [the] contract[.]"
Your're welcome, Mark.