General terms and conditions
Add general conditions to your commission contracts and you no longer have to consider if you have settled the main legal aspects and thus already have your legal foundation ready. Your general conditions let the other party know exactly where he stands. This avoids unnecessary misunderstandings and conflicts about the basic rights and obligations. In combination with insurance policies, this is often a good way of limiting your risks as an entrepreneur.
Topics that are frequently dealt with in general conditions are:
- The limitation of liability, for example with a financial limit
- The payment, for example within two weeks after the invoice and/or (partly) payment in advance
- The quote/tender, for example for how long it applies
- The manner of dealing with conflicts
- If applicable, suspended delivery pending full payment and/or guarantees.
The other party must have been in a position to familiarise himself with your general conditions before concluding the contract. There are various ways to do this. Usually it is done with a hyperlink to your general conditions, or by enclosing a copy of them with your quote. You can also deposit your general conditions with the Chamber of Commerce or the magistrate’s court, but that is not compulsory. There is no point in putting the general conditions on the invoice, that is too late.
Do not include any unreasonable conditions
To protect private individuals against unreasonable general terms and conditions, a 'grey and black list' has been included in the law, which lists unreasonable provisions that are not allowed. If your general conditions contains provisions that are on the legal grey or black list, those provisions will not apply when you conclude a contract with a customer, for instance if you teach or sell to private individuals, or act on behalf of individuals. If you work with business partners, these lists do not concern you, but even then the conditions must not be unreasonable.
Watch out for conflicting general conditions
You and the other party both have general conditions. Which ones apply in this case? This is known as the battle of forms. First assess how important the conflicting provisions are for you both and try to find a solution beforehand. If that does not work, you should seek legal advice.
Drawing up your general conditions yourself
If you want to draw up your general conditions yourself, take a good look at what others do. What have your colleagues included in their general conditions? Are there trade unions or other representative bodies in your profession with standard general conditions that you can use? The Chamber of Commerce has extensive and clear information on drawing up valid general conditions.