Expo Guide Exhibitors Directory for Fairs and Exhibitions – Legal Tip

Legal Tip Text

ACID fact:

If you sign a contract without having thoroughly read all the small print, you are legally responsible. You cannot argue that you were unaware of any of the obligations that will then bind you. Your only option will be to argue that there is something fundamentally wrong with the contract, such as a failure of consideration, or a breach of the contract. Even then, the contract may be deemed only “voidable” and not totally void or invalid.

ACID case study:

An ACID member, who signed an agreement with a company called Construct Data Verlag GmbH, brought the issue to ACID’s attention as a warning to all other members to always read the small print before signing any form of contract for directories. A similar invitation has just been received by ACID from a company called Expo-Guide – Exhibitors Directory for Fairs and Exhibitions linking our name to a particular UK exhibition. In the case study, the member potentially signed to pay for a website advertising space for 3 years if a cancellation notice was not received within 3 months of the end of the third year. The agreement provided a 10-day cooling off period in which cancellation was possible so long as it was by registered post. However, the payments invoice, in this case the first indication of the error, was not received until after the 10-day period had elapsed.  Unwittingly, the ACID member signed the Agreement, without fully reading all the clauses, because the offer was sent at roughly the same time as official exhibition documentation. The confusion on the member’s part came about because Construct Data’s offer was headed Fair Guide. Without thinking, the member signed up believing their name would appear in the actual exhibition’s “list of exhibitors’ guide”.

The agreement had clear notification that the FAIR Guide was “independent, objective and not related to any organiser (sic) or marketing association”. However, this information was set out in the body of the text, in smaller print than the larger FAIR Guide heading and not immediately obvious to the reader. The actual payment terms and length of the agreement was in even smaller print.

ACID has recently received a similar mailshot from Expo-Guide. If we were to sign the contract we would be entering into a contract and paying 1271 euros per year. In the separate covering letter from Expo-Guide it says the Expo-Guide is “independent, objective and not affiliated to any fair organiser or marketing organisation”.

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