Monday, March 31, 2008

Contract Disputes

In the course of a business, disagreements have a tendency to arise. Timeliness of payments are probably the most common, but terms of a contract often come into question, especially when some of the so-called "fine print" comes into play. For the record, I do not have fine print on the contracts my company produces. We prefer to make sure everything is easily read and understood by those who sign agreements. By being up front, disputes can be resolved more easily when things deviate from the norm.

Today I had to handle two disagreements on contract terms. In each case I listened to the concerns of the offending party - the disagreements surrounded improper procedures - and agreed with how the dispute would be dealt with. What I find most interesting about these sorts of disagreements is how easily people will go back on their own word for the sake of keeping their money. Often they swear they never signed such an agreement, and when the agreement is presented to them they are quick to explain their lack of understanding in that area. Of course they would never have signed such an agreement had they known the true meaning. In other words, they probably did not read anything carefully and now expect the penalties for their mistakes to simply be waived. Does it matter that their word is forever questioned? Of course not, so long as they get to keep their money. Does it matter that the reason for the penalty is to keep the company in business? Again, no, because they are looking out for themselves, not the company they work for or with.

I realize that a lot of the "Me First" mentality has become ingrained in the fabric of our nation. I realize that people really started looking out for number one when their employer started considering too many of them expendable. The tragedy, though, is good employers get mistreated just as much as good employees because of these arrangements. Companies that protect their employees, vendors, and clients are very often taken advantage of, and many times those companies end up going out of business. In some instances the loyalty of the employer is rewarded with loyalty from the employee and vice versa, and those relationships grow and thrive. I feel like my business has built a reputation based on honesty, integrity, and positive relationships. I would like to see that reputation begin to pay more dividends again. Here's hoping for a bright future soon.

-- Robert

P.S. I realize the end of this post is extremely convoluted. I feel like I am rambling and I could not seem to bring the post to a logical conclusion.


Melissa said...

I'm always surprised when people say stuff like "Oh, they really meant that?" I'm trying to make sure my kids understand that now. It will make their life so much easier in the future.

Oh, and sorry about the waiting (previous post). That's just annoying.

Robert said...

Yeah, it does amaze me when people are shocked when it comes time to pay for their mistakes.

I'm also tired of waiting, but I have no way to do anything about it, so I just have to suck it up and move forward.

le35 said...

I think it's because those people are used to people not meaning things they say. One instance is parents who give ultimatums but don't carry out the consequences when the child tests the limits

Robert said...

That's definitely one of my pet peeves, parents who make empty threats. My parents had a bad habit of doing it, but I called them on it and they calmed down (most often their threat was to get me to do something on their schedule instead of mine, not because I was truly doing something wrong). I've seen plenty, though, who make big, dramatic statements to scare their children but then fail to carry them out because what they said was basically insane (or, most often, completely unreasonable). I know they lose credibility with their children when they do that.