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Are verbal agreements legally binding?

1 Answers. Asked on Apr 26th, 2012 on Contracts - Ohio
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In January signed up for a 2-year gym membership. Before signing, the conversation went like this: Me: I only want to sign up for a few months. I don''t want to belong to a gym in the summertiime. Salesguy: You can suspend your membership over the summer months. (He volunteered this. I had never heard of such a thing.) Me: How does it work? Him: Say you suspend it for 3 months. Then your expiration date gets moved back 3 months. Me: How do I do it? Him: Just tell them at the front desk when you want to do it. The ability to suspend is the only reason I signed up. Now they don''t want to let me suspend the membership. One problem is that the salesguy who made the promise works for a Marketing Firm hired by the Gym. (So it probably was misinformation, not willful lying.) The Gym won''t let me suspend because it''s not on the contract. The Marketing Firm won''t return my calls. Do I have any recourse? How should I procede?
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Answered on May 05th, 2012 at 7:56 PM

This is the problem with oral agreements. To answer your question, yes, oral agreements are binding. But, you have to prove the terms of the agreement and obviously the other party doesn't agree about the terms since you have a dispute. Your question raises issues that can be difficult, for example was the person that told you the membership could be suspended authorized to bind the gym? If not, caveat emptor. Get it in writing before you sign and start paying.

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Most people and business enter into contracts on almost a daily basis. Simply put, a contract is a legally binding agreement between two parties. One party makes an offer to do something in exchange for "consideration," or payment, and the other party accepts that offer. Contacts can be verbal, in writing or even implied. Some contracts--such as signed credit card receipts--are very simple. Others--such as those used to buy or sell real estate--are far more complicated. If you are entering into a complex transaction, it pays to hire a contract law attorney as early as possible in the process. Your lawyer can help negotiate the terms and conditions of the agreement, then draft the contract or review the contract that has been presented to you. Law firms with experience in contract law can also defend you if you or your company has been accused of breaching a contract, or if you need assistance enforcing a existing contract.
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