Are verbal contracts legally binding?

UPDATED: Apr 23, 2012

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Are verbal contracts legally binding?

My (former) friend and I are both on our high school debate team. We made a verbal agreement that I would research for him in the month prior to the JV national debate tournament (to which he qualified) if he would do the same for me for the varsity tournament (held a month later). I completed my end of the deal but when it came time for him to help me prepare, he declined. His explicit reasoning was that the contract was unenforceable and that he didn’t value our friendship. The going rate for a debate coach for one topic is $400-$800 which is what he saved via agreement. Can I collect?

Asked on April 23, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Georgia


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Yes, certain verbal contracts - if they meet all the requirements of a contract - are binding.  Certain are not because they violate laws that require that the type of contract they fall under be in writing, like a real estate contract (for the purchase of real property; must be in writing or it violates the statute of frauds).  I would sue for breach and for services rendered. Bring what ever proof you have. If the former friend says that was not the deal they have admitted that there is a contract and you shold be home free.  Good luck.    

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