What If Your Christmas Present Turns Out To Be A Lemon?

Understanding Consumer Warranties

This is the time of year when many people splurge on big-ticket items for themselves and their family members, but when these gifts break they often end up in the trash because of warranties that are either too complicated to comply with or expire too soon.

Warranties aren’t required by law, but consumers have come to expect them for most major purchases. Here are some issues to be aware of.

Read before You Buy

A more expensive product with identical features may be worth it if it comes with a longer warranty. For example, the blender that costs $30 more may offer a five-year warranty instead of only one year. If you’re a hardcore smoothie-maker, that could be worth a lot to you.

If warranty terms aren’t printed on the outside of the box, ask a salesperson to open the box for you so you can read the warranty before you buy. Read More

Christmas Gifts Worth Getting: 8 Ideas for your Small Business Wish List

It’s that time of year when people start dropping hints about what they’d like to see under the Christmas tree. It’s also time to think about what to give valued clients, bosses, and employees.

Following are some ideas for business-related gifts that won’t just get re-gifted or end up in a closet. Some of them can even boost productivity. If you’ve been VERY good this year, you could even get one for yourself.

Read More

Are Arbitration Clauses Evil? Part 3

In part 1 and part 2 of this three-part blog we talked about how arbitration clauses work and why they’re controversial.

In this part, we’ll talk about some advantages and disadvantages of putting an arbitration clause in your own contracts.

Using Arbitration Clauses in Your Own Contracts

If you’re the one likely to get sued, then you may think arbitration sounds like a good idea. Before deciding, however, you should be aware of both the advantages and disadvantages of including an arbitration clause in your own business contracts.

Read More

What if an Airbnb Guest Dies on Your Sofa?

Two Must-Do’s To Protect Yourself from the Risks of Running a Home-Based Business

The New York Times recently reported on the death of a guest at an Airbnb rental. When the man swung on a rope swing on a Thanksgiving morning, the tree trunk it was tied to broke and came down on his head — “immediately ending most of his brain activity.”

It’s not so shocking that someone would die at an Airbnb rental. As the Times notes, “Airbnb hosts are putting up so many people each night that fatal accidents are almost inevitable.”

But who assumes the risk of such accidents?

Read More

Are Arbitration Clauses Evil?  Part 2

In part 1 of this three-part blog we talked about what arbitration clauses look like and how they work. In this part, we’ll talk about why they’re controversial.

So what’s wrong with arbitration?

On their face, arbitration clauses don’t seem so bad. What’s not to like about staying out of court?

One problem – at least from the consumer perspective – is that arbitration clauses discourage consumers from bringing class actions.

Read More

Are Arbitration Clauses Evil? Part 1

The New York Times recently ran a three-part series on how arbitration clauses in many contracts “stack the decks” against consumers.

These clauses include language like the following from a contract used by American Express:

You or we may elect to resolve any claim by individual arbitration.

That doesn’t sound so awful – but those dozen words give rise to a host of legal issues.

Read More

How Not to Get Scammed by Service Agreements

A services agreement is just what it sounds like: an agreement to provide services. The type of services involved could be anything that a freelancer, startup, or small business might need or provide. For example:

  • Software/app development
  • Marketing/SEO services
  • Janitorial services
  • Catering for a launch party
  • Computer and/or office equipment maintenance
  • Development of a website
  • Content creation services

Two problem areas where people often get into trouble are:

  • Technical services people don’t understand
  • Long-term agreements they can’t get out of

Read More

7 Ways Your Startup Can Save Money on Legal Services

Legal fees can burn through a startup’s resources fast when firms bill at $500+ per hour. Fortunately, there are alternatives. Your startup can save money on legal services.

Some lawyers are willing to defer their fees until a startup is more solidly established, and others may be willing to work for equity in the company.

We’re going to explore some of these money-saving options:

  • Go to a startup legal clinic
  • Find a law firm you can pay in equity
  • Defer fees
  • Pay-as-you go
  • Use free contract templates
  • Hire a lawyer online
  • Review contracts at lawgeex.com

Read More

14 Types of Contracts Your Startup Needs

No startup is an island. To succeed you’re going to have to form relationships with lots of other people and businesses:  co-founders, investors, employees, vendors, customers, etc. To reduce risk and uncertainty, many of those relationships should be formalized with contracts. Here’s a short guide to the types of contracts your startup needs during the different business stages.

Read More

Can a Pretzel Sandwich be a Trade Secret? – Part 2

In the previous installment, we talked about how Sweet Street Desserts and Better Bakery worked together to create a pretzel sandwich, sharing information under an NDA.

Unfortunately, the parties had a falling-out. Sweet Street claimed Better Bakery had a secret scheme to steal the design and product development qualities of Sweet Street’s pretzel sandwich. Better Bakery denied the “secret scheme,” but it did start selling pretzel sandwiches to third parties.

Sweet Street sued for breach of the NDA.

Read More