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Are Unsigned Contracts Binding?

“I purchased a room addition to my house for $40,000. Now I’m having second thoughts. I noticed that I signed the contract but the construction company did not. Am I stuck?”

Signatures are one way to prove that both parties agreed to a deal. Performance is another way. Your signature says you agreed. If the company did something they were required to do by the contract (perform stated work, buy materials,…) that tends to show you both intended to be bound.

But not every contract must go to completion. If they haven’t started yet, you may be able to negotiate your way out without paying anything. Even if they have started you might be able to limit what you owe them if you tell them right away to stop. Most companies would prefer not to argue with you and would rather work out a settlement.

If they try to play hardball, you can still stop the contract. If you tell them that you cannot (or don’t want to) pay them, you are in effect breaching the contract. Then they have an obligation to limit their damages, which means the amount you have to pay them to get out of the agreement will be limited.

These negotiations are delicate, and you don’t want emotions or false charges to come into play. It’s handy to be able to consult a lawyer so you’ll know your rights and obligations. Sometimes you might even want your lawyer to conduct the negotiations. Believe it or not, that might save you money in the long run.

Argent Place Law, PLLC focuses on businesses and business owners. The firm provides legal business counsel in matters of business law, corporate law and contract law, intellectual property law (trademarks/patents/copyrights), and succession planning, including estate planning with wills and trusts for its CEO clients.

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