Buyers Beware: ‘Duty to Read’ Contracts Rule in Florida

Aug 8th, 2018

In Florida, it is well settled that a party to a contract has the duty to learn and know the contents of a proposed contract before he or she signs it. Therefore, one who signs a contract is presumed to know its contents.  Wexler v. Rich, 80 So. 3d 1097 (Fla. 4th DCA 2012).  

This means that, should you sign an otherwise valid contract, you will be treated under the law as though you fully understood it—even if you never read a single page!

There are of course certain exceptions to this rule (lack of capacity, unconscionability, illegality, etc.); however, for the average consumer or businessman entering into the ordinary contract (such as a FAR/BAR Real Estate Contract, a boilerplate software End User License Agreement (EULA), a credit card repayment agreement, or a theme park liability waiver), you may very well be stuck with unfavorable terms in a contract that you have signed.

We have seen many clients in our office who have agreed to extremely one-sided leases, purchase agreements, lien releases, and construction contracts. All of them have the same question—"how do I get out of this contract?” Unfortunately, absent extraordinary circumstances, our answer is usually: “you can’t!”

Remember: The time to have an attorney review your contract is before you sign it; afterwards, there is often very little that can be done to relieve you of your obligations under an unfavorable contract.

We perform free reviews of many types of contracts. Please contact us today to set up a consultation.