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  1. #1
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    Default Is a Store Purchase With a "No Returns" Sign an Oral or Written Contract

    Say I buy a watch from a jewellery shop...

    Often, there are terms written on the counter sign such as 'no returns'.

    Is this therefore a written contract?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: an Oral Contract

    Quote Quoting lesta
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    Say I buy a watch from a jewellery shop...

    Often, there are terms written on the counter sign such as 'no returns'.

    Is this therefore a written contract?
    No. A written contract is one in which all the essential terms of the agreement are put in writing and the writing is signed by the parties. Those signs do put you on notice of the store policies that then may be part of the contract you have with the store.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: an Oral Contract

    Quote Quoting Taxing Matters
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    No. A written contract is one in which all the essential terms of the agreement are put in writing and the writing is signed by the parties. Those signs do put you on notice of the store policies that then may be part of the contract you have with the store.
    So it's definitely an oral contract then.

    Are all retail contracts between business and consumers (i.e. can you reduce the price, I'd like to buy that), generally considered to be oral contracts?

    And retail contracts where I just point to that watch over there and give you the money, without saying anything, considered to be a contract by conduct?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: an Oral Contract

    Quote Quoting lesta
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    So it's definitely an oral contract then.

    Are all retail contracts between business and consumers, in transactions like this, general considered oral contracts?
    Most smaller retail store sales (e.g. sales made at a check out counter in a grocery store, fast food restaurant, etc) are oral contracts but the details of the individual sale do matter. There are some retail sales in which written contracts are used. In general, the more money that is involved the more likely it is that a written contract will be used by the parties. A classic example is buying a new car at a car dealer. Those too are retail sales. The vast majority of such sales are done with written contracts because of the large amount of money involved.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: an Oral Contract

    got it, cheers!

    the gold watch was worth $5,000 but there was no mention of anything written on the facts, just a price haggle and subsequent purchase.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: an Oral Contract

    Quote Quoting lesta
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    got it, cheers!

    the gold watch was worth $5,000 but there was no mention of anything written on the facts, just a price haggle and subsequent purchase.
    Right. Those sorts of purchases are oral contracts. Because the entire deal is completed all at the same time: you select the watch you want, negotiate the price, pay the money and get the watch to take home, there is not as much need for a written contract. All the performance required by both sides is complete, so there won't be much risk of a lawsuit later for breach of contract. Moreover the terms of sales of those sorts of items are typically pretty simple, so there is usually no real dispute over what the terms of the deal was. Finally, you may hear about the statute of frauds provision in the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) that most states have that in general requires a contract for the sales of goods that exceeds $500 to be in writing to be enforceable in court. There is, however, an exception to that rule where the party who is suing has fully performed his/her part of the deal. So if there was a dispute about an over the counter sale in which payment was already made and the buyer has taken the goods either side could sue for an alleged breach of the contract and not be limited by the statute of frauds.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: an Oral Contract

    Quote Quoting Taxing Matters
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    Right. Those sorts of purchases are oral contracts. Because the entire deal is completed all at the same time: you select the watch you want, negotiate the price, pay the money and get the watch to take home, there is not as much need for a written contract. All the performance required by both sides is complete, so there won't be much risk of a lawsuit later for breach of contract. Moreover the terms of sales of those sorts of items are typically pretty simple, so there is usually no real dispute over what the terms of the deal was. Finally, you may hear about the statute of frauds provision in the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) that most states have that in general requires a contract for the sales of goods that exceeds $500 to be in writing to be enforceable in court. There is, however, an exception to that rule where the party who is suing has fully performed his/her part of the deal. So if there was a dispute about an over the counter sale in which payment was already made and the buyer has taken the goods either side could sue for an alleged breach of the contract and not be limited by the statute of frauds.
    So definitely an oral contract it is. I'm actually in Australia, but most law here is derived from UK law so it may share similarities, although I've never heard of anything similar in contract law yet. Our law (that I'm aware of) only specifies that certain contracts need to be in writing such as credit and consumer leases, second hand vehicles, domestic building works over $12k, land sales, and unsolicited consumer agreements such as door to sales...

  8. #8
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    Default Re: an Oral Contract

    And there's the problem. This site deals with US law not UK or Australian law.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: an Oral Contract

    Quote Quoting lesta
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    So definitely an oral contract it is. I'm actually in Australia, but most law here is derived from UK law so it may share similarities, although I've never heard of anything similar in contract law yet. Our law (that I'm aware of) only specifies that certain contracts need to be in writing such as credit and consumer leases, second hand vehicles, domestic building works over $12k, land sales, and unsolicited consumer agreements such as door to sales...
    Law in the U.S. started with English law too, but in the nearly two and half centuries since we split from England our law has evolved to be different from the U.K. in a number of ways. I suspect Australia law too has changed to be different from UK law as well.

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