Lost My Copy of a $5,000 Per Year Contract -- What Do I Do?
January 22, 2005 12:16 PM   Subscribe

So you're self-employed, and you sign a contract for a moderate-sized, long-term gig (worth $5,000 or so/year), and...you lose your copy of the contract. Your relations with this company over the years have been overwhelmingly friendly and positive. What do you do? Just ask them nicely for a copy?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (12 answers total)
posted by ParisParamus at 12:22 PM on January 22, 2005

why not? I could see more of a problem if they're flaky and such (since then, how would you know that they didn't change anything behind your back?) but if they're in general a good client then other than a bit of embarrassment I'd think it'd be ok.. I may be missing some business etiquette rule though.
posted by mrg at 12:25 PM on January 22, 2005

I'd just ask them for a copy of the contract. Losing one is not that unusual.
posted by biscotti at 12:38 PM on January 22, 2005

That's exactly what you do (ask them nicely for a copy.)

"I lost some important papers while moving/painting my office/rearranging the archives/[your excuse here] and if it's not too much trouble, could you fax/mail/FedEx me a copy of our current contract."

Shit happens. Nobody's going to think less of you for it, especially if you've got a good relationship with the company.
posted by enrevanche at 12:38 PM on January 22, 2005

Absolutely. If you really do have a good relationship with them, then be humble about it--you want to make it clear, at least through your demeanor, that you understand that it's important not to be a flake--and just ask for another copy.

Nothing wrong with a little white lie, though, along the lines of what enrevanche suggests.
posted by LairBob at 12:43 PM on January 22, 2005

If things are going well, why worry about the contract?
posted by five fresh fish at 12:57 PM on January 22, 2005

Better to get the contract now, when things are going well, then try to get it later, when things might be going less well.
posted by esd at 1:38 PM on January 22, 2005

If it were me, weenie that I am, I'd probably claim that it was my accountant/lawyer/postal inspector/whatever who needed it. When my father - an accountant by trade - was doing my taxes, this worked especially well. I made no secret of the fact that he was a fascist and that he often pursued mind-numbingly unimportant details, so the whole thing was very convincing. "Yeah, the old bastard says he needs to have it on file." *Rolls eyes. Makes 'What can you do?' gesture.* "So can I pick it up Monday? Okay, thanks. Sorry for the hassle."
posted by Clay201 at 2:00 PM on January 22, 2005

I've had clients lose contracts. I never thought twice about giving them another copy, nor thought less of them of it. These things happen.
posted by waldo at 6:19 PM on January 22, 2005

I concur.. I have clients that loose contracts all the time - either a result of employees who quit, or accidental loss.

Nobody blinks an eye when we're asked to send them a copy...

I guess your concern may be two-fold... a) Do I look like an idiot because I lost it, and b) will they exploit me if they don't know I have a copy?

Chances are the answer to both is no.
posted by burhan at 7:41 PM on January 22, 2005

Along the lines of the above comments, perhaps something like:

"I've been organizing my business papers in the last month, and can't seem to find a copy of our contract. I'm almost positive that I have it somewhere, but, if you don't mind, it would be easier for me if I just got a copy from you."
posted by WestCoaster at 7:52 PM on January 22, 2005

remember, a contract protects both parties involved.. why fear asking for a copy of it?
posted by mrplab at 5:19 PM on January 23, 2005

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