When did you last read the fine print? Of course, no one ever bothers to read the terms and conditions on their airline ticket until they are stranded at an airport. I feel it’s time again for some home truths on contracts.

Point one: they are usually difficult to read. There’s a reason for that. They are written by lawyers intent on covering their client’s back.

Point two: if you ask the rep to clarify a few points he will tell you what you want to hear, particularly if it was a cold call. 

This brings me neatly to point three: say no to cold callers. Always. If it sounds too good to be true, guess what? It is. Never sign on the spot for a today-only deal. Deals have a better shelf life than most of your stock.

Read at least three bits of the contract’s terms and conditions. How long is it for? What are the cancellation penalties? Is it transferable - and without an on-cost - if you sell up? And, if it’s equipment, make a particular note of where the finance is coming from. 

If there are any changes agreed between yourself and the company concerned, get it in writing. 

I can hear you all tutting from here who would be foolish enough? etcetera. 

Judging from my phone calls, plenty busy, trusting people trying to run a business who find out the hard way that the deal wasn’t what they thought. Read on for more on the subject.