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Can a verbal promise be legally enforced?

On Behalf of | May 5, 2021 | Business Law |

Over the course of time, you can develop strong business relationships. This can give you a big advantage in the marketplace, giving you competitive edge over others in your field. But getting overly comfortable with those you do business with can lead to missteps that can have serious consequences for you, your business, and even your customers.

This is certainly the case when it comes to business dealings and contracts. While most businesses utilize written contracts when just starting a relationship with a business, they can quickly move away from this practice once they develop a strong sense of trust. In these instances, the parties sometimes agree to verbal promises. But when one party doesn’t uphold their end of one of these bargains, can legal action be taken?

Is a verbal promise enforceable as a contract?

Verbal promises can be deemed a legally enforceable contract in some circumstances. To determine whether a verbal promise goes that far, though, a number of factors have to be considered. You’ll first have to determine if an actual, realistic offer was made and accepted, noting that outrageous claims can’t be considered a real offer. Then you’ll want to consider your history of business dealings with the other party. If you and the other party have a track record of upholding verbal promises, then you have a better chance of arguing that similar promises should be deemed legally enforceable.

Don’t forget detrimental reliance

Perhaps the biggest factor in this analysis, though, is detrimental reliance. Before a court will find that a verbal promise is legally enforceable, it likely must find that you relied on the other party’s promise, which caused you some sort of harm. For example, you might have given up another favorable contract in order to get the deal that was verbally promised. Again, you’ll be better suited if you can prove the full extent of your damages by relying on the promise.

Secure help with your contractual issues

Contract disputes arise all the time. When you find yourself facing one of them, you need to be prepared to fight to protect your interests. You don’t have to face this issue alone, though, as you can seek help from an experienced legal professional.