The Pitfalls of Downloading Contracts Online: Things To Consider Before Signing

Downloading a contract from the Internet is a major risk for both parties. Learn how to avoid common pitfalls in downloading contracts online.

The internet is a wonderful thing. It has made so many aspects of our lives easier, including the way that we get legal contracts. We live in an era where just about any contract can be downloaded from the internet and signed digitally on your computer or mobile device with just a few clicks of the mouse. 

While this saves time, it also exposes you to some serious risks that might lead to costly mistakes down the road. Here are five things to consider before signing anything online without first consulting with an attorney:

  • The most significant risk is not understanding what you’ve agreed to by downloading and signing a contract online

It’s easy to just download a contract from the internet and sign it, but it’s important to read all of the terms and conditions before doing so because it could lead you into a situation that you never expected. You should also be aware of the risks that come with signing a contract online.

By downloading and signing contracts, you could waive your rights to various important protections. It’s vital to understand what you’re agreeing to.

  • Another pitfall is not being able to review a contract before endorsing it

When one downloads a legal document without having reviewed it beforehand, he or she has no idea what to expect. This could lead to the signing of a contract that may have legal implications or penalties.

Downloading contracts are often used when people are in an emergency situation and need documents quickly for example if there was an accident and you needed a power of attorney form.

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It is always a good idea to have legal counsel review any contract before signing it, especially if the document has serious implications for your business or personal life. That way you can work with an attorney and determine whether or not this particular agreement will be beneficial in the long run. It would be unfortunate to sign something that may end up costing you money when there was no reason why it should cost anything at all!

Additionally, having an outside party look over these documents ensures that they are valid; some people might try using invalid contracts in order to scam others out of their time (and possibly even money). This is another reason why law firms exist: so people do not get scammed by bad deals like these online agreements posted on the Internet.

  • Not knowing your rights under the law

A third pitfall of downloading legal documents on the internet is not knowing your rights under the law. When you download a contract without knowing your rights under this contract, you are left at the mercy of the person who drafted it. For example, if you are renting property but don’t know your rights to rent-free accommodations under this contract, you could end up paying money for services that should be covered by this contract.

Another example is if you are selling a property, but don’t know your rights to full disclosure under this contract. In either case, the agreement could be voided if it was found that one party did not adhere to their legal right.

Another pitfall of downloading any type of document off the internet without review is a lack of knowledge of what else should have been included in the download so as to ensure understanding and accuracy.

For instance, when contracting with other businesses or people who may have different opinions regarding what should have been written into a .pdf file before being downloaded, there can also be confusion over terms such as liability and indemnification (terms which many people don’t know the meaning of).

Things to consider when downloading contracts online before signing
Photo by Laker from Pexels
  • The fourth pitfall is fraud or malware embedded in a contract signed electronically

It is possible that the creator of the contract masqueraded as the person with whom the contract was made, and it’s also possible that information on the online contract can be modified without notice to change or delete important terms of the contractual agreement.

Additionally, hurting yourself financially or putting yourself at risk of becoming a victim of fraud are two things that can happen if you’re not careful when signing an electronic version of a contract.

Finally, you might be concerned about whether encryption will protect your data if your employer breaches cybersecurity.

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  • You may inadvertently give away intellectual property rights

When you sign a contract, you’re essentially giving up some part of yourself, and if you’re not careful, you could end up losing your work forever. 

If there is a clause in a contract which states that all materials being licensed belong to the company, then legally they have the right to do anything with it they want including reselling or destroying it without any repercussion. You may think you’re just signing a contract, but in reality, you’re giving the company free rein to take something they haven’t paid for.

If you are contacted by an organization that wants content from you it is important to find out if there will be any copyright issues with past work or even current material before handing anything over. It’s always better to know what the future holds when entering into agreements like this because ignorance can not only end up costing money but also reputation and time which no one has enough of in today’s society.


The internet has made it possible to have access to legal documents without ever having to leave your home. This is great for convenience, but can also be dangerous if you don’t take the time to read through what you are signing. 

If this sounds all too complicated and there are simply not enough hours in the day for research, reach out to our team today! TalkCounsel is the best place to find lawyers online because we’ve made it easy for people all around the world to connect with qualified, pre-screened legal professionals. 

What’s more? All of our consultations are free and you can talk by phone or video chat! Visit TalkCounsel today and enjoy a worry-free experience from start to finish. You won’t regret it! The Pitfalls of Downloading Contracts Online: Things To Consider Before Signing

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