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Lopsided legal agreements and verbal "we won't do that" responses - The Autobiography of Russell
Life from a different perspective
zimzat
zimzat
Lopsided legal agreements and verbal "we won't do that" responses
Why are legal agreements frequently lopsided to heavily favor the one who is providing service or employment? The consumer and the individual often get easily shafted by these agreements. They make things apply to the consumer getting a service but provide very little in return beyond a service they stipulate they may or may not deliver upon and can't be held against them if they don't or it doesn't pan out to be what was originally promised (like so many ISP "speeds up to" disclaimers).

Personally I'm getting tired of being verbally assured an agreement doesn't mean what it says or that they'll never use it that way. If that's really the case then what's so hard about adding a written clause stipulating the usage?

One argument I've heard is that the person isn't authorized to make changes to the agreement. This was in the case of a recruiter for a large firm, so I could sort of see that, but then we go back to my original point that legal agreements often shaft the consumer with no recourse beyond "don't use their service". If their service happens to be the only good high-speed internet provider in the area and your line of work requires a high-speed internet connection then the only way "don't use their service" becomes feasible is if you change your career or move. For something that's becoming a staple like electricity or water that's hard to argue as a justified response.

Current Mood: blah blah

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Comments
mai_neh From: mai_neh Date: February 25th, 2014 10:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Even worse, sometimes these standard agreements require you to agree to something that is not actually enforceable under local or federal law. But how would you know, unless you consulted your own attorney.

Unfortunately, this is an exercise of market power. They have it, you probably don't. Until you reach the career level at which they feel they must negotiate with you over the terms of your contract or you will go elsewhere. But at that level you will have retained your own attorney to negotiate for you.

Another solution that has pretty much been abandoned in the US is the formation of labor unions. Labor unions give workers market power and collectively hire attorneys who can negotiate on behalf of all the workers. Then you get an employment contract that is a two-way street, not something written solely by the employer's attorneys.
zimzat From: zimzat Date: February 26th, 2014 02:17 am (UTC) (Link)
Employment contracts are an even bigger beast, especially with software developers. Many of them include non-compete clauses that make any work in software development as competing. They often say you can't work on anything else while employed with them (no freelance projects). Some even go so far as to say any projects created, even off-site and having nothing to do with work, are considered theirs. It gets ugly fast. The worst part? Many software developers make up to six figures and companies still try to put stupidity like that in their contracts.

I like the idea of labor unions, though a number of high-profile disputes have felt like the workers are all on the side going "rah rah rah, save our jobs" while the big wigs are negotiating a minor pay raise and a couple extra benefits for a few to sweeten the pot. They have potential, but I don't see it used very much.
andrewshead From: andrewshead Date: March 2nd, 2014 10:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
They are called "contracts of adhesion" and they are normally very lopsided for the person without power. I believe that in legal disputes related to contracts of adhesion more leniency is granted to the party with no negotiation power (but I've never fought one myself)
zimzat From: zimzat Date: March 3rd, 2014 11:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
Doing a quick google search on 'contracts of adhesion' shows they still tend to be upheld though it can be up to the judge to annul it anyway. Isn't that the case for any contract in which the judge decides the terms heavily favor one side whether or not that party had all the negotiating power?

*shrugs*
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