Only the most seasoned business veterans remember the days when business correspondence involved paper and ink. Today, almost all business is conducted via email, including negotiating for goods and services.
Over the past decade, courts have typically held that emails can be enforceable contracts, even if the purpose for the communication was merely casual negotiation. Therefore, when writing emails that involve entering into an agreement or contract, you should do the following:
- Be sure that if an offer is being made, you clearly state that it is an offer.
- If an offer has been made that you reject, clearly state the rejection. If you make a counteroffer, state that you are doing so.
- When making an offer or counteroffer, (1) make the identity of the parties to the offer clear, (2) state the actions that are to be performed by each party, (3) communicate a timeline for the actions to be taken, and (4) outline the compensation structure and how it is to be paid.
- When accepting an offer or counteroffer, (1) clearly state your acceptance of the offer and repeat the terms so it is clear what you are agreeing to, and (2) state that by accepting the offer, the parties have entered into an agreement.
- If you have accepted an offer from another party and they do not respond in a timely manner to your acceptance, follow up to confirm your acceptance was received and to reiterate that you expect the agreement to be executed as stated in the correspondence.
If you are negotiating a more complex transaction, be sure you consult with an experienced business attorney to make sure you have an enforceable contract and that your business interests are fully protected.
When a business contract dispute arises, you need an experienced Arizona trial attorney to obtain the best possible result. Contact Williams Mestaz, L.L.P., at (602) 256-9400 to speak with us about your case.