Read thoroughly before committing yourself to a contract. *AFP photo
Read thoroughly before committing yourself to a contract. *AFP photo

lot of people do not realize that as a result of every purchase you make, a contract exists.

Whether buying a car, bike, food, water, clothing, going to the doctor, eating in a restaurant, writing a cheque or charging on your credit cards — you are entering into a contract. 

So, what exactly is a contract? A contract exists when two or more competent people agree on what will or will not be done, usually for a price.

 If there is an offer and an acceptance, whether written, verbal or implied by actions – it is a contract.

Every sale is an offer to make a contract and if you accept, the contract is made.

Before you agree to any sale be sure that you understand what you are agreeing to.

Far too often people are finding out what is in their contract after they have signed it — this may be too late. 

Contracts should be read thoroughly before you or anyone on your behalf signs them. Read the entire contract, including the fine print and ask questions if there is something that you do not understand.  

The contract should clearly state everything that has been agreed to and if you don’t understand or agree to the contract do not sign it.

Remember, you do not have to sign a contract immediately and if you are not happy with the terms and conditions of the contract you should either negotiate better terms, or walk away and give someone else your hard-earned money — someone who will provide reasonable and fair terms for you.

If you are about to enter into a contract remember the following:

Make sure you are getting exactly what you need and want.

• Read carefully and understand the entire contract.

• If you are not pleased with the terms and conditions, do not sign it.

Whether long or short, a good contract is fair for all parties... it is clear and upfront and has no hidden surprises. 

At Consumer Affairs, we offer advice to consumers, businesses and other organizations. Before contacting us we recommend that you first visit our web-site, and read the relevant advice. If you are unable to find the information you require on our web-site please email us at

Honey Adams Bell is the education officer for Consumer Affairs.