Reading terms of trade for every new service provider and piece of technology can seem tedious. However, not reading and agreeing to the other side’s terms of trade before agreeing to trade can lead to problems for your wallet and your peace of mind. We set out a few examples of why it is important to carefully read terms of trade. Limitations on liability are often included in terms of trade.

Limitations may mean, for example, that a supplier who does not provide all the goods ordered, or if some of their goods are defective, will only be liable for the cost of the shortfall, not for the potential costs that might result from that shortfall. Some limitations will even cap liability at a fixed amount that may fall well short of the loss they cause.

Watch out for delivery terms. Terms of trade will often state whether time is, or is not, of the essence. This can either mean that a supplier is not bound to deliver goods by any certain date, regardless of the consequences, or that a purchaser need not pay for goods received before or after certain dates.

As vital as it is to read the terms of trade of any business you are dealing with, it is even more important to ensure that your business has its own terms of trade. There are many protections and conditions that are not legally available unless agreed to by the parties.

DISCLAIMER: All the information published in Rural eSpeaking is true and accurate to the best of the authors’ knowledge. It should not be a substitute for legal advice. No liability is assumed by the authors or publisher for losses suffered by any person or organisation relying directly or indirectly on this article. Views expressed are those of individual authors, and do not necessarily reflect the view of this firm. Articles appearing in Rural eSpeaking may be reproduced with prior approval from the editor and credit given to the source. Copyright, NZ LAW Limited, 2020. Editor: Adrienne Olsen. E-mail: Ph: 029 286 3650 or 04 496 5513.

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