Is a guarantee written in an e-mail valid?

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Is a guarantee written in an e-mail valid?

I bought a round-trip ticket from a travel company in ’09. I chose to change the return date of the ticket. The standard change fee of the travel company is $100. I’ve been communicating with the company about changing the ticket for months. In April I received an email from the company guaranteeing me the change rate of $100 if the return ticket is between Aug 16-23. I called the travel company recently to find out there is a flight available in that week, but the price for me to change would be $209. The company’s guarantee is no longer valid due to changes in the airline industry.

Asked on August 3, 2010 under General Practice, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

As a general matter, an agreement made or memorandized via email is enforceable. There are some caveats:

1) If there was a prior agreement (e.g. the ticket agreement) which stated somewhere in its terms limitations on how it could be changed--for example, stating that changes or amendments had to be signed by a certain person, in a certain form, sent via mail, etc. If there were applicable limitations to making changes to the original agreement, those limtiations should be enforceable and could preclude making changes in other ways.

2) If either the original agreement or the email stated that certain fees or costs are either subject to change if there are certain regulatory changes or changes in the industry's costs, and those changes happen, they could then change the fee; or if the original agreement or email stated that any prices guaranteed  in it were  only guaranteed for a certain period of time, once that time is up, they could make changes.

 


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