A verbal contract is as legally binding as one in writing. With that said, because of the lack of written evidence associated with a verbal contract, setting aside or getting out of an oral agreement tends to be a bit easier than defeating a written contract. There are certain strategies to employ if you want to get out of written agreements. The failure to employ these strategies results in you being bound to the terms and conditions of the verbal agreement you entered into with another individual or business enterprise.
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Defeat a verbal agreement by contending that there was not a meeting of the minds. The lack of a meeting of the minds is a common contention in the process of defeating an oral contract. You contend that you and the other party to the agreement simply did not reach the same understanding regarding the terms and conditions of the alleged verbal agreement.
Challenge a verbal contract by arguing that there was no legitimate offer made, or acceptance extended, depending on your position in regard to the purported agreement. A contract--written or oral--cannot exist unless one party makes an offer and the other party accepts the offer. In other words, there was no sufficient exchange between the parties to "make a deal."
Argue that there is no consideration between the parties to form a contract in the first instance. Consideration is a legal term of art that means the parties in a contract, each provided something of value. For example, one party agrees to provide certain services in exchange for money from the other party. Consideration can also be found in a mutual promise made by each party. If there is no exchange of something of value, there is no binding verbal agreement.
Tips and warnings
- Dealing with a contract dispute is a complicated legal matter. Therefore, your rights and interests normally are best served by engaging the services of an experienced business lawyer or contract attorney. The state and local bar associations maintain directories of attorneys in different practice areas. Through such a resource, you can find legal representation suitable to your situation.
- Due to the confusion naturally surrounding many verbal agreements, many legal experts recommend putting agreements in writing. Although a written agreement is not fool proof, putting a contract in written form does eliminate at least some confusion that might otherwise exist.
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