Educational Consumer Tips

Understanding Contracts

Author: Better Business Bureau

Contracts are legal documents that are designed to protect both the consumer and the business involved. Once a contract is signed, it generally cannot be changed or broken unless both prties agree. To protect yourself, BBB suggests you read and thoroughly understand the contract before you sign. The time to change the agreement by adding or removing conditions that you are willing to agree to, is prior to signing the contract. The BBB offers the following tips to consider, before you sign a contract: * Be wary of vaguely worded provisions, exclusions or limitations that could later pose a problem. * Request that confusing or ambiguous statements be either deleted or clarified to your statisfaction. * Don't be pressured into signing a contract before you're ready. Be sure you understand all the terms and conditions. * Keep a copy of the signed contract. Your copy of the contract is the only proof you have of the conditions of the agreement. * Make sure all oral promises are included in the contract. Keep in mind that oral promises are not always legally binding. * All parts of the contract should be completed before you sign. Never sign a blank contract. * In some cases, have your contract reviewed by a legal counsel before signing.