If I accidentally signed a contract with Yellow Pages that is binding my employer to 2 year contract worth over $2000, is it valid if it was signed by an unauthorized person?

I had no idea I was signing contract it was written in tiny lettering on the bottom of the form. I thought I was simply signing a verification form, plus it said that “This is not a bill”. I cannot cancel it anymore I tried. Now they are sending invoices and penalties for late payment. How can we get out of it?

Asked on September 18, 2015 under Business Law, Wyoming


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The issue is whether to a reasonable outsider, like the Yellow Pages, it would appear that you had authority. Other people are entitled to rely on what reasonably appears to be your authority, and if, based on your title, position, what you told the Yellow Pages, etc., you would seem to have the authority to execute a contract like this, they can hold your employer to it. Consider if this were not the case, any business could get out of any contract by saying after the fact that the signor lacked authority--that's why outsiders may rely on the appearance of authority, to prevent that sort of manipulation. If you truly did not have authority, then your employer may be able to sue you personally for the money you improperly obligated them to pay.

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