Louis The Lawyer’s Business Tips (1)

Overseas travel directories have appeared ‘on the scene’ once again: The ones I’ve had exposure to are ‘The Hotel Guide’ and ‘The Tourist Directory’ both published by Nova Channel (Switzerland) and ‘The Exhibitors Directory for Fairs & Exhibitions’ (a.k.a. ‘Fair guide’ – ‘sic!) published by Construct Data Verlag (Austria). DO NOT sign anything until you’ve read it & warn ALL your staff. It is promoted quite innocuously as a purported update of your information but once you’ve signed it the fine print ‘ties you into inextricable knots’ & you are exposed and contractually bound to dig deep into your pocket – BE WARNED!


The approach I have taken with all these publications and the lawyers (overseas) that they’ve instructed is that there is no bonding contract based on a combination of the following (Depending on the facts of each case):


  • There has been misrepresentation, whether intentional or otherwise
  • The ‘photograph’ or material mentionedwas never supplied by the client and/or did not appear in the publication
  • The document is poorly drafted- poorly drafted contracts will be interpreted against the drafting party i.e. the publisher (the 'contra proforentem' rule)
  • It cannot be argued that the affixing of an unauthorised signature or even paymentof one instalment validates an otherwise non-binding contract
  • The argument that the person signing by implication accepted and is deemed to have read the terms and conditions including the reference to cooling off period is to allude to the so-called risk of the signatory(i.e. that the caveat subscriptor principle applies). This principle has recently been revisited by the South African courts. Their attitude is that it will not apply where particularly onerous provisions are hidden in small print

Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash



January 07 2021


 DISCLAIMER - Each case depends on its own facts & merits - the above does not constitute advice - independent advice should be obtained in all instances

LEGAL ADVICE CLUB ('LAC') - You can obtain specialized tourism advice from Louis (38 years in tourism) on an hoc basis via the COVID SPECIALS for SATSA members (1) 10 minutes of pro bono (Free) advice via a phone call or e-mail and/or (2) by joining his LAC for which the joining fee & hourly rates have been reduced by 30% AND you can pay the joining fee over 3 (three) months! The fee for the 1st hour is now only R500, 00