Is a text message as good as a writtencontract to prove an agreement?

Had my truck for sale on craigslist. Someone wanted to buy it. They put a down payment for me to hold it. I told him, through a text, that he needed to sign something saying it was non-refundable and only good for a limited time. However nothing got signed but the money was sent. Now the stated time period to hold the vehicle has passed. Do I have to pay him back his deposit or can I sell the truck to other party. His excuse is that his financing fell through.

Asked on December 11, 2011 under Business Law, Washington

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

A text message is only evidence of an agreement to purchase your vehicle that you are writing about and is not a valid written contract. In most states the sale of an item for more than $500 requires a written agreement signed by the person to be obligated under it.

I would inquire of this person who was to buy your vehicle if he or she agrees to forfeit the deposit. If so, get the agreement in writing signed by the buyer and have the deposit deemed an option to purchase the vehicle that has expired. In most states, a deposit is refundable but an option to purchase some article is not refundable.


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