Name me a famous battle. Britain? Hastings? The Somme? Waterloo? The Forms?
Battle of the Forms? Are you aware of it? The Battle of the Forms may not be one you are familiar with but in business it is likely to have a greater day to day impact than any of the others mentioned above.
So what is it? Basically, the “Battle of the Forms” is the name given to the situation where 2 parties are contracting and trying to impose their own term to govern the dealings. For example, a buyer may put in an order and encloses its own terms as the subject of the order. The seller may, however, accept the order by sending through its own terms on an invoice.
As the last set of terms generally prevails, this can be quite clear, particularly if you stay on top of monitoring the transfer of terms; however, where amendments to orders are made or repeat business is entered into, confusion can arise.
To complicate things further, if you want to rely on your standard terms, then you need to draw the other party’s attention to them, likely by more than merely enclosing them on the back of a document.
A further word of warning – things can be complicated if you use different mediums to sell/purchase things. You must check that your terms are incorporated whether dealing face to face, by post, e-mail or otherwise.
This note does not constitute legal advice and is for general information only to highlight common issues.