What about promises made verbally?

Many disputes arise due to statements or assurances made verbally during the negotiation stage, but not incorporated into a written contract. This does not mean they are not legally binding, but they are harder to prove. If you have been promised something which causes you to enter into a contract, which then turns out not to be the case, you can sue for breach of contract. If you have been told something which is an inducement to enter into the contract, but which may not be a fundamental part of it, you can sue for misrepresentation (Under the Misrepresentations Act 1967).

Where a supplier knowingly provides false or misleading statements and promises, this is a criminal offence and would have to be dealt with by the enforcement authorities (Trading Standards) who may or may not decide to prosecute.

More about contract law

Is it legally binding?

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6 comments… add one
  • Amanda 13 October, 5:29 pm


    My mum signed as guarantor for a commercial lease 4 years ago. We were given inducements verbally to enter into the contract. At the time she did not know she had cataracts in both eyes and they were very bad as was her sight. My sister and I had to leave a room to my baby boy and we both told her in front of them not to sign at all. The landlords heard this clearly. They pushed her into signing, knowing she was unable to see clearly or even try to get her glasses out of her bag to see if they helped her read. The witness was not independent but one of their employees. It was whipped away within a couple of seconds of her signing and already had the witnesses signature on. We never saw the form until in court earlier this year. We were an LLP and they are currently putting it onto my mum as guarantor. We did not even receive a contract for years nor receipts. The LLP was dissolved by mistake by Companies House and I was wondering if the guarantor form was legally binding. They intimidated her to sign. Also, we were told that as she had signed we also had to sign the contract.

    Anyone know if this can be helped?


  • John Renick 14 November, 12:49 pm

    bought a satnav with a £30 fuel promotion from a store. They asked for proof of purchase, unit serial number and fuel receipt which was sent by post. After a month they sent email asking for serial number and a VAT fuel receipt. Only discovered email on 12/11/13 which was the date they wanted receipts (deadline) this email had been sent on 7/11/13. Checking out the promotional paperword nowhere includijng under terms and conditions does it as for a VAT receipt. When we went to the storte on 12/11/13 the asst. manager rang the supplier who acknowledged VAT receiopt hadnt been asked for originally and would look into it. This morning 14/11/13 we received an email rejecting our claim. Am I correct in thinking this may be misrepresentation? Thanking you in anticipation. John

  • Victoria Crosby 26 February, 7:30 am

    We bought a house 2 months ago and when we moved in we found that the boiler was faulty to the point where it cut out every 30 mins, so even if you had the timer on, it was irrelevant as boiler cut out.
    This meant that every morning there was no got water or heating and if you left the house for more than 30 mins we always came back to the cold. Bearing in mind that we moved in January and it has not been warm. There was no seclarAtion of a faulty boiler on any of the forms the seller filled in and he told us on the day we loves in that the boiler was faulty.
    Bearing in kind that I have a 3 month old son, we have had to pay £2500 to have a new boiler system installed just so that we could keep warm and have hot water.
    This has taken a big hit out of the maternity pay money we had saved and now means I have to go back to work 2 months earlier than we had wanted.
    Had we known there was a problem with the boiler we would not have bought the house because we knew we couldn’t have afforded to pay for it to be replaced but now we have had to.
    Should the seller not have mentioned this on the paperwork and am I entitled to any form of redress, compensation, money towards it? It seems wrong that it’s ok for him to not have told us.

  • Valerie Turner 3 September, 8:59 am

    I purchased a brand new house in 2010, the builders sold me this house on the understanding that the access path was mine and my responsibility to maintain it, which I had been doing for 3 years until I found out that it doesn’t belong to me, I have had legal advise from 2 different firms of solicitors, but apparently I don’t have a case, surely the estate plan and plot schedule which show the path as being as being part of my property/boundaries, is enough evidence.

    The solicitors have said I signed off wrongly on the first plan but I’m doubtful, plus the builders did jobs for me on this path whilst I was still under there 2 yr warranty, all letters and emails from solicitors became very contridictive, first one states it was first registered in my name, then the builders made a mistake and sold it to my neighbours AFTER I PURCHASED. The builders solicitors refer to the path as being mine, I just don’t know who to turn to for help any more I’m a pensioner and every thing has become so complicated please can you help me.

  • Kev 25 November, 9:56 am

    On 22nd April 2015 I entered into a contract with Fairline Financial Limited for recuperating packaged bank account fees that I had been paying for a number of years.

    Prior to entering into the contract the salesperson James Darkes stated that ‘what would happen if you do win, would be, your account would be downgraded to a normal interest paid current account, all your facilities would stay exactly the same like your account number and sort code, the only thing you would notice different is you’d not be paying the monthly fee and it’s not a gold account anymore.’

    I have now discovered that contrary to the statement made by the salesperson, the compensation would not be as was represented to myself for the following reasons:

    – I had to downgrade the account myself by going into the bank and embarrassing myself, letting them know I had made a claim against them.

    – I had to change my account from a gold account to a normal interest paid current account myself so I didn’t incur any more monthly fees from my bank.

    The statement detailed above was relied upon by me and induced me into a contract with you and accordingly constitutes a misrepresentation under The Misrepresentation Act 1967.
    What can I do as I was made to pay their fee, when what I was told never happened but they did retrieve the money, I signed thinking that I wouldn’t have the embarrassment of changing the account myself and explain the reason for downgrading was because I made a claim against them, who can i report the company to?

  • Poppy 18 November, 11:45 am

    was promised money from my late brothers estate and the person who promised hasn’t been forthcoming ,to protect ourselves we made a recording of the conversation,is it legally binding