What controls – a written contract or an e-mail?

UPDATED: Apr 24, 2012

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What controls – a written contract or an e-mail?

Hello, I’m a wedding photographer and I have a client who claims I agreed to provide a wedding album to them, however, she says that I made this promise by email. This provision isn’t in the agreed upon contract that we both signed. She says that an email is a contractual promise. Is this true? Do I owe her an album if it’s not stated in our official contract?

Asked on April 24, 2012 under Business Law, Tennessee


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The contract is controlling and you are not liable for not providing the wedding album based on an e-mail with provisions not included in the contract.  Both parties agreed and signed a contract without the wedding album being included; therefore, the wedding album is not part of the contract.  Parol evidence (items outside the contract, negotiations, understandings, etc) is not admissible to vary or contradict the terms of the contract. 

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