How often do you hear people exclaim how surprised they are that they have an unexpected fee or obligation imposed on them through a contract they have signed? At D’Angelo Legal we hear this almost daily and usually when it’s too late!
You should never sign anything without first getting the proper advice and truly understanding exactly what your contractual obligations are. Whether this be a business contract, a lease agreement or a purchase agreement, there are many ways that you can be duped by the other party. You could find yourself “surprised” when things do not go as planned and you have to rely on the signed agreement to determine your rights. These “surprises” could include:
1) When you have relied upon a representation by a party, but when seeking to rely on it to ask them to do what they promised, you are told you have no rights as the agreement was not expressly stated in a contract – you then have a game of “he said, she said” on your hands;
2) Your commercial tenancy ends and you don’t realise all the make-good obligations you agreed to and the financial costs of the same. Bonus “surprise”- You also had the lease assigned to you and don’t have access to the initial property condition report (PCR) or a PCR from when you took over to determine if what the lessor is asking to be remedied is even your fault or responsibility!
3) You have a contract to buy a business and the plant and equipment list isn’t clear as to who owns what – you think you’re buying the coffee machine but after settlement it’s taken away as it had a charge on it, registered by the company that leased it to the seller;
4) You try to terminate your gym membership but find out, even though it’s a 12 month contract and your 12 months are up, you still have to give one month’s notice;
5) You sign a shareholder’s agreement, prepared by the other party’s lawyer and think it’s all good – a lawyer drafted it after all! You don’t get independent legal advice and then you’re surprised to find out the agreement is heavily skewed in the other party’s favour and there are gaping holes in the drafting so most of the conditions you would expect to be in the agreement is missing; or
6) A contract is prepared and you don’t read it properly and are surprised when you start getting charged more than you anticipated.
Don’t be surprised by bad contracts and bad advice.
Don’t be surprised with a debt or onerous obligation you hadn’t anticipated or accounted for.
Contact D’Angelo Legal for a no obligation fee estimation for your contract review or drafting and get it done right. Our fees may surprise you!