“Nothing in fine print is ever good news” (Andy Rooney, US Journalist)
Nothing is truer than this quote when one reads a contract, lease, franchise agreement, loan agreement, or guarantee.
There is a general perception that because a contract has been typed and bound, that it contains standard terms, which are similar to most other contracts, or contracts you signed previously. Nothing can be further from the truth.
If one decides to save money by signing a contract before a lawyer examines it, you may find that it contains harsh and unusual terms. In a recent bulletin, the Legal Practitioners’ Liability Committee gave examples of terms in contracts, which alter a party’s rights, such as:
Clauses requiring a purchaser to complete the contract regardless of any dispute and requiring mediation of any dispute to occur after
settlement and use VCAT to the exclusion of other courts to resolve issues;
Default clauses with 20% penalty interest;
Clauses requiring a purchaser who breaches a contract to pay on demand, “…full amount payable whether due to be paid or not…”
Clauses that remove a vendor’s liability for any damages, costs, or interest, whatsoever or howsoever arising
Such clauses lead to very expensive litigation or loss.
It is no answer to say one did not read the contract and assumed the contract contained different conditions (as in the so-called “standard contract”). As computers now prepare most contracts, the terms in the documents appear as standard terms when in fact, they can be quite detrimental to your position in the contractual relationship. This will expose you to unnecessary and unreasonable costs and risks.
The only way to protect you is to have all contracts carefully examined and reviewed so we can highlight the areas of risk exposure.
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Behan Legal assists and advises on these important issues. For an appointment, call 03 9646 0344