NSW Fair Trading: Contracts - know what you are signing for

NSW Fair Trading Minister, Linda Burney, has said that Law Week provided a timely reminder to consumers to make sure they read and understand contracts before signing them.

Ms Burney said a signed contract is a legal document biding you to the terms and conditions regardless of whether you've read it or agree with it or not, according to a statement made on 31/03/2008.

"Consumers can put themselves at serious risk if they sign a contract without fully understanding its implications," Ms Burney said.

Ms Burney said of the 35,000 complaints received each year by Fair Trading, a number relate directly to a contractual dispute because a person has failed to read the terns and conditions of the contract, or simply didn't understand what they had agreed to.

"I urge consumers who are in any doubt to seek independent advice from family and friends. For large and complex contracts, you may wish to consider professional legal advice," Ms Burney said.

Ms Burney provided the following tips for consumers when signing a contract:

  • Be sure you know exactly what you've signing for;
  • Take your time to consider the contract carefully;
  • Don't allow to yourself to be stood over or rushed into signing anything;
  • Be wary of salespeople who won't let you take the contract away to read and tell you not to worry about the fine print;
  • if you don't agree with a particular clause seek to have to removed or amended; and
  • Always keep a copy of everything you sign.

1 April, 2008


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