Is a verbal contract enforceable?

UPDATED: Sep 3, 2011

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Is a verbal contract enforceable?

We were asked to be managers in a salon from the guy that owned it. But he said for tax reasons he wanted us to put the salon in our name, and in return we would get 20% of whatever money came in. He verbally agreed to pay for the work and materials that needed to be done before the salon opened and the things that would have to be left in his building of which my husband and I payed for. Once everything was running, he decided that we needed to pay him $2,500 every month for rent. We said no because that was not what was agreed on and left. He now won’t pay us and has been slandering our name. Could we sue him for other factors for that as well as embarrassment and stress?
Legally how can we get our money?

Asked on September 3, 2011 under Business Law, Idaho


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You neeed to speak with an attorney about this situation. Here are some factors to consider:

1) Generally, verbal, or more properly, oral agreements or contracts are enforceable. However, there are some exceptions, such as agreeents which will take more than one year to perform, leases for more than one year, and agreements which involve extending credit for more than $50k. From what you write, depending on how the deal was structured and the amount of work and material involved, one or more of these exceptions*could* apply.

2) Illegal contracts are unenforcable--if the essence of this deal was to try to defraud the government of taxes by putting the business in your name, while it was really owned by another, that could be an unenforceable illegal contract.

3) If you were involved in tryin to commit tax fraud, you could face liability for that.

4) Defamation is the public making of an untrue statement of facts--so, not a true statement, even if negative; and not an opinion--which damages a person's or business's reputation. If you think this is what happened, you may have a cause of action for defamation.

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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption