Note: originally published at The Breakery.
- Read contracts before you sign them.
- Understand what the terms mean.
- Have a plan for managing your rights and obligations.
Most People Don't Read Contracts
99.9% of contracts signed today are standard-form and non-negotiated. As a result, it's typical for the authoring party to present the contract and for the non-authoring party to sign without reading.
Understanding Isn't Good Enough If You Don't Have a Plan
Obviously, business executives shouldn't sign contracts without reading them first. But neither should consumers. And reading alone is not good enough; you should understand the contract's terms and devise a contract management plan given those terms. This should all occur before the deal is inked.
A Contract-Management Plan Example
Here's an example of what a contract-management plan might consist of. Many contracts include provisions for the authoring party to make unilateral changes to the contract, sometimes with notice and sometimes without.
- What's your plan for detecting changes?
- What's your plan for responding to those changes?
- Do you even know what your response options are?
Too many otherwise sharp folks, executives or otherwise, allow themselves to be governed by contractual obligations for which they have no means of managing. Understanding is not enough if you don't have a plan.
The old "we can make any change we like whenever we want" clause is typical, dangerous, and too important to ignore.
Here's How Veeto.co Works
Much like Mint.com, you sign up by connecting all of the contracts you want Veeto to monitor and manage. Once connected, Veeto alerts you anytime a change occurs and includes:
- An attorney's summary of what that contract change means.
- What your contractual rights and options are in light of that change.
- The option of automating any of those highlighted actions at the push of a button.
Number 3 is cool because it's a task-automation service akin to CellBreaker's cell phone contract breaking service, but it applies to far more use-cases than just getting out of a cell phone contract. For example, Veeto might automate stating your objection to your cable company's proposal to begin charging or increase a lease fee for your modem, and you wouldn't be required to leave your contract as you would with CellBreaker.
Anyway, I think Veeto is super cool (check it out), and it's a free, easy way to check this three-box challenge I've raised to you in this post. Why not, right?