From time to time, we all receive approaches to advertise in trade magazines or those attached to one of the services such as the police or fire brigade. Recently Hosted Accommodation Australia was copied on a series of emails circulated among small businesses that had advertised last year in the Victoria Police Historical Society magazine and had discovered that they were obligated to advertise again because of a clause in the contract which required them to terminate an 'ongoing' situation.
The sale of advertisements was handled by the publishers of the magazine and the contract contained this clause:
“These terms and conditions will lasts (sic) for the term stated above and will automatically be extended for the same term until these Terms and Conditions are terminated by either party. Either party can terminate these Terms and Conditions by giving written notice to the other prior to distribution. However, if the term or (sic) renewal is for four months, only two months’ notice of termination must be given prior to distribution.”
This clause was repeated at the foot of the Proof of Artwork which the advertiser was required to sign and return.
In the emails circulated among advertisers claims were made as to why they were unaware of the clause, including pressure by the sales person and non verbal disclosure of that particular clause. However, we have seen both the contract and the proof of artwork document that were in the possession of a member who had advertised in the previous year and the clause is there.
Stating the obvious, it is essential to know the terms under which you are entering into a contract to advertise.
- Don’t be afraid to ask if a condition is not clear to you.
- Never be pressured into entering an agreement until you are entirely satisfied that you fully understand the consequences for you and your business.
- If you are interested in advertising in a trade magazine, ask for its circulation and distribution details to be provided to you in writing. You need to know all the relevant deadlines and the date of publication. Ask for a hard copy of a previous edition to be mailed to you. Ask if your advertisement will also be viewed online.
- Consider if this publication will reach your target markets and if this is the right avenue for your marketing dollars.
- And if you do feel aggrieved with your arrangement, be very circumspect about using defamatory statements in emails to others. This has happened with the above situation. Now there are solicitors for the publishers involved.