Contracts for the Provision of Online Sales or Services

It’s essential to understand the vital roles that contracts will play in your ultimate success if you’re running an online business. Without them, you’ll have frustrated customers who will elect to do their shopping elsewhere. You’ll also find yourself in unnecessary disputes with suppliers and service providers.

Do not give in to the temptation to think that your business is so small that it doesn’t really need contracts. So-called gentlemen’s agreements always backfire. Even written agreements that aren’t legally binding can result in misunderstandings and poor business relationships.

Here are some compelling reasons why contracts are vital.

Things go wrong

There’s no such thing as a perfect relationship, and it’s no different when you’re running a business. When something goes wrong in the relationship you have with a supplier or client, you need legal recourse to rectify the matter. 

You must have a contract with the other party that defines a contractual breach and specifies what relief either party can expect from the other in the event of such a breach. Without a valid contract, there will be no remedy for a failure to deliver goods or services.

You could wind up in a world of trouble

UK laws around the provision of goods and services to individuals and private consumers contain strict regulations. Contravening them can get you into a lot of legal hot water and become very expensive if you have to go to court or pay fines. Getting to grips with the legalities of a contract does not have to be an insurmountable task.

Net Lawman is an extensive library of legal documents, including contracts, that is easily accessible. Users can download the documents in an editable format to make any changes. They can also engage Net Lawman’s legal team to review the contract and suggest any amendments or additions before it is printed and signed.

Align your expectations

You enter into a business relationship with a set of expectations, as does the other party. For the relationship to succeed, both of you must have a mutual set of expectations of what the relationship will entail. 

Whether you initiate the writing of the contract or the other party does, part of it should be devoted to laying out in uncertain terms the scope of the agreement and what each party expects and is expected to do.

The devil is in the detail

While small business owners might not need contracts of the same complexity as large corporations, there are common elements in a good contract. These include clear definitions of terms used in the agreement as well as valuable information such as payment terms, prices and processes for dealing with disputes. 

Other critical points to consider are termination conditions, the term of the contract, and any prevailing laws governing the making of contracts. 

The greater the financial implications of a contract, the more detailed it should be to protect both parties from exploitation. The same principle applies to strongly regulated services, such as child and healthcare.

Sign on the dotted line

A written contract cannot be said to be binding unless both parties have consented to its terms. This consent is demonstrated through the signing of the agreement by the individual or a duly appointed representative of the company. 

An unsigned contract can be deemed binding, but the burden of proof would be greater when proving that it has been agreed upon. The laws on unsigned contracts vary across the world, and it is in your best interests to make sure you and your customer or supplier both sign and date the agreement to enforce its terms and conditions.

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