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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
Thread started 27 Dec 2018 (Thursday) 10:08
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Can I back out of wedding after I've signed the contract but the clients haven't?

 
PeteBUK
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Dec 27, 2018 10:08 |  #1

Hi all,

I agreed to do a wedding for a couple and have sent them a signed contract. They left it a month then emailed a few questions over to do with the contract. One was to shoe-horn in an extra set up before the ceremony. To be honest this is the final straw and I feel that I was sold it as simple job and each step of the way it was got more complex hence more editing time. I stupidly agreed to do well below my normal rate as the guy who owns the venue is a friend and I thought it'd be a relatively straight forward job. I should have listened to my intuition as now I want to back out but am worried that since I've signed the contract they could sue. They haven't signed the contract yet but I'm sure this makes a difference. Does anyone have any experience of this?




  
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chris_holtmeier
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Dec 27, 2018 11:21 |  #2

Contracts are not valid until both parties have signed.



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Dec 27, 2018 12:38 |  #3

Why not tell the clients that the extra work they're asking for will raise the price? Give them an estimate and let them decide yes or no on that part.


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Dec 28, 2018 17:34 |  #4

If the contract you signed has changed then you need to issue a new amended one with the changes included. By signing You only agreed to the terms on which you signed, contracts are not a blank cheque.


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Post edited over 2 years ago by mdvaden.
     
Dec 29, 2018 11:37 |  #5

chris_holtmeier wrote in post #18778846 (external link)
Contracts are not valid until both parties have signed.

So what you are suggesting is that if the couple signed that copy he sent with his signature, it becomes valid?

I think he should follow through just for an educational experience. It would be like paying for a college course.


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Dec 29, 2018 12:02 |  #6

mdvaden wrote in post #18780189 (external link)
So what you are suggesting is that if the couple signed that copy he sent with his signature, it becomes valid?

I think he should follow through just for an educational experience. It would be like paying for a college course.

I'm not sure where the bolded text came from since I didn't see it in mdvaden's remarks.

I'm assuming the original poster is in the USA; contract law in other countries may be different.

As the other party hasn't signed, they still haven't agreed to the terms of the contract. As they haven't agreed to the terms, there is no contract in force[1] and my opinion is the original poster is free to walk away or submit a new contract with the additional services listed with a new price for those services. The next question is what constitutes a signature- sometimes a reply from an e-mail saying "I agree" constitutes a valid signature [2, 3].


[1] "To show that the signing party has read the contents of the document, understands the contents, and consents to the stipulations of the contract". https://www.lawdepot.c​om …re-need-to-be-in-cursive/ (external link)

[2] "A simple assent from your email account may also be considered a "signature" because it indicates your personal agreement to something.", https://smallbusiness.​findlaw.com …natures-in-contracts.html (external link)
[3] " Furthermore, if there is sufficient evidence of trustworthiness, many states now permit e-mail from a specific account to be regarded as "signed." " https://www.americanba​r.org …hapter_9.authch​eckdam.pdf (external link)




  
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Dec 29, 2018 12:24 |  #7

If they sign the contract that was sent over, they are agreeing to the terms therein, not some other verbally added work.

Either
a) They sign the contract and you do what what is in the contract
b) They toss the contract and you issue a new one for the amended work and amended price and obtain their signature on that
c) They don't sign, you don't issue anything new, and there is no contract


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Dec 29, 2018 23:33 |  #8

Generally speaking, your signature is only so far valid for the stated terms of the contract per that specific date. Additional addendums have not been bargain for and not assented to. They've signed nothing, no contract. If negotiation continues, even through emails, it would seem that no contract (even verbal) has been agreed to.

As the vendor, you'd probably be better served having your clients sign first. You don't gain anything handing over a document with your signature already on it.


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PeteBUK
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Dec 31, 2018 06:27 |  #9

Thanks everyone for your feedback on this. Some really useful points made. I did talk to a contract lawyer in the end (a friend of a friend so no fee fortunately) and he backed up most of the feedback in the thread. A contract is not a contract until both sides agree, until then it's a negotiation on terms. Since they've not agreed to the terms and I'm unwilling to agree to new ones I'm free to walk away.

Thanks again folk.




  
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Dec 31, 2018 07:37 |  #10

Nathan wrote in post #18780659 (external link)
Generally speaking, your signature is only so far valid for the stated terms of the contract per that specific date. Additional addendums have not been bargain for and not assented to. They've signed nothing, no contract. If negotiation continues, even through emails, it would seem that no contract (even verbal) has been agreed to.

As the vendor, you'd probably be better served having your clients sign first. You don't gain anything handing over a document with your signature already on it.

To add to this point, either put a signed contract need-by date in the contract so that they must sign and get the contract back to you by a date, or sit down with them and everyone signs at that point. The last thing you want is for them to sign later and lock in a date that you may have already booked elsewhere. Much like real estate, an offer has an expiration date by which the signed contract has to be back to the selling party.


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Capn ­ Jack
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Dec 31, 2018 08:29 |  #11

PeteBUK wrote in post #18781502 (external link)
Thanks everyone for your feedback on this. Some really useful points made. I did talk to a contract lawyer in the end (a friend of a friend so no fee fortunately) and he backed up most of the feedback in the thread. A contract is not a contract until both sides agree, until then it's a negotiation on terms. Since they've not agreed to the terms and I'm unwilling to agree to new ones I'm free to walk away.

Thanks again folk.

Thanks for letting us know how it ended. Seeing a lawyer provided much more authoritative advice than you'd get from an internet forum.
Just out of curiosity, I read that "...he backed up most of the feedback in the thread."
What, if any, part that did he disagreed with?




  
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Dec 31, 2018 21:43 |  #12

I am wondering whether the contract contained the originally agreed scope of work? If there were details about what would the be actual scenes photographed and what the deliverables were with deadlines then it would be pretty straightforward to me that changing the scope of work required a new contract or addendums to be signed by both parties.


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1000WordsPhotography
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Jan 04, 2019 21:11 |  #13

Someone may have said this but in the future don't sign the contract until your clients do.


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Jan 04, 2019 21:54 |  #14

1000WordsPhotography wrote in post #18784666 (external link)
Someone may have said this but in the future don't sign the contract until your clients do.

This is how I've always understood it. The issuer of the contract signs last. Word of warning in the future.


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Jan 04, 2019 23:32 |  #15

PeteBUK wrote in post #18781502 (external link)
Thanks everyone for your feedback on this. Some really useful points made. I did talk to a contract lawyer in the end (a friend of a friend so no fee fortunately) and he backed up most of the feedback in the thread. A contract is not a contract until both sides agree, until then it's a negotiation on terms. Since they've not agreed to the terms and I'm unwilling to agree to new ones I'm free to walk away.

Thanks again folk.

Wait a minute. I'm missing something, I guess.

From what I understand the clients have the contract which has already been signed by you. If they already have a signed (by you) contract in their hands what is to prevent them from signing it and suing you when you don't show up to photograph the wedding? Seems like you have placed yourself in a precarious position...??? It certainly would be good if you could get that contract back in your possession.


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Can I back out of wedding after I've signed the contract but the clients haven't?
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