From time to time we meet with business owners, franchisors, franchisees, and employees to discuss issues involving verbal agreements. Although enforceable, verbal agreements for the most part are worth the paper they are printed on. This is because many times a verbal agreement is a he said, she said argument where neither side can be believed with 100% certainty.
But, we always get the argument that everyone uses verbal agreements and people do handshake deals all the time.
Although this is true and many of the most powerful business and political leaders have done business over a handshake, most of these people have had written contracts prepared afterwards to seal the deal. Many times the handshake that you see on tv or read about the newspaper is for show.
Generally, every attorney will advise that you never depend on a verbal agreement. If the matter is important then take the time to write it down and have both people sign and date it.
Remember, the devil is in the details and because most people do not have photographic memories, the details many times can be forgotten or changed slightly with time. If you have a written agreement which both sides have read and understand then you have a better chance of catching all of the details.
If you ever do find yourself in a conflict over a verbal agreement, make sure to talk with an attorney and show them as much documentation and proof as possible showing that you and the other person were following the verbal agreement.
If you can prove that you and the other person were living up to the verbal agreement then you just might have a chance at success in a conflict.
Each verbal agreement is different as are the conflicts that arise over each verbal agreement. If you have a conflict then you should put together as much information as possible on the verbal agreement and talk with an attorney who can help you determine how best to proceed.
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