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  1. #1
    Addict obliquegeek's Avatar
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    Back dated contract?

    I've recently started a project for a client. We had a meeting, set out a time line and I got the contract drawn up. Since then lots of thing have cropped up and now it's halfway though the timeline we set out and the contracts haven't been signed.

    I've already begun the work am I'm sticking to the original deadlines. I'm about to forward the contract in the next day or two. Should I just use the original, with some of the dates in the past? or do I need to create a new one that just includes the time remaining?

    I'm not worried about the client not paying, and the delay in getting the contract sorted is completely my fault. Just wondering about the legality of it all.

    P.S. Is it possible to agree-on or sign-off contracts via email?

  2. #2
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    I would just leave the original dates, especially if you are still following the original timeline.

    Also, yes, you can legally "sign" stuff via email. It doesn't even take a physical signature, it just takes something indicating that it is a signature (like surrounding it with / /). I would make sure to save the whole email, so the address also indicates it is from that person. (I'm not 100% sure on this, but I've used it in the past and I've seen many others use it in the past as well).

    Though, personally, I prefer a real signature, so you could ask them to print, sign, scan, and email if it wouldn't be too inconvenient for them.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy
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    How messy - if the contract was already drawn up, why wasn't it signed before you began any work?

    If you are on track for the original deadline, send the original contract. I'd suggest in the future you ensure contracts are signed first, then begin the work. You can have the client fax over the signed contract - subscribe to an email-to-fax service like efax.co.uk.

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    Clearly a lot of us is e=uneasy about the thought of starting the work without a siged contract. Well, I do hope you follow through and get on with it. I actually support the fax idea more.

  5. #5
    Life is short. Be happy today! silver trophybronze trophy Sagewing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by samanime View Post
    Also, yes, you can legally "sign" stuff via email. It doesn't even take a physical signature, it just takes something indicating that it is a signature (like surrounding it with / /). I would make sure to save the whole email, so the address also indicates it is from that person. (I'm not 100% sure on this, but I've used it in the past and I've seen many others use it in the past as well).
    That isn't how contracts work. A contract can be enforceable whether it was verbal, written, emailed, etc What matters is whether the two parties had a clear understanding of what they were doing when they entered into the contract, whether they had a true exchange of goods/services/value, and whether they terms of the contract were clearly understood by both to be binding and agreed to. So, surrounding a name with '/' doesn't mean much while typing something like 'I understand and agree to these terms' means a lot.

    Still, there is no substitute for a signature. It's the most widely accepted form of contractual agreement confirmation, so it's extremely hard for someone to say that they didn't understand that they were entering into a contract, etc.

    As for the old contract, I see no problem in signing it as long as the past dates were either met or are no longer relevant - that part of the contract wouldn't very useful, but as long as it's clear what happened with those dates/deadlines (i.e. they were met) it's not a problem. If there is room for interpretation and thus conflict, I'd rewrite the agreement or at the very least add an addendum clarifying the date issues.
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  6. #6
    Addict obliquegeek's Avatar
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    Cheers for the replies, I'm just going to go with the original contract - makes sense and the client is happy with it.

    I know I shouldn't have started without the contract but... I went on holiday a couple of days early, took my laptop with the intention of finishing it off in the sun (instead of at home). Packed the hire car up at the airport after arriving and forgot to remove said laptop from the car roof before driving off! It clung on for dear life up until the first roundabout... When I got home the client was away... and on it went.

    Lessons for today, 1, don't try to wrap up work on holiday and 2, as smart as they are - computers don't fly! There's nothing like a laptop bouncing across the tarmac to teach you a lesson...

  7. #7
    I hate Spammers mobyme's Avatar
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    hehe. Been there, done that, only I drove back and picked up my laptop and it was still working even though half the casing was gone. For the record I usually ask clients to print off the contract and fax it back to me. Sagewing raises a good point about a physical signature being the most widely accepted form of contractual agreement confirmation and I always put "This is a legal contract. Sign it only if you agree to be legally bound by its terms and conditions" it just saves a lot of hassle.
    There are three kinds of men:
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    The few who learn by observation.
    The rest of us have to pee on the electric fence.


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