Contract: (definition) an agreement between two or more parties for the doing or not doing of something specified. An agreement, enforceable by law. The definition of a contract seems clear, so why are we often disputing them?
A well-written contract protects both the consumer and supplier by outlining what a consumer expects to receive, and what a business is expected to provide. But just what information is required to be included in a contract? What rights do both the consumer and supplier have in regards to promise, delivery and cancellation? The Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act covers four types of contracts:
- Continuing Service Contracts: these are generally a health or fitness membership.
- Future Performance Contracts: a contract you enter into when you do not receive the product or service or you do not make payment in full at the time the contract is made.
- Direct Sales Contracts: this generally occurs when you enter into a contract in person but at a place other than the supplier’s permanent place of business (for example a door to door sale).
- Distance Sales Contracts: this generally occurs when you purchase a product or service not in person and you don’t have a chance to inspect it first.
Consumer Protection BC regulates areas such as what information needs to be shared with the consumer, cancellation rights and the timing of when the consumer needs to get a copy of the contract. There is a lot to know about service contracts. For example, for a future performance contract the business has to give a copy of the contract to the consumer within 15 days after the contract is entered into but for a direct sales contract, the consumer has to get a copy of the contract right away. Cancellation rights also vary by contract types.
Many problems can be avoided when both the business and the consumer are aware of their rights and responsibilities before entering into a contract. Got questions? Please post your question in the comment section below.