As far as I've been able to figure out, the phrasal verb "call off" is used as a specialised term for when you order or request specific services or supplies that you have previously agreed on in a general framework agreement. Now I'm wondering if I've got this right, and, if so, how it's used. Could I say the following, for instance:

Services will be called off in accordance with the general framework agreement.

We do not guarantee that the estimated number of hours for services will be called off.

The agreement applies to call-off of services during the period specified in the agreement

If I haven't got this right, I'd be very grateful for any suggestions as to what I should use instead :)

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    This seems like a bad idea given the colloquial usage of "call off" to mean "cancel", which would be exactly the opposite of your intended meaning. Sep 22, 2021 at 15:50
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    Maybe "call upon" might be clearer
    – user35069
    Sep 22, 2021 at 15:52
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    @NateEldredge Thanks for your comment! I agree, but then again, legalese is known for being obscure, and using words and phrases in a whole different way compared to "normal" usage, right? :) So, I need to ask whether this is your general opinion as a speaker of English, or whether you're positive that this is NOT the legal term for what I need.
    – Helen
    Sep 22, 2021 at 16:45
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    @RockApe Yes, I'm pretty sure there are several ways of phrasing this in a way that would be much clearer for us mere mortals, but I need the actual legal term for it... But I take it "call off" is NOT the correct legal term for it then?
    – Helen
    Sep 22, 2021 at 16:47
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    It's a general opinion; I have no experience of any legal usage of this term. Still, I think it definitely creates ambiguity, and that could give an opening for the other party to claim they thought the other meaning was intended. "I'm just a simple country farmer, Yer Honor - how was I to know that when this slick city lawyer said 'call off' they meant the exact opposite of what everyone else does?" I don't see why you would take that risk when you could avoid it by rephrasing. Sep 22, 2021 at 17:18

2 Answers 2


how it's used

According to this source

A call-off contract, also known as a blanket order, is a purchase order which enables bulk orders over a period of time. This is a form of framework agreement that is often used in construction where projects can last for months or even years.

The benefit of using a call-off contract is that it allows the supply of materials to be secured over multiple delivery dates, meaning that a customer does not have to hold excess stock (e.g. all the bricks required to build a housing development) on site; instead they can ‘call off’ stock as and when it is required.

This also reduces the amount of administration required to process multiple purchase orders. Instead, sales orders and invoice items are raised as they are needed until the point at which the contract is fulfilled, the end of the order period is reached, or the maximum order value (which is pre-determined) has been reached.

Another significant benefit is that call-off contracts are often negotiated with pre-determined pricing, which can offer discounts for bulk ordering. This is beneficial for suppliers who are guaranteed ongoing business over a period of time and can help them manage cash flows and orders.

Careful management of call-off contracts is essential, with appropriate controls in place. The customer should have confidence that the agreed pricing is maintained and the schedules for call-off are met; while the supplier should have firm control over their commitments, and make sure they do not over- or under-supply.

  • Thank you! This is pretty much what I've found as well, looking at different sources, but I'm still unsure as to how exactly "call off" is used from a strict language point of view... As in the sentences I bring up in my initial question. From the text you're citing here it seems at least the first of my suggested sentences works though..?
    – Helen
    Sep 22, 2021 at 18:54

I just had the brilliant idea to ask a firm specialising in contract law for help, and they confirmed that the example sentences that I list in my question are indeed correct :)

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