Are you a freelancer who struggles with contracts? Do you have trouble working out what to say and what not to say in a contract for a client? Are you forever wondering about the legality of your wording, but can’t afford the crazy lawyers fees to find out? Well, Tractis might be for you. Then again it might not. Tractis claims to eliminate the need for paper contracts and time consuming filing, along with helping you to write new contracts by allowing you access to user posted templates for various types of contract. Sounds like a good idea? Well it is, but so far I don’t believe it has been executed all that well.
I received an invite to the private beta a few days ago, and since then I have been coming back to the site from time to time, trying to look at it from a different angle. When I log in, I am presented with a list of my contracts (I started a couple of test contracts), and the ability to start a new contract, a new template, or invite friends to Tractis.
I start a new contract and it basically gives me a blank text box, in which to write my contract. I look around the page for the link to import a template (surely no one writes contracts from scratch, I think) but there is nothing. So I abandon the new contract and go looking for templates. I eventually find some public templates created by other users (I’m not a big fan of their navigation interface), which I can save to ‘My Templates’. So I find one that looks handy, and click to add it to ‘My Templates’. Somehow, however, this doesn’t work. Another strange thing is the dropdown menu on the ‘New Contract’ page. The options seem to be in Spanish. I don’t speak Spanish. I make sure my language and location are set properly in the Settings. Dropdown option still Spanish. I start to wonder if the site is a Spanish site, but all the other text is in English. I also cannot seem to find anything to explain digital signatures to me. I can’t be the only one who doesn’t know how they work, how legally binding they are, etc. Indeed, there does not seem to be much prominently displayed legal information. I wonder how many actual lawyers are behind the site, as well as web developers. If I use someone elses template and it turns out to not be legal, where do I stand? How does the site relate to UK law, or US law, or French law? I don’t know, and the site doesn’t seem to want to tell me. The success of a web app is surely based on trust, and much more so when dealing with legal documents. Yet Tractis is not building my trust. The FAQ is even more worrying in its vagueness. I would love to have a web app that I can use to create and file contracts for each client I have, and have them legally sign them online. It is a great idea. SO far, however, I wouldn’t even contemplate using this service with a client.
Want to find out more about Tractis? I have invites to give away. Leave you email address here, or email me, and I’ll sen one your way, until I run out.