If You Care About Your Business, Use Written Contracts!

USAID/Kosovo Mission Director Maureen A. Shauket explains the importance of using written contracts in business deals.
USAID/Kosovo Mission Director Maureen A. Shauket explains the importance of using written contracts in business deals.
Victoria O’Hara/USAID

For Immediate Release

Thursday, June 28, 2012
Jeremy Faber

Lots of people in Kosovo conduct business transactions solely on the basis of a handshake. Written contracts are rare. In fact, many people in Kosovo consider written contracts to be insulting to the integrity of the people involved in the deal.

The result is that when business deals go bad, they end up in court. Resolving the disputes takes time and money, and everyone loses. The failure to use contracts also undermines Kosovo’s investment environment, which hurts the overall economy, and all of those court cases slow the administration of justice, making people lose faith in the court system.

For all of these reasons, USAID recently introduced standard contracts to the Kosovo business community. The USAID Systems for Enforcing Agreements and Decisions Program http://www.kontrata.info designed the contracts based on a survey of different types of business organizations to determine what language and formats were best suited to the local environment. The final product includes five different types of contracts suitable for general commerce sales of goods, sales of services, leases, employment and transportation, and another three for sales, brokerage and carriage in the agricultural sector.

USAID Mission Director Maureen A. Shauket joined Kosovo business leaders for an event in Pristina to familiarize the business community with the new contracts and the importance of using them. She told an anecdote about her recent experience landscaping her new home in Pristina. She asked for a written contract, and it was a good thing that she did. When she and the landscaper disagreed over the final product, they reviewed the written contract and the situation was resolved immediately. It’s hard to argue with the written word, when written well.

Last updated: October 20, 2014

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