Are Oral (or verbal) Agreements Enforceable?
Even though oral agreements are enforceable, it is recommended that the terms of an oral agreement be reduced to writing. What does it mean to reduce the oral terms to writing? It could mean creating a formal document that says “Agreement” or “Contract” across the top of the page and then the remainder of the document sets forth the quantity to be purchased; the color, model, style being purchased; the price to be paid; the delivery date; and other pertinent terms of the agreement. However, a writing can also be a series of emails or text messages between the parties. After the conversation between Art and Bob, Art could have sent Bob an email similar to this: “Bob, it was nice speaking with you. I am writing to confirm that you are interested in buying 300 candles (150 candles will be brown and 150 candles will be orange), each candle will cost $1.00, all of the candles will be delivered on March 1, 2019, and payment upon delivery. I ask that you please reply back and state that you accept these terms.” If Bob replies with an acceptance – we have a written agreement. Now, it will be a lot easier for either party to enforce the terms of this agreement if either party breaches.
This article would not be complete without the statement that the Ohio Legislature does require that some agreements be in writing to be enforceable. This is called the Statute of Frauds. The two main examples are: (1) An agreement to sell real property and (2) the sale of goods valued at $500.00 or more.
It has been my experience over the years that most contracting parties want certainty when entering into an agreement. I believe that certainty provides all parties with a bit of comfort knowing exactly what is and what is not being agreed to.
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