Is a verbal agreement legally binding?

I am having an issue with a magazine company. It says that I can’t cancel or close my account with them because they already prepaid for my mags and I made a verbal agreement to pay, but I want to cancel.

Asked on December 21, 2010 under General Practice, Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Verbal or oral contracts or agreements are generally enforceable. There are some exceptions, but they tend to involve long-term contracts (take more than 1 year), large contracts, real estate contracts...in short, special cases which this does not seem to be. Furthermore, if the magazine company has already incurred costs--prepayin--in reasonable reliance on what you said, they may also be able to invoke a doctrine called promissory estoppel to bind you. Overall, it is likely that an oral or verbal contract in this situation is enforceable; furthermore, if you try to breach it, even if you won ultimately, you'd be risking additional penalties or fees (e.g. the costs of collection, if you should lose) and damage to your credit rating, as well as spending time and/or money to fight any collection efforts or lawsuits. It is not likely worth it to breach the agreement.


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