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Is an oral contract enforceable in Texas?

On Behalf of | Mar 29, 2021 | Firm News

If you performed work for a home or business owner and then never received payment for your efforts, you may wish to seek legal intervention. However, you may then remember that you never signed an official contract. Instead, you and the customer agreed to the terms of the job — including payment — verbally or via email and text message.

At this point, you may believe that you are out of luck. This is not necessarily the case. Texas is one of many states that recognizes the validity of oral, or verbal, contracts. However, whether the courts will order the other party to remit payment depends on whether you can prove the agreement existed at all.

Oral contracts

According to Chron, an oral contract is an agreement between two parties that is entirely oral or verbal in nature. For example, you may have quoted a customer $15,000 to perform work on his or her home. The customer agreed and you two shook hands, thereby entering an official oral contract. If you completed the job as agreed but the customer refused to pay all or a portion of the $15,000, you may ask the courts to enforce the contract provisions. Whether they will depends on the provability of said agreement.

Provability

It is one thing to enter into a verbal contract. It is another entirely to prove the existence of that contract or, more specifically, its terms. For instance, it may be obvious to a judge that the customer agreed to let you perform work on his or her home, as you may have before and after photos. However, the customer can say that you agreed to do the work for $2,000. Because there is no evidence to dispute this, the judge may not be able to enforce the $15,000 provision. The only real way you can prove the existence of an oral contract and its terms is if you can provide a witness.

The bottom line is that Texas does recognize verbal contracts. Whether courts can enforce them, however, is another story entirely.