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CONTRACTS: Signing Contracts You Don't Understand

"Your honor, I didn't understand what I signed at the time I signed it." Silence and blank stares as the clerk taps her pencil on the edge of her wooden table while surfing the web. The judge responds, "Then why did you sign it?" This excuse is highly unlikely to pass muster in the court of law. According to the California Code, you are bound by the terms of the document signed, irrespective of your level of understanding and/or ability to interpret those terms. What if you speak Spanish and the contract you signed is in English? You will still be responsible for contracts signed in a language you do not understand because it is your duty to request that the contract be translated into a language you do understand. Arguing that you would not have signed had you been fluent in the language that the contract was drafted in will serve to be futile. Moral of the story is ... you have the right to understand a contract before you are asked to sign it. If there is something you don't understand, ask for an explanation.

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