It boggles the mind to see a one page contract worth tens of millions in Thailand. Unbelievable? Not quite. I saw it firsthand, twice to be exact. One contract is for a house construction worth 15 million baht. I thought it unbeatable until I saw a 96 million baht contract for villa investment, the text of which does not even cover an 8.5×11 sheet of paper. It is not utterly surprising that both deals ended up in litigation.
These investors are not nearly as naïve as you think. In fact, the one page contracts they signed are a mere preliminary to the execution of the real contract. However, such preliminary, erroneously believed as a form of security, cost them their 15% deposit amounting to millions of Thai Baht.
Despite the assurances of developers, it is never a good idea to pay deposits with a mere preliminary agreement or a letter of comfort for security. Never pay the deposit unless a full contract, outlining the entire detail of rights and obligations, is executed between you and the other party. Contracts are almost always shrouded in legal gobbledygook. Thus, it is important that contracts should be reviewed by reputable lawyers in Thailand to decipher what appears as legal hieroglyphics to an ordinary person and reveal the consequence of each and every provision.
Attention must be given to the crucial elements of a contract and ensure that they are clearly stated. First, the contract must state the name, street address, contact number, government registration numbers and licenses of the other party. A street address is mandatory in the service of legal papers. If the other party is a company or a juridical entity, ensure that the signatory is authorized to act for and in behalf of such contracting party.
Also, terms of payments, start and completion dates, warranties, detailed description of materials or services, and penalty clauses are some of the major considerations in the execution of contracts. Moreover, a settlement of disagreement clause is also significant in laying down the framework for venue and manner of settlement of major disagreements which can be through mediation, arbitration or litigation.
Contracts are powerful weapons in the arsenal of investment protection. It is one of the vital factors that define the profitability and security of your investment. Although, you cannot expect the other contracting party to have your best interest at heart, however, with a sound contract, you can surely expect them to act as if they do. Thus, due care and effort should be expended to achieve the soundest possible contract worthy of your signature.

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