Are your terms and conditions up to date?

Article

28 September, 2010

If you play a part in the hospitality industry, whether it's hiring out your venue for events and seminars, staging parties or weddings, or providing holiday accommodation, you will need to ensure that you have adequate terms and conditions to protect you in the event of things not quite going to plan.

Here are Forbes' top 5 tips for ways to maximise your protection in your terms of business:

1. Breakages: If the best man accidently breaks a tray of crystal glasses, who would be responsible for the cost of this breakage? The best man? The bride and groom? The person who booked the venue? No-one?!

To avoid any confusion it is important to ensure that the consequence of damaging property is clearly out in your terms.

2. Parties: Who is your contract with? Often the parents of the bride pay for the wedding, is your contract with them?

In most circumstances the bride and groom would want to liaise with you too. If you contract is with the parents, can you take instructions from the bride and groom? Make clear in your terms who are the parties to the contract and who is able to give instructions. After all, the person who signs the contract is the person under an obligation to perform all the requirements of the agreement.

3. Period: A local business has booked your venue to hold a seminar for their clients which overruns beyond the scheduled time slot. Do you interrupt and stop the seminar? Do you let them run on and change extra?

You will need to adequately cover this in your terms. For example, prior to the seminar discuss with the customer what happens if the event overruns and consider setting out in the terms an hourly rate that would be charged.

4. Cancellations and Refunds: In the event that a quest cancels a holiday or a weddings is called off, where the full cost of the hire has been paid, in what circumstances would the deposit or balance be refunded?

In many cases, deposits are non-refundable however you would need to clearly set this out in your terms. You should expressly state at what stage the guest can cancel their booking in order to receive a full or partial refund and whether this should be in writing. For example, if the guest cancels within 48 hours of their arrival, you may choose not to refund the balance unless an adequate replacement for the booking has been found.

5. Possessions: Some guests may bring their own belongings such as computers, projector screens and decorations. What happens if this is stolen or damaged?

If you are not to be held liable for damage or loss you should clearly set this out in your terms. It should be made the responsibility of your guest to ensure that their possessions are not only looked after by them when on your premises but also adequately insured. It may also be useful to place notices within the venue to remind guests of this.

If you would like more tips on your terms ask Forbes Solicitors to review your terms and conditions, contact Charlotte Wood, a Business Law Solicitor on 01254 222399 or freephone 0800 689 0831.

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