I previously wrote about what I considered to be the biggest contract negotiation red flag -- a steadfast refusal to negotiate at all. Below, I’m listing a few more red flags that I look for in negotiations. If you encounter any of them, take a moment to think about how problematic it might be.
1) Won’t put it in writing
If a party makes a lot of promises to you, but they won’t put them in the contract, it is a major red flag. If it’s not part of the contract, it will be difficult, if not impossible to enforce, and if they’re unwilling to put it in writing, it’s a sign they might not mean what they say.
If a party is pushing you to sign a deal quickly, then it is a red flag. Negotiations take time, and most legitimate businesses know this. If they are pushing for a deal to get done quickly it is (i) to serve their own agenda and/or (ii) to sneak a bad deal past you without proper vetting by an attorney/agent/etc.
3) Don’t know their own agreement
If a party is unable to explain the terms in their agreement to you, or if they don’t see how terms might conflict in the contract, it is a red flag. They either lack an attention to detail, or they are deliberately misrepresenting the deal.
4) Overly willing to make changes
This might seem counterintuitive, but a party that gives you all of your requested changes could be a red flag. It could be a secondary sign of the “don’t know their own agreement” red flag I mentioned above, or it could be that they just don’t care or don’t intend to honor the contract.