1

I rented a boat slip at a marina for a month in Maryland. I was sent a QuickBooks invoice via email (with integrated payment button), and attached to the email were two documents - an invoice and a contract. I paid online with a credit card.

The email and the invoice both had the line "Payment of the invoice means acceptance of the terms of the attached contract." Question #1: is this legally binding upon payment?

The contract is written in a way that raises more questions. It is a PDF with all my info all ready filled in by their office staff. Two issues caught my eye. The following text is part of the contract: "This agreement is not cancellable or refundable unless written permission from XXX is given. Initial____" I never signed this document, electronically or on paper, and therefore, my initials are not filled in. Question #2: Is this clause binding since my initials are clearly desired but not present?

Further, there is a standard signature & date block at the end of the contract. My name was typed in by their office staff, and the date is blank. Question #3: Is the cancellation clause above, and the contract as a whole, legally binding, or am I free to cancel at any time?

1 Answer 1

2

Question #1: is this legally binding upon payment?

Yes

Question #2: Is this clause binding since my initials are clearly desired but not present?

Yes

Question #3: Is the cancellation clause above, and the contract as a whole, legally binding, or am I free to cancel at any time?

It’s binding. If the cancellation clause is enforceable under local consumer protection law (and I don’t see why it wouldn’t be) then you can’t cancel except with the other party’s agreement.

Offers can be accepted by word (signing the contract) or deed (paying the invoice) and you only have to do one of these to form a valid contract. Acceptance by performing (some of) the obligations under the contract is in fact the most common way contracts are accepted - think about the last time you bought groceries; did you say you were entering a contract to buy them or did you just put them on the check out counter and pay what was asked?

By the way, there is nothing “implied” about your acceptance- it’s explicitly spelled out that paying is accepting.

2
  • 1
    Thanks. I do not know why your answer was downvoted but whoever downvoted should have explained why.
    – pbarranis
    Aug 22, 2020 at 11:24
  • 1
    @pbarranis should you continue breathing, it will mean that you agree to pay every user of this site $1,000,000 (US) within 1 month. This doesn't seem like a contract, does it? Yet, by the explanation provided in this answer, it would be. The answer needs to be more clear on what kinds of deeds can indicate an acceptance of a contract. Certainly a deed which, in itself, has another purpose as its goal (such as paying for a service) does not necessarily have a secondary purpose of signaling an agreement to a contract.
    – grovkin
    Aug 22, 2020 at 20:50

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.