Entering into poorly drafted or negotiated contracts can create serious consequences. Therefore, you should always ask your Peachtree City business lawyer to review the ones involving large sums of money before ever signing them. Far too often, we all tend to let our guard down, especially when interacting with regular customers. Fortunately, the law will sometimes provide a legal remedy if one party has taken gross advantage of the other.
If you’ll quickly glance at the list below, you should become better prepared to spot certain injustices that may lie hidden in future contracts – or at least be able to get a court to consider voiding one due to the other party’s wrongdoing.
Activities and Circumstances that Can Render Some Contracts Void
A Blatantly Unfair or Unconscionable Contract. Courts sometimes refer to contracts indicating that one party has all of the power and the other party felt forced to sign it as “contracts of adhesion.” If you’ve ever signed a grossly lopsided used car purchase contract, you probably seen this type of contract.
However, if the party in the stronger position can prove you fully understood all aspects of the contract prior to signing it, you may be unable to get a court to void it. Often, blatantly unfair contracts involve parties who misrepresent what the contract terms actually mean to the weaker parties, thereby taking gross advantage of such individuals or companies. For example, some used car contracts claim that you can bring your vehicle in for basic repairs and the car dealership will handle all of them for “free.” Yet once you bring the car in for such repairs, the dealer refuses to honor this part of the contract.
Another more common business scenario occurs when a dishonest seller fails to tell you that his shipping fees have recently more than tripled for the large items you’ve ordered. If these fees are now prohibitive for you, it may be possible to get this type of contract voided by a court, especially if you can prove nondisclosure prior to the shipment;
- Misrepresentation. Assume that the farming cooperative your hotel management company normally purchases its fruit from tells you that the apples you ordered cannot be shipped in time to meet the deadline. Instead, you feel forced to accept oranges that you’re told were shipped in their place. However, the oranges are ruined due to a recent freeze and you cannot use them. You can probably argue that the quality of the goods substituted was misrepresented to you and that the contract should be declared void, preventing you from having to pay for the damaged fruit;
- Against public policy. Let’s say you’re in Colorado now, running a legal store selling marijuana. You’re eager to obtain your next shipment but the seller tells you that you must agree to also purchase an added stash of cocaine in order to still receive the marijuana you ordered. Since cocaine is still illegal in Colorado, you can probably have this part of the contract voided as being both illegal and against public policy;
- A mistake was made by one party. Let’s say you ordered new metal lounge chairs for the pool area of your resort, along with the comfortable pads that fit them perfectly. At the warehouse, a new employee picked out the wrong pads that are far too small and sent them along with the chairs. Most courts would not make you pay for the faulty lounge chair pads. You would be entitled to your money back for that part of the purchase – or the court might cancel the entire contact;
- If you’ll recall, one of the examples above regarded a fruit shipment. Here’s a slightly different scenario. Let’s say you normally order Florida oranges every January from a specific company. However, shortly before the company was planning to send the oranges to you, a deep freeze ruined the entire crop. A court may choose to void this contract since the seller was prevented from filling your order, due to know fault of his own.
Other issues can also lead to a contract being voided. For example, one person may use “undue influence” to get a contract signed or a minor may negotiate a contract for new games or toys. Such contracts will usually be voided by a court. However, if a minor contracts for certain necessities like food, a parent or other caregiver may have to pay for such delivered goods.
Whenever you suspect that you’re a victim of an illegal contract, always immediately speak to your Peachtree City attorney to see if you must take legal action to absolve you from fully honoring any duties under it.
To obtain help with handling all of your Georgia business planning needs, please contact Shane Smith Law today. You can schedule your free initial consultation with a knowledgeable Peachtree City estate planning attorney by calling: (770) 487-8999.