What do Jewish Princesses make for dinner???
And despite my love of pork and shellfish, I must be the biggest Jewish princess of them all because I spent my weekend making speculative restaurant bookings for April to July in the hope that Boris doesn’t bottle it and make us stay in lockdown.
I used a number of different sites to book at a number of my favourite restaurants, all of which had different booking requirements and terms and conditions, and some of which wanted credit card details in advance, or deposits but some didn’t. One said it would be bad karma if I booked and didn’t cancel or turn up, but I’m not sure how binding that is.
No one suggested that there would be any charge to me if they have to cancel because of further lockdown restrictions, but a few didn’t explicitly say that, and no one covered what would happen if I can’t attend due to something COVID related. What if, at the last minute, despite London being open for business, Watford is put in lockdown and I’m housebound (again!) assuming that saying a few prayers to whoever you believe in isn’t going to do the trick.
Or what if I make plans to travel all the way to London especially, only to find the restaurant of my dreams is closed. Strange the things you dream about after the best part of 12 months of restrictions.
In reality, none of this will really make much difference to my life because the money at stake is nominal and the ability to negotiate my way out of any charges (or have my credit card company do it for me) are quite high. Nevertheless, it does highlight the different terms on which we all do business every day, often without reading the small print, and the extent to which we all make assumptions about how other people do business, without always considering the consequences.
Over the last few months I’ve been asked to advise a number of clients who had business interruption insurance, who looked on with glee when the Supreme Court found that many insurance companies had wrongly denied cover, only for those clients to have their hopes dashed again when I explained that although some policies did now provide cover, others were worded in such a way as to exclude cover despite the recent ruling. Reading those polices now, with the benefit of COVID affected hindsight, it is hard to see how those businesses could ever have benefited from the clauses in question, which makes you wonder why insurance companies bothered to include them in the first place, unless of course it’s just to generate money for nothing, but that’s just cynical!
As it’s going to be at least a few weeks until anything is close to “normal”, and as we all seem to be agreed that we will never go back to the old “normal”, I have a money saving idea for you. If you’re stuck at home and bored, now is a good time to get out all of those polices, terms and conditions and agreements, both ones you send out and ones you receive, have a read through and see if they are fit for purpose. Even if they were done professionally at the time, times really are a changing, and whilst few could have predicted what has happened in the last 12 months, going forward it will be much harder to say that such drastic changes are unexpected. Consider how they would protect you if there were to be another life changing event, and what changes you might have made if you could wind the clock back 12 months or so. Then consider if it’s worth dropping a line to the other side and see if changes can be agreed for everyone’s benefit, or at the very least, change your precedents going forward, so that they might provide you with better protection in the future.
Kleyman & Co Solicitors. The full service law firm. Keeping the faith.