What to do about a cancelled contract?

UPDATED: May 29, 2012

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What to do about a cancelled contract?

I placed an order with a sign company for a sign for our business. The owner of the sign company went from the initial price of $235 to $515. The owner says we owe him for a sign nut we canceled within 48 hours of my verbally saying I thought it was OK. The owner states that the order was placed and then shipped on the same day. We notified him by email that we wanted to cancel due to the fact that his price was almost 3 times the price of what it should have been. I ordered without the consent of my husband who owns the company. I felt very pressured and intimidated. Now he is taking us to small claims court. Do I have any rights? There was nothing signed and I have no paperwork.

Asked on May 29, 2012 under Business Law, North Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

An oral contract is enforceable, so the absence of a written contract does not protect you. The fact that you felt "pressured and intimidated" is irrelevant, as long as illegal threats (e.g. violence, blackmail) were not used--the law expects responsible adults to make decisions in their own interest and resist pressure, and does not make high pressure sales tactics and the like illegal. It does not matter if the price was higher than it should have been, since the law does not prevent people from making bad deals or purchases. And if to a reasonable outside person, you would have seemed to have the authority to make this order, the other party may rely  on that "apparent authority."

Finally, if they already fulfilled--or at least incurred costs--prior to your cancellation, they could clealy hold you to your agreement; indeed, even if they had not already fulfilled or incurred costs, they could probably hold you to the agreement, since the law does not require sellers to provide a right of cancellation in cases like this.

From what you write, you seem to be obligated for the amount you agreed to.

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