– By Aderinsola Fagbure
- What scams should I be aware of when hiring a service provider to handle my digital presence?
- Proper due diligence should be carried out before engaging any consultant. This is particularly important for digital service providers because of the unique nature of the service provided. The scams are generally;
- a) Short-changing the client
- b) Not possessing the skills claimed and marketed
- c) Insufficient follow up post website development and even engaging people who may never carry out the assignment.
Generally breach of contract and non-performance of contract. It is for this reason that it is important to sign a contract with the provider before engaging their services.
- I engaged a web designer to design a website for our business. I paid and later told him to hold off the project for a while. A few weeks ago I started engaging the web designer and he has been reluctant to continue. It’s 3 weeks already and I haven’t gotten any feedback. I would like to know how to engage legally and get a refund.
- Unfortunately, there is no proof as to whether the web developer has started work on your website or not, except he provides you a link to the site. It would have been useful to have put in place a contract which would have had resulting remedies for breach of the contract. The contract could have provided for payment in phases. However, in the absence of a contract, I think you could write a letter to him, giving him a timeframe to either refund the said sum or complete the assignment, after which you will take legal action if he fails.
- After negotiating a new contract, can anything not negotiated be added to a contract without both parties?
- The consent of both parties is needed before the contract can be amended. It is fraud for one party to amend the contract without the knowledge of the other.
- Do both parties have to sign a document for it to be valid?
- It is better for contracting parties to ensure that they sign the contract at the end of negotiations. However, non-signing of a contract does not necessarily invalidate the contract. The court will look at the intentions of the parties. One party cannot rely on the fact that the contract was not signed as a basis to cheat another party.
- I signed a contract for one year with a real estate company for buying a property. But recently we have been unhappy with services provided and decided to terminate by sending them a document to sign. They simply replied the email in agreement but said they weren’t willing to sign because they need it reviewed by a Lawyer but weren’t ready to spend money on one. Is email valid as an effective written notice?
- A well drafted contract should have a termination clause. This clause should provide for the rules of disengagement for both parties. It is for this reason that a lawyer should be involved in the drafting process. However a contract cannot on the face of it be terminated by a mere email. It would be difficult to comment on this exact circumstance because I have not seen and read the wordings of the said contract
- We are a firm that frequently takes remote control of client computers to perform IT services. Is there a form for us to give our clients to acknowledge that we have access to their servers, work stations, etc.?
- A firm that takes remote control of a client’s computers has prioritized confidentiality. It is ideal not only to get clients to sign a form but also a contract which states the extent of their responsibilities and liabilities. Also such a company has to ensure that its employees sign a confidentiality agreement because of the sensitive nature of their role. It is a given that these employees will have access to clients sensitive information/data and must make sure to not divulge such except when compelled under law to do so. The contract or agreement with such clients should take care of issues such as maintenance, access rules in the event of third party engagement, limitation to service obligations, representations and warranties, indemnity and liability, termination among others.
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Aderinsola Fagbure is a Corporate lawyer with a special interest in corporate governance. She is a Senior Associate in the Transaction and Business Support Practice of Esher and Makarios. She is a graduate of Igbinedion University and has a Master's Degree in Corporate Law from University College London. She is a member of the African Society of Crowdfunding. Her column "in black and white "which is published in Thisday Law discusses innovations in corporate governance and finance. Derin is passionate about advising small businesses with a view to ensuring that they outlive their founders. An active bar member, she currently serves as the Chairman of the Young Lawyers' Forum of the NBA Lagos Branch.