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Proving breach when a verbal promise has been violated

On Behalf of | Apr 22, 2024 | Business Law, Contract Disputes

As a small business owner, you might take pride in the strength of your word. In fact, you may even rest your business dealings upon it. But when the other party to your agreement fails to uphold their end of the bargain, you can be left holding the bag, which can cost you a lot of resources and hurt your reputation with your customers. What can you do in these instances?

Taking legal action when a verbal promise is broken

Not all verbal promises will be considered a legally binding contract. That’s why it’s best to commemorate all of your business transactions in writing. But if it’s too late for that and you’ve been wronged in a verbal agreement, then you need to consider whether you can take legal action.

The determinative factor is whether the agreement is going to be considered a legally binding contract. To make that determination, a court will analyze a number of factors, including the following:

  • How past business dealings were conducted amongst the parties.
  • Whether the initial offer that was made was realistic.
  • Whether the verbal offer was actually accepted.
  • Whether there was detrimental reliance upon the promise, meaning that one party was hurt by believing that the verbal promise was a real contractual offer.

So, even if you’ve been wronged, you still need evidence to support your case. Witness testimony can be helpful, but so, too, can any written communications you’ve had with the other party and anything else that demonstrates that you’ve engaged in word-of-mouth transactions in the past.

Aggressively protect your interests in your contract dispute

Losing out in a business deal and on a verbal agreement gone bad can be costly. You can’t allow the other side to get away with taking advantage of you. That’s why you need to be prepared to take legal action when you’re facing a contract dispute.

By aggressively advocating for your position, you can hopefully secure the outcome that’s best for you and your business. Then, moving forward, strongly consider using written contracts.