If I was recorded on the phone telling the buyer of my car that I would refund her money but nothing was putin writing, am I legally bound by that?

UPDATED: Feb 17, 2012

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If I was recorded on the phone telling the buyer of my car that I would refund her money but nothing was putin writing, am I legally bound by that?

I am being brought to small claims court regarding a car that I sold on craigslist they are suing me claiming that it has a blown head gasket. I made them sign a bill of sale that we both signed that stated it was an “as-is sale”. I did make a mistake after I had sold it I told her to return the car and I would give her money back that night she has led me on about it so I decided not to refund her. She recorded me saying I would refund her but there was no written agreement. Is that still legally binding or am I in the clear?

Asked on February 17, 2012 under Business Law, Kansas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

1) Oral agreements--such as those made over the telephone--are binding and enforceable; an agreement does not need to be in writing to be enforced. Certainly it can be more difficult, as practical matter, to prove the existence and terms of an oral agreement (it may come down to "he said, she said"--i.e. one person's word against another), but that a practial issue: legally, the agreement, if proven, may be enforced.

2) If you know or reasonably should have known of the problem with head gasket but represented the car as in good shape, that may be fraud; if so, the buyer could rescind the transaction (give car back, get money back), notwithstanding the "as is" language.

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