Meeting of the minds and burden of proof

When engaging in a business deal in the produce industry, we understand that most of the time this is done over the phone, where important details of the transaction such as the terms of the contract (FOB, Delivered, CIF, Fixed price, consignment, P.A.S., etc.) and the product description (e.g., quality grade, no grade-Good Delivery/Good Arrival, size, quantity, etc.) are discussed.

Verbal communications are contractually binding if both parties agree on and understand the terms discussed. However, when there is a disagreement, or there is no meeting of the minds as to what was discussed verbally, the documents related to the transaction will determine the contract between the parties.

When the documents of the transaction are silent regarding one or more terms, each party has the burden of proof for their respective statements. That is why keeping written records of your communications is essential. This means making sure that for any items or issues discussed verbally during a transaction, a follow up email or text message is sent to confirm what was discussed.

DRC Good Arrival Guidelines indicate that in the absence of an agreement on the terms of the transaction, the transaction defaults to an FOB No Grade Good Arrival Guidelines contract.

The DRC Trading Standards and the DRC Transportation Standards act as default rules when parties cannot agree on the terms of the sale.

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