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JB Umphrey
JB Umphrey, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 20233
Experience:  Explains legal matters based on 14+ years experience.
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How binding is a verbal agreement in Massachusetts Back in

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How binding is a verbal agreement in Massachusetts? Back in early February, my daughter and 2 of her friends found a place at the beach to rent for a week in August, for themselves and 3 other friends, 6 girls total. The two girls who were with my daughter each put down a deposit. One of those girls also signed a temporary agreement in order to hold the cottage until her 23 yr old sister,who is one of the 6 going, could get there to sign the actual rental agreement. You have to be over 21yrs old to rent. The rental cost was $1770.00 for the week, $295 per person, which my daughter agreed to pay. During the 2nd week of May, the older sister's friend backed out of the vacation so now the cost was to be divided by 5 people, at $354pp. My daughter hadn't paid the $295 yet and complained to her friend that she didn't have the extra $59, which the older sister wanted in full in 2 weeks. My daughter then decided to also back out. The two sisters are now taking my daughter to court for the $295 even though she's not going. My daughter never signed anything nor did she ever agree to pay the extra if someone cancelled. She is scheduled to go to court tomorrow even though the vacation week is in Aug. The girls don't speak any longer so we don't even know if they found someone else to go in place of my daughter or if the rental was canelled. What should my daughter expect to happen?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 6 years ago.
Thank you for using JustAnswer!

What did your daughter do for them to believe that she was in on the deal?

Did they rely upon your daughter's representations before someone signed the lease?

Are they being "damaged" by your daughter's decision to not see it through?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

My daughter did nothing more than to say that she wanted to rent a place at the beach with them and went along with the 2 girls to look for a cottage.


Yes, my daughter and the 2 girls agreed on the price per person before her friend signed to hold the cottage but my daughter never talked to the older sister at all before she went to sign the official agreement.


There is a $400 cancelation fee if the others decide not to take the cottage, but at this time, we don't know if they found someone else to take my daughter's place.

Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 6 years ago.
Has your daughter been sued in small claims court?

How old is your daughter?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
She is 19 yrs old.
Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 6 years ago.
Is this case being handled in small claims court?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 6 years ago.
The rules of evidence do not apply in small claims court.

I can't tell you for certain how the judge will rule.

It's hard to claim breach of contract when there's no written contract.

However, there can be other theories of liability including fraud/misrepresentation which do not require a writing. It only requires that your daughter make certain representations, the other party relied upon them in taking certain action, your daughter didn't follow through, and the other party has been damaged as a result. For that reason, there is a realistic possibility that the judge will find against your daughter.

It can really depend upon how the other side "presents their case" and how many questions the judge asks before making a ruling.

Good luck and best wishes for better days ahead. I hope that you find this information to be helpful in better understanding where you daughter may stand and why. I also hope that you find this answer to be ACCEPTable!
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

What do you mean by the rules of evidence do not apply?


Will the judge take into concideration that the vacation week is 2 months from now? Why should she pay for something when it hasn't happened yet?

Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 6 years ago.
It means that people can say whatever they want in court. It doesn't have to be admissible. The judge can allow hearsay, documents that aren't authenticated, etc. It can be like the TV court programs.

All judges are different. I can't speculate what the judge will/won't take into consideration.
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