Contracts are seldom easy and pleasant reading. They are typically filled with legal jargon that almost nobody (except business lawyers) truly understands, but there are a few contract terms that consumers need to know:
Nearly every contract begins with an offer, which expresses the intent to be bound by the terms of the offer, once it is accepted. An offer must be very specific, and typically involves the sale or purchase of goods or services.
Once an offer is made, it must be accepted before a contract will be formed. This may be accomplished in several different ways:
- The parties to the contract sign the agreement agreeing to the proposed terms.
- Letters or emails are sent to the offeror stating the acceptance of the terms.
- Performing the task stated in the offer.
A contract is breached, or broken, when one or both parties to the contract fail to fulfill the obligations outlined. Although contracts themselves essentially are not right or wrong, there may not be anything wrong with breaching one, as long as you pay for any damage caused by the breach.
Statute of Frauds
The Statute of Frauds governs which types of contracts need to be in writing to be valid. An agreement that is not in writing but falls within the Statute of Frauds cannot be legally enforced.
Arbitration clauses are very common today, and if you agree to binding or final arbitration in your contract, you are agreeing to resolve any legal disputes that may arise without going to court or having a jury trial. You and the other party to the contract will instead present your disagreement to an arbitrator, who will consider the evidence and render a decision that is final and usually cannot be appealed.
For competent legal advice on contracts, contact a business contract lawyer at O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Attorneys online, or call 701-235-8000 or 877-235-8002 (toll-free) today.
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