Read your contracts

by Martin Reed on 23 March 2007 in Snippets

You hear it time and time again – do not sign anything unless you have read it first! In this digital age it is all too easy to forget this and scroll past terms and conditions and click the ‘I Accept’ box. I will be the first to admit complacency in this regard and decided to take the time to carefully read a revised contract I was sent by one of the advertising agencies I use as a publisher.

The contract was basically a renewal from an earlier one, however the expiry date had been set to 2044. This was my first indicator that I simply had to take the time to read every word. Although the contract did not bind me to the company or bind me to any ad delivery levels, other parts of the contract were simply unacceptable to commit to for such a huge length of time.

The main issue I had was with the following paragraph:

Contract excerpt

Screenshot showing contract clause (click to view)

So basically if I were to sign the contract, I would have committed myself to being unable to contact any advertiser used by my advertising network until 2044! A little unreasonable and certainly something I would never willingly sign!

I contacted the ad agency and told them I would be unwilling to sign a contract for such a long period. They replied stating that there was no committment for me to deliver a specific amount of volume or no wording binding me to their agency. They didn’t seem to understand that there were other points in the contract that I was unwilling to commit to for such a long period of time.

Once I pointed out the specific point above that I was not happy with, they were happy to revise the contract down to a 12 month term.

Imagine if I had not read this contract; I could have been prevented from directly approaching any advertiser using my current ad agency for almost 40 years! This is something I do not currently plan to do, but is something that may be an option in the future.

This incident does go to show the importance of reading each and every contract fully before you sign. It is far too easy to become complacent about this in today’s digital world.

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claudio March 29, 2007 at 3:49 pm

Recently I read a very nice quote: “What’s written in big will be taken away by the small.” (pointing at letters).

Martin Reed March 30, 2007 at 1:27 pm

Welcome to the blog claudio, and thanks for your comment. You are exactly right – in many respects the small print is more important that the large print!

Feliza Handyvertrag January 29, 2009 at 9:06 am

I agree with you when you said do not sign anything unless you’ve read it first. Sometimes I’m doing this; I just click the “I accept” box without reading the entire terms and conditions. Well, this is a lesson learned. Thanks for the insights. Reading first before signing can save us from any trouble.