Contracts are, by their very nature, designed to protect two or more parties from each other and to hold them accountable. Unfortunately, contracts can be used to undermine and hurt the parties that they were supposed to protect. You have to balance the risk between being legally covered and getting the deal done. We often say that a one-page contract with 2 or 3 of our safeguards in it is safer than a 10-page contract with every addendum known to man hidden in it. Our clients come to us for help on their collections because the majority of them are very experienced in sales and marketing but not so much on the legal or administrative side. So, in order to help, we are going to share the three things you can do when signing agreements to protect themselves legally.
- Outline a possessory period- This should go without saying, but always include a specifically stated possessory period to protect your collateral until the conditions of the agreement have been met.
- Make sure that all of the wording in the document is the same- Many times the terms of the contract will be slightly altered after it is drawn up and some of the wording is changed. Go through the rest of the document and check for any contradicting terms; if you are not careful, you may void yourself out of your own contract.
- Get a signature- This is incredibly important! We have seen time and time again where our client will not get the contract signed, for one excuse or another, and when it came time to collect, the debtor’s attorney fought the collection in court. There is NO EXCUSE for not getting a contract signed.
We may be beating a dead horse, but you will not believe how many times clients come to us because they failed to get a contract signed. We have been in business for 30 years and, in all that time, we have never worked on a collection without a signed contract. The reason this is so important, especially in our business, is because if there are not agreed upon terms and conditions then we can be accused of bank fraud for collecting funds from our clients. If you are not going to get a signature, which we beg you to do, at least have a documented record that everyone knew what the recruiter is doing. We have heard all the arguments from debtors’ attorneys: there was never a discussion to pay for the service or the recruiting firm was acting out of the goodness of their heart when they sent candidates to a client. Yes, we really have heard that, and even worse is that it held up in court.
Protect yourself and your business by following our three suggestions: outline a possessory period, check that all of the wording is the same, and get a signature. If you need help with your contracts or want legal advice, contact Samantha Cole at email@example.com.
Quote 1: If you are not careful, you may void yourself out of your own contract.
Quote 2: There is NO EXCUSE for not getting a contract signed.