If we entered into a contract with a buyer who gave a false name, can we rescind the contract?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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If we entered into a contract with a buyer who gave a false name, can we rescind the contract?

The sellers attempted to perform due diligence on the buyers by googling the name given, however nothing derogatory came up on that search. Subsequently, we learned his true name and determined immediately that we would have never entered into the contract had we known his true background and character. Is this material misrepresentation and does it make the contract subject to rescission with the potential to seek damages such as retention of all moneys paid to date?

Asked on May 3, 2019 under Business Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

It is fraud--a material mistrepresentation--and so would allow the seller to void the contract: to undo it as if it never happened. But if they do that, they have to return the monies paid to date, because as stated, the contract is undone as if it never existed, so there is no grounds to keep any payments or deposits. The parties are returned to their status ante quo: their respecrive status' prior to entering into the contract.

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