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Contract law training warning from expert

A legal expert is warning businesses to ensure that staff are properly trained to understand contract law in a bid to prevent costly misunderstandings.

Phil Brown, solicitor in the Corporate team at Napthens, reports that businesses rely on standard terms and conditions in their day-to-day dealings with customers and contracts. Such terms and conditions are used in some form or another by most businesses.

However, he cautions that they do have their failings, they may not be properly incorporated into a contract, or if they are, care must be taken to ensure they are not varied in error.

Even a simple mistake by sales staff can mean a business could face a costly court case and financial penalty.

Phil said: “There are many ways in which businesses operate day-to-day which may inadvertently vary a contract.

“For instance, as recent high profile cases have shown, a customer might include their terms and conditions on the reverse of a purchase order, fail to reference them on the front, then scan or fax them to a supplier.

“A supplier might reference their terms and conditions as being available on request, but fail to provide the customer with a copy; or a member of the sales team might make a promise over email or in a phone call that they’re not strictly speaking allowed to make.

“Due to these risks it’s important to train staff in how to effectively sell a service or product based on the standard terms of business. It can be all too easy to either not incorporate them into a contract or to vary them in this way.”