Ensuring your 'preponderance' is solid.
I'm embarrassed to admit that I am a court show junkie! Well, I'm not embarrassed and really I am a specifically 'The Peoples Court' junkie, and if you aren't, it might be a good business move to become one.
If you watch, you will find that the most common theme for the cases of this show is contract cases. Yes, contracts that we rely so heavily on to protect our small business, contracts that we might even have paid someone to write for us, contracts that help us sleep at night...but should they make us feel so confident?
Recently I watched an episode where a Thumbtack Pro was taking a customer to court. The Pro took the customer to court in hopes of demonstrating that regardless of the worldwide pandemic, he was still owed money. The judge refers to the contract that was signed between the two parties and in the end, it favored the defendant...what was one of the biggest mistakes he made, you ask? Simple, not everything discussed or agreed upon was in writing. Although two parties can enter into a verbal contract, and it is considered a legal agreement, if your case went to court, you would have to prove the verbal contract beyond the preponderance of the evidence. Simple small claims court battles like this can cost anywhere between $10 and $200, and if you lose you will be responsible for those costs, possible interest, and the final judgment. (after hours of searching, I found the episode for you to watch (https://youtu.be/n1H3DwX5494)
So, what is the take-home in this case? In my opinion, the thing that shines most to me is that although legal, verbal contracts can be very dangerous. It is probably a bad idea not to have things in writing and as highly detailed as possible - along with any disclaimers, conditions regarding deposits or payments, what the customer can expect in exchange for their money, and so on.
Watch the show, it's entertaining and teaches a lot of good information. Free legal information from Judge Marilyn Milian and her husband who is also a judge, you won't be embarrassed if you become a 'The Peoples Court' junkie like me, and your preponderance will always be solid.
*Here is my disclaimer: This post is not legal advice and should be considered for entertainment purposes only. I am not an attorney and have no scholastic legal training.
@DustiO Maybe a good topic for CommuniTEA? I would love to review some contracts of pros and challenge myself to pick out loopholes, maybe if anyone would like to do this too, we can set up a zoom where we review two or three contracts and as a group discuss the verbiage.
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