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How to gain truth from a document 4: Intention of the parties. Adhesion Contracts Everyday transactions. Most contracts
While some proof remains in the shadows other proof is brightly lit.
We either take it or leave it
Did you know that about 99.9% of all contracts are not negotiated. Grocery store. Department store. Gas station. Credit and debit cards. University and college tuition. Phone, Internet and cable, utilities, garbage pickup, “health” insurance, “life” insurance, and of course fast food and almost all forms of travel.
Nowadays it is not unusual for mortgages, car purchases and even partnership and franchise agreement to be not negotiated. I know some folks head south of our border or to swap meets just so they can bargain with person. But in this modern world almost all transactions are on a take it or leave it basis. Mega Corps are in total control of a situation where they have what you need. So that kind of contract is normally called an adhesion contract. In depth legal analysis is not needed. The term is common in business. (although a good legal discussion is here: http://digitalcommons.law.ggu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1877&context=ggulrev )
Here is a better explanation for consumers and individuals. http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/adhesion-contract.html the really cool thing is that right on the page are several offers for you to agree to an adhesion contract. The internet is filled with them.
Now these are very valid contracts. Two parties enter into an agreement and both parties get a benefit and the terms are normally those allowable by law. And something any study will tell you is that using these contracts helps keep the costs down for both parties and that convenience is no doubt increased.
The problem with these contracts generally occurs when the controlling party does something wrong in the performance of the contract. When the consumer does something wrong it is not so much a problem, because your contract has built in collection and credit reporting, And if people have the money they normally pay their obligations. No so much big corporations. About now you should be asking what does this have to do with getting “truth” from a document.
Position of the parties is relevant when trying to get at the truth
This truth will leap out at you as it is revealed. If this contract is disputed into an arena where facts and evidence is examined, it changes everything. You see evidence, by reasonable people, is given different forms or degrees of weight. There are no disputes unless there are at least two parties. Different areas of contracts are given different weight to each of the parties. Then there is what we all do in argument – “now the burden is on you to prove….” Who has the burden to prove what is essential to ever dispute.
Adhesion contracts are a special species of agreement. And therefore have special rules of engagement. Adhesion contracts shift a burden to the party drafting them and generally is between strictly construed against the drafter or at least some proof that the consumer knew what he was getting into and the contract was fair.
My important message here is that concepts of proof are not limited to exact wording or technicalities well removed from common parlance. Proof of a Truth is often found by looking at the parties to a document and not just the document.