Miami Business & Commercial Law Blog

The trouble with home warranty plans

Home warranty plans have been picking up in popularity, mostly thanks to aggressive advertising campaigns that appeal to the homeowner's worry that something expensive will suddenly break and need a repair.

In the ads, the home warranties seem like the perfect insurance policy for the savvy homeowner who wants to avoid serious financial strains when an appliance or heater malfunctions or quits. Unfortunately, most consumers miss the fine print included with those warranties -- and they may not get what they think they are buying.

2 tips to use when placing a mechanic's lien on a property

A mechanic's lien is essentially a tool used in debt collection by contractors and subcontractors when the bills for a construction project have gone unpaid.

Mechanics liens put a hold on a property's title, making it impossible to sell until the contractor is paid. In many cases, it's an effective measure -- particularly when a property owner hopes that improvements to the property will help him or her eventually make a profit on a real estate investment.

Check out your landlord before you sign a commercial lease

When you apply for a commercial lease, you can bet that the landlord is going to do a little digging around in your background to make sure that you're the right tenant for the place.

You should probably do the same thing. Unfortunately, a lot of commercial tenants get so caught up in the excitement of finding just the right place for their business that they don't even think about doing a background check on the landlord.

Use these steps to handle a disgruntled employee's termination

How do you handle the termination process with a disgruntled employee? Carefully. Severing your business relationship with a disgruntled employee creates the possibility that he or she will eventually become a legal thorn in your shoe.

Disgruntled employees have been known to hack into company computers, expose trade secrets to competitors, go into direct competition with their old bosses and go out of their way to create damaging publicity for a company. None of that is what you want to see happen -- but you also can't let an unhappy and under-performing employee continue to slide forever.

Distributors claim they were duped by Herbalife

In business, just like other areas of life, if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

That's what a number of angry would-be millionaires are realizing as they file mounting legal claims against the company Herbalife, which specializes in healthy personal products.

Are mandatory arbitration agreements enforceable?

It's become increasingly common to put mandatory arbitration clauses in all kinds of consumer contracts, from cellphones to gift card sales.

In many cases, customers may not even realize the agreement is there -- and they may not really understand what it means if they do. Are these agreements really enforceable if you end up having a dispute that needs to be settled?

The right to relocate in a commercial lease

If you're a small business owner looking to rent space in a busy strip mall or shopping center, you need to watch out for relocation clauses in a lease before you sign.

"Right to relocate" clauses are common, particularly when landlords are concerned about keeping their entire shopping center or strip mall occupied and busy. These clauses essentially give the landlord the ability to move your business to another open spot without actually breaching your lease.

What's the best way to avoid contract litigation?

Contracts are designed to avoid problems, not create them. One careless agreement, however, can wrap your entire business in legal issues that you're far better off avoiding.

What are the best ways to avoid a contract fiasco? Don't sign anything until you review these tips:

Can you sue over a bad customer review?

People have always asked around for recommendations before they do business. After all, they work hard for their money. They want to know they're spending it in a place that will give them what they expect at a fair price. Once upon a time, they might have approached a neighbor to ask where they should eat dinner or what contractor they should hire.

These days, they just hop on the internet and read the reviews on a business before they decide if they'll patronize an establishment. A business can live or die based on its internet reviews alone.

No-poach agreements are under fire

The newest obstacle that's keeping employees from finding better jobs in their own field is a twist on the noncompete agreement.

Where noncompete agreements require employees to sign away their right to work for a company's competitors, "no-poach" agreements are made between the competitors themselves -- particularly franchises operated under the same business model. That's what's been happening for some time now in the fast food industry in at least 11 states and Washington D.C.