Getting out of a very lopsided equipment lease

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Getting out of a very lopsided equipment lease

About 7 months ago I needed to upgrade my cameras for my photography
business. I went with the payments option not knowing it was a lease and I was
not able to pay it off early as you would with a typical loan. This 6000 dollar
camera is now costing me over 15000 and it is greatly hurting my business. I
have emails from the broker that state very different terms than what is actually in
the contract, and I was rushed into signing with things like ‘you need to get this
signed and returned ASAP or we might not be able to get you the camera’. Things
of that nature. Overall it was very misleading and now I fear I am trapped in this
thing. Is there any way I can get out of this with out costing my business
thousands of dollars?

Asked on June 5, 2017 under Business Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The fact that the lease is lopside is irrelevant: the law in no way enforces fairness. 
If the contract you were given to sign did contain the actual terms, then you would be held to it: you could have read the contract, seen those terms, and refused to sign if you felt they were bad. The fact that the broker was trying to rush you is also irrelevant, since he did not and could not force you to sign: yes, he could pressure you, but high-pressure sales tactics are legal. You had the right to read it through first, think about it, ask any questions or seek clarification, etc., and if you did in fact read it, or could have read it, and the actual terms are in it, the law will hold you to those terms. (The law presumes we read and agree to contracts which we sign.)
Onlyif the terms in the contract presented to you are not the ones you are being held to--e.g. they sent you contract 1 to sign, but now are claiming you are held to contract 2, or otherwise changed the terms after you signed--can you escape the contract (or more accurately: enforce the terms of the agreement which you did in fact sign). One party may not unilaterally change the terms of a contract after the other party as already agreed to it.


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