Is a contract valid if there is only an oral agreement via telephone?

I have a cousin who supposedly made an agreement with some telemarketers selling an encyclopedia on automobile mechanics. They deceived him into believing that this was going to certify him as a mechanical technician. After there was an agreement on this via telephone for $450 he did some research and found out that they were probably just scams and he called them back to cancel the agreement. However, now they want to take him to “court” for this and they claim to have attorneys. Can they do this or is it simply another way to intimidate him and to ultimately scam him?

Asked on July 19, 2012 under General Practice, Pennsylvania


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

It is just another way to scam him. If he doesn't understand what he was purchasing, and it was unclear from the content of the conversation, then there is no contract, it is voidable and he should cancel payment if he has paid. If he has not paid, he needs to report this entity to the Federal Trade Commission and the state attorney general and refuse to pay. Tell him to not pay, not answer phone calls and write down (if he has caller ID) every time this entity/person calls.

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