i have a verbal agreement to buy a nonworking vehicle from a company. is the agreement binding?

I went to a local furniture business about a truck they have for sale. I talked to the person in charge and he verbally agreed to sell me the truck for 600. We made the deal back in November. I told him I was trying to get the money, and today I went over there to give him the Monet, only to have him tell me he might keep it to use as a billboard for the company instead. He told me to give him a day to think about things. Isn’t our verbal agreement binding? If it is, what can I do to make him honor it?

Asked on February 27, 2017 under Business Law, Colorado


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

An oral (that is the better term than "verbal") contract is binding and enforceable for something like this, so as long as you were still in compliance with the terms, he would have to sell you the truck. The issue is, after 4 months, were you still in compliance? It is not typically reasonable that someone could take months and months to gather the money for a purchase unless specifically agreed to give them that much time, so unless the agreement specifically was that you could take 4 months (or 5, or 6, etc.) before paying, if you brought a legal action to enforce the oral contract, a court would most likely find that by waiting so long, you had breached the agreement, and thus he is free to do with the truck what he likes. That because (especially with oral agreements), if a term is not spelled out specifically, the court will fill in any "blanks" with reasonable terms; so if there was no agreement as to how long you had to come back with the money, a court would typically find you had a reasonable time, which might be a week or two, but not usually 4 months.

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