Law in the Marketplace: Can emails and Zoom calls be contracts?

In the New Hampshire Business Review, John Cunningham discusses the legal implications of emails and Zoom calls:

Within the past few years, emails and text messages (which I’ll refer to together simply as “emails”) have become the most important tools of business and legal communication. And within the past two years, Zoom meetings and other virtual meetings have become the second most important.

So if you’re a business owner, you have to answer the question whether something you say to a customer, a supplier or another third party in an email or a Zoom call can bind you as if it were set forth in a written contract.

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So what’s the bottom line? There are two of them:

• Even emails and Zoom calls can easily bind you to deals you don’t want. Emails and Zoom communications often have a friendly and informal feel. But be careful what you say in them.

• If a deal involves significant stakes for your company, never agree to it in an email or a Zoom call. Put it in writing in a carefully drafted contract.