Is a client entitled to a full refund if no contract was ever generated?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Is a client entitled to a full refund if no contract was ever generated?

A catering company got hired by client to cater private event. The client paid for private event in full days before the event. A receipt was given showing the

transaction, yet no formal contract was ever created. It was just a conversation via text. The catering company used part of payment to purchase the products for the event. Now, 3 days before the event is to take place, the client canceled and is requesting full refund. Are they entitled to any refund considering it’s so close to the event?

Asked on August 26, 2018 under Business Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, they are not entitled to a refund. Oral, or unwritten, contracts are binding and enforceable, too, so long as there was clearly a "meeting of the minds," or agreement as to what was to be done, and an exchange of "consideration," which is things (like money) or promises (like of providing services, or of more money) of value. What you descirbe is a situation where there was an oral contract, since there was agreement that the client would hire the company to cater, and there was an exchange of consideration (money paid for services). Therefore, since there was a contract, both sides are held to it: as long as the catering company was ready and able to perform, the client had to pay and cannot get a refund.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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