The Mailbox Rule

Increasingly, business contracts are not completed face-to-face, but rather by mail or e-mail. While this is usually not a problem, the question of when a contract actually came into existence can be incredibly important in later litigation. If you are unsure whether or not you have a valid contract, consider consulting with an Irvine business attorney.

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What Is The Mailbox Rule?

The Mailbox rule determines when an offer is made and accepted if mailed between the parties to a contract. As part of contract law, the mailbox rule will change subtly depending on what state the contract was entered into and where it is being enforced. Generally, the following rules apply:

  • An offer to contract is valid at the time it is received. This means that if you mistakenly mail an offer to someone, and call them before the letter gets there, you can cancel the offer without giving them an opportunity to accept.
  • The acceptance of an offer is valid at the time it is mailed. The one wrinkle to this rule is if someone mails a rejection, changes their mind, and sends an acceptance. In this scenario, it is whichever communication the other party receives first that controls.
  • The revocation of an offer is valid when received. This means that even if a revocation is mailed before the acceptance is mailed, there can still be a valid contract.

If the mailbox rule is involved in your litigation, an experienced Irvine business attorney can help you determine the best way to proceed with your case. Call Daily Alijian, LLP, at 949-861-2524 for a consultation.