Is placing a deposit online for a pet a contract if there is nothing written and signed by both parties?

I put down a hefty deposit for a cat that is said to be non-refundable according to the website. Due to the delivery delay and later non-responsiveness of the breeder, I was quite apprehensive that this was a scam. Later I contacted my credit card company and relayed the information along with proof of emails and got my deposit back. Now, the seller wants to sue me in court. Does he have a basis?

Asked on September 18, 2013 under Business Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Oral contracts--that is, unwritten ones--are enforceable, too. While there are some types of contracts (primarily for real estate) which must be in writing, an oral pet contract is enforceable. When you agreed to buy the pet, the other party agreed to sell you, and you put down a deposit (provided consideration, or something of value) to bind the contract, you created an enforceable agreement. So yes, from what you write, you could be sued over this agreement.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Oral contracts--that is, unwritten ones--are enforceable, too. While there are some types of contracts (primarily for real estate) which must be in writing, an oral pet contract is enforceable. When you agreed to buy the pet, the other party agreed to sell you, and you put down a deposit (provided consideration, or something of value) to bind the contract, you created an enforceable agreement. So yes, from what you write, you could be sued over this agreement.


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