Legalzoom may have an excellent marketing strategy, but they are not a replacement for your Attorney.
An Attorney is ethically bound to look out for your best interest above all else. Legalzoom exists to make a profit and if that means selling you every form they have (regardless of your needs) I assure you they will do it.
Here is an article on the specific differences between a Licensed Attorney and LegalZoom.
When forming an Ohio LLC, creating a Corporation, preparing contracts for your business, or registering trademarks it is imperative to obtain advice rather than relying on a reprinted form without understanding what it means, how to use it or which state it was intended to be used in.
In some cases, businesses and customers can develop different expectations about of the cost for goods or services. This can be the product of a simple misunderstanding about the terms and conditions.
The best way to avoid this type of dispute, is to do not allow any money to change hands or work to begin before there is a written agreement, signed by both parties.
Within the agreement, make sure there is a clear cost for all services, potential variables on delivery, date of completion, and an objective statement for what services will be provided. Most disputes are based on a misunderstanding on what work was going to be done and what the cost would be.
For example, if the company is providing roofing services, the agreement should specify what type of shingle would be provided. If the contract just says "roof replacement," your shingle expectation may be different from the customer's expectation. This protects both sides and sets a verifiable expectation of services.
As with all Agreements, the best practice is to have the terms reviewed with legal counsel.
Why is this important?
When a person has a medical need, there are symptoms which physically manifest as a warning. There are also preventative check-ups which are used to limit future risks.
When businesses have a legal need, it can be hard to recognize the symptoms or circumstances where preemptive action is necessary. When a legal problem does present itself, the cure is always more costly and time consuming than prevention.
How does a business owner know what legal questions he or she should be asking?
Business owners focus their work on maintaining a profitable and sustainable company. In this pursuit, legal well-being plays a vital role but can be overwhelming when the issues are unknown.
To address this universal business problem, I have created a concise (one page) Legal Check-up. This Check-up is written specifically for small business owners to do a self-exam. The Check-up will provide insight into the company's current legal well-being and a road-map for action on future legal needs.
Requirement of Notice of Cancellation
To avoid the requirement of supplying the homeowner with a Right to Cancel the Contract, you must have one of the follow:
A fixed location in Ohio where your goods and services are regularly offered at a business establishment at a fixed location, open to the general public and the buyer initiates the contact between the parties for the purpose of negotiating a purchase.
The buyer has initiated the contact and specifically requested the seller to visit the buyer's home for the purpose of repairing or performing maintenance upon the buyer's personal property. (Note: If, in the course of such a visit, the seller sells the buyer additional services or goods other than replacement parts necessarily used in performing the maintenance or in making the repairs, the sale of those additional goods or services does not fall within this exclusion.)
If you do not qualify for these and the solicitation is at the buyer’s home you must provide a completed “NOTICE OF CANCELLATION.”
There are strict requirements for the presentment of this Notice and the language in this Notice. Failure to adhere to these requirements will result in a violation of the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act with three times the contract amount in damages (treble), attorneys' fees, and court costs. It is imperative to seek qualified counsel's advise on your business to ensure compliance with the statute.
There are some contracts in Ohio that allow consumers to revoke within three days of signing. These types of contracts include: Prepaid Entertainment Contracts and Home Solicitation Sales Contracts. (Defined below).
In both cases, the business owner must give the exact statutory written notice of the customer’s ability to cancel the contract. If the business does not comply with the strict written notice requirements, the customer can revoke at any time until proper notice is given. Further, if there is a dispute, the business could be held liable for the entire amount the customer paid, penalties, court costs, and attorneys' fees
Prepaid Entertainment : A contract under which the customer pays for or becomes obligated to pay for a service prior to receipt of those services. Some examples include: dance lessons, social referral services, martial arts training, health spa, or exercise membership. ORC Ann. 1345.41 (2005)
Home Solicitation Sale : A sale of consumer goods or services in which the seller or its agent solicits a consumer at their residence. This includes solicitations in response to an invitation by the consumer. ORC 1345.21(A).
There are some exceptions within these requirements. The rules and exceptions should be thoroughly evaluated before making any legally binding decisions.
Elliott Stapleton Attorney with CMRS Law