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Contract Acceptance

Contract Acceptance

Contract Acceptance

I'm not sure if this is the correct forum for this question, but here goes.

I am considering adding a clause in my contract that states that payment for services constitutes acceptance of the terms and conditions of the contract regardless of it being signed by the client.

Is this legal or would it potentially void the contract?  How do you handle it if you do not get a signed contract, but do the work and get paid for it?

Thanks in advance.


RE: Contract Acceptance

I would doubt the legality of that one would stand in court... who says the client ever saw the contract?  You could give them a verbal quote, do the service, they pay the bill... they never saw a contract, yet they're somehow supposed to abide by the rules set therein?  I don't think so.

Dan - Owner

RE: Contract Acceptance

I am an engineer - my brother is the lawyer..  Call him...
Or any good lawyer in your area..

RE: Contract Acceptance

Legality is a different issue than enforceability.

The clause may not be enforceable, it is legal in the sense that you will not be sent to jail for including it.

I would think that the clause would be enforceable if it was plain and clear on the invoice. You may have   a difficult time enforcing it if it is small print on the back of the invoice.

Having said that, I am not a lawyer and not familiar with the court rulings in your jurisdiction, get legal advice since the free advice you receive here is worth what you are paying for it.

On a more practical matter it just may force your clients to sign the actual contract.

Why are you working without the contract signed anyway? ( I don’t mean starting or getting ready to do the work while a couple small points are still under discussion or the actual document is in the mail but working to the point where an invoice is being submitted.)

Rick Kitson MBA P.Eng

Construction Project Management
From conception to completion

RE: Contract Acceptance

Some of the work we do is very quick turn-around.  I guess I just need to be more insistant on getting the contract signed before work is started.

RE: Contract Acceptance

In my law classes, verbal agreement, under the law, is binding.

The problem comes in the practicality of proving what was agreed to without the paper work.

There are lots of things on many contracts that later prove to be unenforceable, or in some cases, illegal. Hence, usually there is a statement that says something along the lines of "if a portion of this contract is illegal/void, the rest of the contract is still in force".

You can put it in. The legal part of it is usually determined later.

I am not a lawyer.

You should always consult a lawyer when drafting up your standard contract.

"Do not worry about your problems with mathematics, I assure you mine are far greater."   
Albert Einstein
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RE: Contract Acceptance

Your professional liability insurance agent will probably give you "free" (you've already paid for it) advice on this.  It is in their best interest that you have contracts.

You asked if it would potentially void the contract. I'm sure it won't void your verbal contract. blllttt

Let the client know that your insurance company requires signed proposals and then send the contract with the bill, and then pray they don't read the terms and conditions page.

i would be shocked if what you're proposing would stand-up in court.  i'm sure you're working in good faith, but i don't trust my credit card company or mortgage provider that much.

RE: Contract Acceptance

Professionally, I do no work without a signed contract, whatever the amount.  

Please keep advised though that a signed contract is not a guarantee that you will ever get paid.  Even if you go to court and get a favorable decision, you cannot get blood from a turnip.

Mike McCann
McCann Engineering

RE: Contract Acceptance

I guess my rational was that if they were not happy with the service or if they didn't agree with the contract, they wouldn't have paid the bill.

I have seen clauses like this on contracts before, but as was said before, you never know how the courts or a jury would react to it until it's tested.

RE: Contract Acceptance

It really varries from state to state. You should really dicuss with your attorney, although you may have simalar protection under state law. To answer your question, if the contract is not signed, then there is no agreement on any terms, including that term. However, if you perform work at someones request, you are entitled to reasonable compensation for ther work. If you bill by the hour and your rates are similar to other rates and you have timecards for the work, it would probably be the basis of payment.Some states use the last offer as the contract. enerally the question is is what was the understanding of the parties. Generally the courts if they can find no other basis will award on "Quantum Merrit" which is time & materilas, which brings us back to hourly billings. ne point is that general liability insurance(I do not know if this is true for professional liability insurance)may only be enforcible if threr is a contract betwwen the parites, so for insurance reasons it may behoove the owner to sign the contract.

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