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Why to read contracts closely

A grammatical blunder may force Rogers Communications Inc. to pay an extra $2.13-million to use utility poles in the Maritimes after the placement of a comma in a contract permitted the deal’s cancellation. … Language buffs take note – Page 7 of the contract states:

The agreement “shall continue in force for a period of five years from the date it is made, and thereafter for successive five year terms, unless and until terminated by one year prior notice in writing by either party.”

 Rogers’ intent in 2002 was to lock into a long-term deal of at least five years. But when regulators with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) parsed the wording, they reached another conclusion.

The validity of the contract and the millions of dollars at stake all came down to one point – the second comma in the sentence.

 Had it not been there, the right to cancel wouldn’t have applied to the first five years of the contract and Rogers would be protected from the higher rates it now faces.

“Based on the rules of punctuation,” the comma in question “allows for the termination of the [contract] at any time, without cause, upon one-year’s written notice,” the regulator said.

more Via metafilter

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