Tag Archives: contracts

Do Online Legal Forms Deliver on Their Promise to Save You Time and Money? PART II: What Do You Get With an Online “Legal” Form?

Image for Legal FormsIn Part I of this series, we explored the enforceability and trustworthiness of online legal forms and learned that there is more to effective and enforceable documents than nice-sounding language. This post discusses the services provided by online legal form providers (other than allowing you to download a standardized document that may or may not be legal, enforceable, or applicable to your situation).

What Services Do Online Form Providers Offer? 

The terms and conditions of the top online legal forms providers make clear that, despite the implication that you can “Do it Yourself” with their forms, even they recognize that legal judgment is also needed in order to ensure that the “form” language you are purchasing makes sense for how you intend to use it.

One online form provider provides documents that they say they will guide you through, claiming:

These legal documents, forms and letters make it simple for you to create legally-binding agreements at no cost. Whether you’re documenting a deal, forming a business, or doing something as simple as selling a car, you’ll find free legal documents for almost any need.

But, they end this claim by acknowledging they can’t provide legal advice or exercise judgment:

And if you have any questions about our online documents or forms, we’re always happy to connect you with a lawyer to make sure everything is legal.

In other words, the form provider will not, in any way, guarantee that “everything is legal,” Continue reading Do Online Legal Forms Deliver on Their Promise to Save You Time and Money? PART II: What Do You Get With an Online “Legal” Form?

Do Online Legal Forms Deliver on Their Promise to Save You Time and Money? PART I: BUYER BEWARE

fine printIn our digital information age, “online” is the first place many of us go with a tricky question like, “What year did Elvis enter the Army?” (A: 1958) or “Are there alternatives to the ‘Cone of Shame’ for my pooch who just had surgery?” (A: Yes – in fact, there are many good alternatives; my dog liked the ProCollar™ best). How about “What form of business entity should my new company take and which documents should I use to create and manage the entity?” (A: It depends. Only by applying legal knowledge to multiple factors can this be answered.)

EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT:
Unenforceable Online Legal Form Exposes Company to Potential Liability

No business owner wants to see its company name in such a headline. But, that is precisely the type of outcome the small experiment I just conducted could have led to.13619765-young-newsboy-holding-up-a-newspaper

In order to speak intelligently about online legal forms, I obtained one. To protect the not-so-innocent, I’ll withhold the name of the form provider and will not share their proprietary information here.

Here’s my take on the form agreement the site allowed me to generate: Continue reading Do Online Legal Forms Deliver on Their Promise to Save You Time and Money? PART I: BUYER BEWARE

3 Ways to Make Sure Customers Who Pay Late Don’t Create Even More Headaches for You

imageYou rightly expect your customers to pay their invoices on time. But, understanding human nature, you prepare for late payments by letting them know you will charge a late fee if they don’t pay on time.  You may ultimately end up bringing them to court. To make sure your righteous quest to get paid doesn’t end up getting YOU in hot water, here are three things you can do:

1. Be sure your contract with the customer provides for payment of a late fee. If you have not contracted for it, you may not be able to assess it. The customer has to know that paying late will result in extra fees.

2. Check your state law for limits on the late fee that may be assessed.

3. Be careful not to inadvertently bring the transaction under the requirements of your state’s consumer credit laws. This can happen primarily in three ways: Continue reading 3 Ways to Make Sure Customers Who Pay Late Don’t Create Even More Headaches for You

Can a Business Make Consumers Arbitrate Disputes?

Question: Can a business make consumers arbitrate disputes the consumer may have with the business?

Answer: Only if the consumer agrees to it. But, this agreement may be done at any time.

arbclauseAlthough there is a federal law that supports the right to agree to arbitrate disputes – the Federal Arbitration Act – at  its heart, arbitration is a matter of contract. In order to have their disputes decided in arbitration, the parties to the dispute must agree to arbitrate it. This agreement often happens at the time the contractual relationship is formed, whether that is through a software licensing agreement, loan agreement, purchase agreement, service agreement, or some other agreement between the business and its customer. If there is no pre-dispute arbitration agreement, the parties can agree that the dispute should be decided in arbitration after the dispute arises.  One way or another,  for disputes to be decided in arbitration, the parties must agree to settle their dispute in the arbitration forum. Continue reading Can a Business Make Consumers Arbitrate Disputes?