If I have an original contracting stating one thing but later offered something different later, can I revert back to the original agreement?

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If I have an original contracting stating one thing but later offered something different later, can I revert back to the original agreement?

I run a publishing house. Due to a former partner whom we separated from before we LLC’d being dissatisfied, I’m running into a contract issue. In short, before we LLC’d and had the funds to handle all publishing costs, we did buy-ins for the anthologies that we release. The authors all signed contracts stating they understood the buy-ins were non-refundable. After my former partner pulled her shenanigans and her slander, several of the authors wanted to pull out and demanded refunds. In an attempt to salvage my company, I agreed. However, now I’m wondering if I should revert back to the original contract terms? The funds are to be used for marketing and promotion and some of it has already been spent as the advertising books early. I’d actually have to pull money from my own pocket at this point.

Asked on June 23, 2019 under Business Law, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

It depends on whether the authors promised or gave you anything of value in exchange for the promised refund. A contract is enforceable; a "gratuitous promise," or promise made "for free" without receiving anything in return for it kis not. What makes a contract a contract (and so enforceable) is not just the agreement between the parties, but also that each party gives or promises the other side something of value. Without you receiving "consideration" for your promise to refund, that promise is not enforceable and you can enforce the terms of the original contract.


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