Think Twice Before Hitting Send, You Could be Agreeing to a Contract


Emails have replaced letter writing as the preferred way to conduct day to day business transactions.  Conducting business over email saves both time and money. However, in some, cases, you could literally be signing up for more than you bargained.

Many business people do not realize that email exchanges can lead to a legally binding contract. It doesn’t matter if you didn’t technically sign the email or failed to use contract terms like “offer” and “agree.” Courts across the country have found that a series of messages can still meet the requirements of an enforceable contract.

In order for a contract to be enforceable, there must be a valid offer and acceptance, supported by consideration. If one party proposes different terms in the email, the offer is considered rejected, and the contract formation process begins anew. The parties must also intend to be contractually bound. While intent need not be explicitly expressed in the email correspondence, it just must be clear that the parties were planning to agree on a contract.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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