My IT contract says I have to fix defective work for free

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insurance for it contractors
Insurance for IT Contractors

Fix Defective Work

We were asked the following question by a reader who was asked to fix defective work for free.

Denis – Fix Bugs for Free

I just noticed a clause in my new IT contract which states that my company is responsible for fixing all defective products that I create free of charge.

Does that mean that I have to fix defective work for free?

After all, most programmers make mistakes and plenty of them.

No one is able to constantly produce work that is defect free. In fact some people I know have never produced work that is defect free.

I don‘t want to be spending a lot of time doing work for nothing if I have to fix defective work all the time.

Should I sign the contract?

Dr. McLaughlin’s IT Surgery

Having to fix defective work for free has been inserted into a lot of IT contracts now. It helps to make the contract free of IR35.

The chances are that you will be OK and that they will never invoke this. It would be ridiculous for you to be fixing all bugs for free and they know it.

However, there is a lot of latent danger for contractors in these contract clauses that are inserted to help contractors stay outside IR35.

The assumption by most people is that most clients will never invoke these clauses.

However, that is very dangerous.

Contract Clauses

If clauses are in contracts, then you can be sure that, at some stage, somebody somewhere will invoke them.

There is also the danger that such clauses may stay in contracts long after IR35 is a distant memory (if that happens).

However, the chances are very much that it won‘t be you that it happens to, so I would go ahead and sign the contract.

What Is Defective

There is also the argument about what is defective.

Is it a programme or sub-system that has any defects in it, or is it a finished product, i.e. one in Production that has faults in it, or is it a programme or sub-system that is much worse than the average?

One day we will find that out when a client sues a contractor.

The very fact that more IT contractors have personal Indemnity insurance makes it all the more likely that clients will sue contractors.

Previously it wasn‘t worthwhile for clients.

However, as I say, that IT contractor is unlikely to be you, so don‘t miss out on a contract because of it.

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