In order to know your rights under sale of goods and/or service agreements, it is important firstly to understand the basic principles of contract law. Contract law is all about enforcing promises and making them legally binding irrespective of whether there is something in writing to this effect. Despite the word ‘contract’, and contrary to popular belief, a written contract is not required in order for these obligations to exist in law. A contract may also be formed verbally or by implication, simply by one party making an offer and the other party accepting that offer – even purchasing an item in a shop, or getting into a taxi are examples of this. Of course it must be proved that both offer and acceptance were clearly communicated and understood, that both parties were legally capable of making those promises, and there was something being offered in exchange for the promise (usually money). And while ‘putting it in writing’ is not necessary for a legally binding contract to exist, as the next section will show us, it may be hard to prove what was otherwise agreed.

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