Are there standard legal hire contracts ?

  setecio 19:48 13 May 2007

Are there any standard legal hire contracts to put on the back of a form for customers to sign for hiring out small consumer electrical goods stuff (eg audio / hifi systems) , that cover the most important areas. If so any links to free ones ? Thanks.

  wee eddie 21:18 13 May 2007

If you are ever going to need to enforce any infraction. Then you will need Legal assistance.

The best legal assistance will come from the Company that wrote the Contract. They will probably have copied it as well, but as it is theirs, they will be obliged to ensure that it works.

If you arrive at a Solicitors with one written by someone else (just like a hair dresser says "and who did your hair last time" with a touch of scorn) "Well there may be some problems here. I'm afraid it'll cost you"

  setecio 22:21 13 May 2007

It would be more as a sort of hobby thing on a small scale to start with, and investing in serious legal fees would be unlikely. I'd take a chance on the damage/theft/non payment issues.

My main concern would be covering myself against the sort of highly unlikely (and hopefully never happens) but devastating event of something like a fire from equipment left unattended and on overnight or electric shock or those sort of unlikely but serious events, and also (sadly in this day and age) the unlikely 'claim for anything brigade' who falsly might throw an electric shock claim in or similar.

So it would be from a reative point of view rather than a proactive.

I have hire contracts from similar companies that I have hired from in the past, and these cover all the issues concerning me.

I know that many forms of artwork are copyrighted, and righly so, but are legal agreements copyrighted. I can see 2 viewpoints:
1)Legal terms are in a different category and have no copyright, and there would be many cases of almost identical wording, so copyright is not allowed, and it would be totally impractical.
2)Companies solicitors have the copyright on legal agreements.

Yes, I am asking can I just copy and adjust the contracts that the other firms issue? Is that allowed ?

  Taff™ 07:13 14 May 2007

In my honest opinion you need to rethink this. Hiring out any electrical equipment on a commercial basis requires you to comply with regulations. Testing of the equipment prior to hire and on return and keeping appropriate records. You need to have accreditation and training to do this. You would also need to have suitable Product Liability and Public Liability Insurance probably starting at £2 million per incident etc

See here for PAT Testing information click here

As far as Terms and Conditions are concerned it is basically up to you to decide but as you say many are very similar. If you decide to "adopt" a set and tailor them to your needs that`s fine but in practice they will only be tested when you come to a dispute. Ultimately they could be tested in court and the only winners there are the legal profession.

  setecio 09:15 14 May 2007

Thanks Taff.

  setecio 23:16 14 May 2007

A question just struck me about that PAT site click here

'This in effect requires the implementation of a systematic and regular program of maintenance, inspection and testing. The Health & Safety at Work Act (1974) places such an obligation in the following circumstances:

3. Where appliances are supplied or hired.'
end quote

What about the huge number of ebayers dabbling as a small business in the supply of portable appliances which would fall into this category. Do you think they would have even thought about this ?

  Taff™ 06:21 15 May 2007

Very grey area! For example many of the charity shops will not accept donations of, or sell electrical appliances because they don`t have the facilities to PAT test them.

I`m sure that if there was a serious electrical fire caused by such an appliance there would be recriminations. In fact I recall that one of the consumer bodies did tests on second hand equipment and found that many failed these tests.

As another example of Health & Safety these PAT tests must be carried out by all businesses on their own appliances. Company Directors are responsible to ensure these are done and there are potentially heavy fines if they are not. When these were first introduced over 15 years ago I recall several fan heaters, kettles and even a calculator charger being condemned.

This year I went to do an presentation at the head offices of a high street bank. I was not allowed to plug in my laptop unless their electrical team tested the charger.

  wee eddie 08:17 15 May 2007

When I first implemented it in my Restaurant, the Tech doing the job likened it to an MOT for Electrical Appliances.

First time out, only two items failed. They appeared to be working well, so he stripped them down for us and when shown the fault I was quite happy to scrap them. One other piece needed the (non moulded) plug rewiring. That was all.

We did upgrade the fuse boxes, on his advice, which proved very expensive.

  setecio 12:59 15 May 2007

I assume that in the case of retailers PAT would not apply, as the goods are new, and the onus would be on the manufacturers.

What would be the situation for people selling goods which are effectively new (still sealed in manufacturers boxes), but aren't appointed as suppliers by the manufacturers, which would probably be the case with alot of the ebay traders? I wonder if the onus would fall on the sellers or the manufacturers ?

  Taff™ 16:42 15 May 2007

Definately the sellers if something goes wrong. (Initially) In the above example my laptop was less than 12 months old - mattered not a "jot" - H&S said I couldn`t plug it in anywhere in their building.

When you purchase an item you have to keep records that can be produced to show where you sold/hired and it and in the latter case what tests you did when it was returned to you to ensure it had not been abused BEFORE you "hired" it out to someone else.

  setecio 22:18 15 May 2007

In the case of selling goods 'as new' where they are unopened, it is not possible to test them (without opening them), and as they haven't been used the liability for the goods being 'safe' and tested would fall back on the manufacturer. So for ebayers or anyone selling goods 'as new' I assume PAT is irrelevant, but in the second hand market it would be relevant?

I've ruled out the hiring out of equipment, but am wondering about selling it 'as new' or unopened. I'd be too much of a small fry to get any retail accounts from the manufacturers, so the option would be just to buy through ordinary channels and sell on 'as new' 'unopened'. To me it seems PAT wouldn't apply, but do you know if that is true, but if something went on fire would I still be liable for selling the goods (which seems unfair) or would liability be on the manufacturers? (I know warranty for the goods would lie with me, but would liability for unsafe products ?)

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