What to do about a mistake in performance of a verbal contract?

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What to do about a mistake in performance of a verbal contract?

I paid a man to clear 1/4 acre of my land and plant 1000 pumpkins for Halloween (early last month, ready in 85 days). I bought and gave him the seeds and fertilizer. He cleared the wrong part and only 1/4 size we agreed to, he never planted anything. Is he liable for my lost crop or the money that I paid him? It was all verbal.

Asked on September 11, 2013 under Business Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

A verbal, or more properly, oral, contract is enforceable; so if this gentleman violated his obligations, you could sue him to recover damages, or compensation. Depending on the circumstances, you could recover potentially your lost profit (not gross sales; the profit) from the lost crop; or the money you paid  him; or the cost of the seeds--generally, you'd seek the largest recovery. The issue with oral contracts is practical: it can be difficult to prove exactly what was said and what was agreed to in the absence of anything in writing.


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