Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Scary small print

     Free daily advice for people in small business
     from someone who has been there, done that.

     Every one of us has done it. We download software, and we click the yes button that we agree to the terms and conditions.

     The truth of the matter is we have not read the terms and conditions. We have no idea what's in the small print. 

     It is never a good idea to sign a legal document without reading it. Yet, we do it all the time. Software aside, how about a long-term lease for space?

     Example: A business owner I know was so anxious to get her business moved into a more desirable location, she signed the lease without reading all the small print. Soon, she began receiving bills for electricity and natural gas amounting to more than the monthly rental. Both were used to heat the space, and the bills came from the landlord--not the utility companies. She had an expensive mess on her hands--with no way out but to pay.

     Example: A holistic counselor rented a small office in a professional building without reading the fine print in the lease. Turns out the lease stated that this business agreed to expand into the adjoining office space as it became available. Several months later, the business next door suddenly vacated their space. The holistic counselor was notified that the new monthly rental would triple. Fortunately, this landlord was accommodating and let the holistic counselor out of the lease--writing a completely new one.

     People in business learn quickly that a lease is a legal document. Signing a lease without reading it--and understanding it--can be dangerous. The danger usually lies in the scary small print. 

     Before signing to any legal document, it is a good idea to run it past an attorney. Language you and I use every day can mean something entirely different in court. Of course, an attorney looks for the legalities. You, as a business person, must look for the business aspects. 

     Questions? Email me direct at AlWarr16@gmail.com and put BLOG in the subject line.
     I am retired and I am not selling anything. Your privacy is always respected.   

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