What are the Elements of a Verbal Contract?
A verbal contract is considered valid if it contain the following elements:
- An offer
- Acceptance of the offer
- Consideration or something of value that each of the parties agree to give to exchange to complete the contract
Overcoming the Burden of Proof
The only problem with verbal contracts is the fact that their existence (and their particulars) can be difficult to prove. If something goes swry, the aggrieved party can always take the matter to court and sue the other party for breach of contract but he will need to prove that the contract really existed in the first place. If there are no witnesses or any documents supporting the claim, such contracts can easily be contested.
So, how can you prove that the contract ever existed? You can do this through the actions of the parties involved. Common sense dictates that a person or a business wouldn't deliver the goods or provide a service if an agreement with the other party doesn't exist.
Tips When Making Verbal Agreements
To be on the safe side, always get everything into writing. It's in your best interest if you draft a general contract for products or general contract for services to document the sale of goods or services, respectively. However, if you cannot avoid entering into verbal agreements, here are some tips that can help you avoid dragging yourself into a messy legal battle:
- Collect secondary documents. Emails, text messages and any other forms of written correspondence may help strengthen your case even if you don't have the terms of agreement in writing.
- Draft a written copy of the terms of agreement and send it to the other party.
- Make sure there is a witness to the agreement.
Remember, verbal contracts are legal and valid, but you can better protect your interests by getting everything into writing. For best results, consult with a legal professional.
This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.