It is not uncommon for most of us to think our rights are fully protected upon signing a legal contract with the other parties. TRUE but not always, depending on whether a contract is specifically drafted in such accurate wording and details, as well as given that other circumstantial factors should also be taken into consideration.
The formation of a legally binding contract should be established by all the following elements: (1) Offer & Acceptance, (2) Consideration, (3) Capacity, (4) Consent & (5) Lawful Purpose.
Let me share and give you some examples that I encountered when people were seeking for my assistance when any dispute arising in relation to their signed contracts.
1) Contract with a Finance Company offering extraordinary high investment return
There was a prospective client who came with a signed contract by a Finance company which offers higher-than-usual investment return. I believe that it is also a common sense that an investor may bear more risk in this company, compared to those well-recognized banks which may not offer such investment return. Most of the time, I figure out that the human capacity of detecting risks hindered by such tempting investment return, without any company background check will be further conducted!
There may be questions you should ask before making this investment decision, such as
(i) whether this business has registered provincially or/and federally;
(ii) whether this business already in liquidity or bankruptcy;
(iii) whether you have checked any recent or/and past news about this company;
(iv) whether the company already has creditors; if yes, secured or unsecured;
(vi) whether the company has limited liability to creditors, investors or such in terms of its business structure e.t.c;
If not much information can be retrieved by your research or in a unsatisfactory manner, your signed contract is more likely less enforceable when the problem occurs.
2) Service Retainer with an Immigration Consulting Firm
This client has made a significant amount of retainer deposit with the immigration consulting firm. Although there was a contract signed for the immigration service, this firm did not exist for long after this retainer and her case was passed to another immigration firm without her acknowledgment until recently.
This client was not quite satisfied with the work done during the transition to the new company, and tried to locate the previous immigration consultant who she signed the contract with. It is hard to look up the profile of this immigration consultant under the regulatory body, because the name on the contract is not the consultant's official name and without license number disclosed as well. Therefore, there is no way to proceed this case further to seek for any liability from this immigration consultant.
Furthermore, there should be terms and conditions included in the contract for a better protection of consumer's right, for example:
(i) the percentage of amount charge in which stage of work completed;
(ii) the condition in which a consumer can terminate the contract if rendered service is not in a satisfactory manner;
(iii) any refundable policy if the service retainer cannot be completed e.t.c.
3) Service Agreement with a Renovation Contractor
My advice for anyone to obtain a written contract in a home renovation --- not simply just a receipt of the home renovation service. There will be many issues involved and unexpected costs incurred during the home renovation process if no consensus is made before that.
The Service Agreement should include, but not limited to, terms and conditions, such as
(i) specific information about size and colour of materials;
(ii) a detailed description of work to be done;
(iii) the start date & date of completion;
(iv) what happens if the work is not finished on time;
(v) a clear description of any warranties or guarantees e.t.c.
Further details can refer to my article "What a consumer should look for when signing a renovation project with a contractor?" dated on August 27, 2015 in this blog @
I would like to share my client's unpleasant experience when dealing with a renovation contractor. She made a down-payment almost 50% of the total cost (which is only recommended no more than 10% in a down-payment), due to referral from a friend and her immediate trust in this contractor. What happened next? The contractor has just completed his task in half and disappeared.
The client only obtained his business card with his mobile number, when being asked to obtain more information about this contractor. Of course, the contractor cannot be reached via mobile, or his phone can be changed anytime.
The protection of her rights in this home renovation can be better achieved, if she would have done the following:
(i) Verify a business registration in this company;
(ii) Investigate whether the company in a business structure which bears limited liability;
(iii) inquire about any purchase of business insurance as to cover any damages or injured during the work process e.t.c.
Many consumers acknowledge their rights to seek for compensation or/and for damage through Small Claims Court. Apart from the legally signed contract, Little Do They Know that an adequately drafted agreement, the ability to locate the party, and the good assessment of the company's financial position should be established so as to optimize a chance of collecting money after the final judgement!
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be construed as a legal advice, but strictly for information only in this entire website. Please contact Trustworthy Legal Service for your independent legal advice in your particular situation. The first consultation is also required prior to my retainer of your case.
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