When was the last time you read the terms and conditions presented to you as you downloaded a program from the internet or signed up to a new website. Programmers often include a checkbox you can’t go past until you have confirmed you have read those dreaded terms and conditions.
With time being a challenge, you may want to get onto the next stage so you check the box and move on.
Now I understand that you may not have the time to read all the small print on every Terms and Conditions but beware- you ignore terms and conditions at your peril. Obviously, to read or not to read all the small print is a personal choice and it is for you to take a commercial decision.
Indeed, you may assume that as those terms are so widely used they must be alright as everyone else has accepted them, but I wonder sometimes who has read all the terms apart from the person who originally wrote them.
Think about it, most legal contracts once signed go into a drawer and don’t come out until the end of the contract or when something goes wrong.
Now be honest and think back to a time when you have entered into a contract in good faith only to be bitten by a clever clause in a contract at a later date.
Now this article is not really about the do and don’ts of contracts.
So let me explain.
Some years ago, when selling a business my solicitor asked me to read and understand the Sale Contract and then to read and understand every change as they were made. Now I’m no lawyer and at the end of the day surely that is what I was paying him to do!
When he saw me losing the will to live he repeated the mantra “The devil is in the detail” and those words have saved me time and time again over the years.
What he was saying was I needed to truly understand what I was about to sign so that I could choose to sign a binding contract. When negotiating any contract get into the detail and understand the underlying message, what is being said not what you think is being said. Sometimes it may not be obvious.
But hang on a moment, that mantra can also apply to most areas of business. When appropriate you may need to get into detail to understand what is really happening not what you think is happening.
Do not rely on the general consensus or opinions of others to make a decision.
Instead, choose to make your decisions based on facts not others opinions
Remember my solicitors wise words
“The devil is in the detail”