Thursday 18th, July, 2024

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Ten contracts you should read carefully before signing

If you always stop to read the fine print before signing anything, congratulations! If not, beware. Your signature could commit you to a long-term gym membership you do not want, an apartment you cannot afford or worse, paying off someone else’s loan you co-signed.

1.      Insurance contracts

You might want to think twice before you agree to the terms and conditions of these contacts. If they are health insurance covers or education or even for property, be sure to find out to what or who extent they cover and the conditions therein.

Loopholes and ‘small print’ drive people crazy. The coverage, exclusions, and ‘small print’ of the insurance plan are available to read in something called the policy, certificate, or description of coverage may turn out to be a live nightmare.

2.      Vehicle contracts

This applies to both buying and when hiring out cars. It is best to have an expert walk you through the process to avoid getting less than what you paid for.

3.      House/land contacts

Background searches come in handy when it comes to buying such properties or worse still, leasing someone’s property behind their back. Nowadays, people are out there to scam and con you out of your bucks by selling you other people’s dreams. Buyer beware!

4.      Loans

We all need a few more coins once in a while and sometimes, a lot more and thus loans. They could be from shylocks or accredited institutions. Be wary of the terms and conditions lest you agree to put up your property as collateral and bite off more than you can chew. Give it a minute and think through it.

5.      Job contracts

It is everyone’s joy to land a new job but is that job within your confines? I mean, do they require you to work more than the hours specified? Is there a clause you should raise a red flag about? These sub-sections may come back to haunt you after the rubber meets the road. It could turn out to be something you did not bargain for.

6.      Endorsement contracts

Endorsements are largely marketing strategies. To properly execute such endorsements, you have to be well convinced of the products themselves. If you are looking to build a brand, is the product you are endorsing going to help you? Take for example the likes of Stephen Curry who turned down a deal simply because they could not see eye to eye when it came to his faith preferences.

7.      Non-disclosure agreements

Talk about keeping secrets forever, unwillingly. Non-disclosures largely have to do with intellectual property. They may be skewed plots or company take-over plans or any other schemes that demand the persons involved not to tell a soul. Take the secret to the grave and watch helplessly, or not altogether. Have your lawyer read through it with you.

8.      Service agreements

These are agreements for specific acts, such as painting your house or tuning your car, and are distinguishable from contracts for goods used predominantly by contractors, freelancers, and consultants and, generally involve one party paying another party to perform a certain act. Ensure you understand with who and what you are getting your hands into.

9.      Licensing formalities

This is basically the permission to do things with a product that would otherwise be prohibited. When contracts are drawn up, great care must be given to the drafting, as far-reaching rights and obligations between the parties are agreed in the licensing agreements.

It should be kept in mind that licensing agreements not only govern arrangement when the parties are in agreement, but, above all, at a time when the parties to the agreement are no longer in agreement. Stay woke!

10.  Warranty contracts

Although a warranty is in its simplest form an element of a contract, some warranties run with a product so that a manufacturer makes the warranty to a consumer with which the manufacturer has no direct contractual relationship.

It may be express or implied, depending on whether the warranty is explicitly provided and the jurisdiction. Warranties may also state that a particular fact is true at one point in time or that the fact will be continue into the future. Be mindful what product or service you pay for.  

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