Are Oral Sales Agreements Enforceable?
Oral business agreements can be considered enforceable contracts, but only sometimes. These type of cases are generally fiercely disputed and are often complex. It is always important to make sure that your business rights are protected. Other parties should be held to their contracts, and on the flip side, you should not be held to a contract that you did not actually make. If you have questions about the enforceability of an oral business agreement, an experienced West Palm Beach business litigation attorney can help.
The Sale of Goods
The Florida Statute of Frauds requires that certain types of agreements must be put into writing in order for them to be considered an enforceable contract. As a general rule, the statute requires that all Florida business contracts relating to the sale of goods in excess of $500 should be in writing. But, there are also several exceptions to this general rule. Even if there is no written agreement, you might still have a valid contract in cases where more than $500 of goods were sold. Courts will generally consider three questions:
- Are the goods customized? Courts will be much more likely the enforce an oral agreement if the seller will not be able to resell the goods to other customers. Customized goods are an indication that a valid contract exists.
- Did either party ever admit a contract existed in official court records? Once you admit a contract existed, a court will likely hold you to that statement. If you are in an oral contract dispute, you need to be cautious of what you are saying on the record. Sometimes people let the truth slip out, while others times people just say things that they do not even mean without thinking the statement through. This is why it is so important to have the representation of an experienced business litigation attorney in any contract dispute.
- Was any payment ever made? The court will always look at the payment history. If payment was made, payment was accepted, or the goods were delivered and accepted, then the court will be much more likely to enforce a contract.
The bottom line is that the agreements pertaining to the sale of goods should be written down. The general rule in Florida is that if these agreements are not written down, and significant money (500 or more) was involved, then a valid contract did not exist. However, that presumption can be rebutted if you can show that the other party was clearly behaving in a manner that indicates that a contract did in fact exist.
Contact An Experienced West Palm Beach Business Litigation Attorney
In the age of the internet, the business world moves increasingly fast. Many companies get involved in sales agreements without a written contract. While a written contract is always advisable, your business can still be protected if one did not exist. The attorneys at Pike & Lustig, LLP have experience handling all sides business contract dispute cases. We can help protect your company. Please do not hesitate to contact our West Palm Beach Office at (561) 855-7575 to set up a free initial consultation.