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Can you rely on a promise from a corporation? Relying on another. Are corporations bound by their word? No.

Updated on April 24, 2013

Do business one on one with a street vendor, it is real and face to face.

See what you like. Haggle a little. Shake hands. Give money. receive your goods.
See what you like. Haggle a little. Shake hands. Give money. receive your goods. | Source

Promissory Estoppels’, detrimental reliance and forbearance as consideration.

I would hope those words sound like gobbledygook to you. But they are the root and foundation for a whole set of legal principals that probably have effected you. As a consumer, probably in the negative. What is the right to rely on the promise of another?

The issue most frequently comes to bear in debt solutions. Here is a classic scenario: Credit card company loans you money, you are barely behind and can keep it out of collections if appropriate. The company promises to help you out if you provide them with a bunch of private information. You agree. You provide all the information. Now they will have no problem disrupting your private life until you pay them. You do all they ask and they still send you to collections and a lawsuit. Now you are on spam lists, your boss has been called, your references have been contacted and your credit score drops.

This happens every single minute of every day. Because we let it. Writing a letter after a phone call is a very good idea to memorialize in light most favorable to you, your conversation.

Patience and vigilance are required. All of this is not just for when you are behind, but read your bill carefully. There probably are some "institutional" errors that are not in your favor.

This ain't no new story - Check out this video

Right to rely is as old as a handshake.

You promise to do something for me and I promise to do something for you. Relying upon that we both get to work for the other. What it is that we promise is almost irrelevant. We are now doing something as a direct result of the promise of another. We are now acting to our detriment, in exchange for something we need. Remember time and information are very valuable.

What happens when someone fails to perform? We say they are in breach of an agreement and take it from there. What happens when a corporation is in breach? How can a corporation be bound to a promise?

There are a lot of fancy machinations that go into the above questions but the bottom line is this: Corporations are bound by their agents. Now if the agreement is not in writing and was not as straight forward as giving the other money in exchange for the promise we have problems. The requirements of proof need to be very specific and in most instances have some writing reflecting the agreement.

These folks lived by their word. Borrowed with a handshake and insisted you did too.

Grandpa and grandma made it through the depression. There was no credit in those days.
Grandpa and grandma made it through the depression. There was no credit in those days. | Source

Back to basics

Please do not get confused here. We are still a society that requires that people live up to their word. And that same rule applies to corporations. It is just that it is extremely hard to enforce against a corporation unless you know exactly how to handle promises made by them. First and foremost always confirm in writing. Also ask them to confirm. When confirming make the confirmation as strict as possible against the corporation. Second, in exchange for their promise, pay them ten dollars. The actual giving of some consideration even if token seals a deal.

Why is this important to our society? We have to stop relying on government prosecutions to protect our rights and dignity. For our brothers we must stand up to broken promises and lies and breach of contracts.

The cumulative effect.

Just assume you are a smart guy or gal. Just assume you calculate out the risks in contracts and can afford and factor in losses. Just assume standing up for your rights is just not worth your time. You can afford to just shake your head and move on. Now just assume I am not so sophisticated as you. Now just take responsibility. And realize that what you let slide gives license for that corporation to do it again. This time they do it to me. I cannot defend myself. And their malfeasance ruins my life. Surely they have ruined my life but just as sure, you let them. And again this happens every minute of every day.

If we see a wrong we are morally obligated to try and stop it. somewhere down the line American society started demanding that conflict and fighting were wrong. The trouble is half the people did not get the message and the other half decided to take advantage. Now that fighting for your rights is politically incorrect, big corporations take advantage. It makes dollars and sense.

There was a time and day when this writer was called a son of a bitch. On that day I realized just what it meant. And I tore into that tore into that much bigger boy with all I had. As I was to be punished I explained. Back in those days, he got punished and not me.

Causal connection

Most homelessness is a result of a cascade. It begins with a weakened state of mind. It is followed by someone taking advantage of that fact. This is followed by frustration and further disability to compete. And then this is followed by a lack of a caring world and support system.

We as citizens can intervene twice. The first and foremost line of defense is to prevent the “taking advantage of”. We can best achieve this goal, by being vigilante in saying “it stops here!”. It takes energy and sacrifice to build and rebuild a nation from the inside out. But mostly it takes each one of us to be a defender of common decency. The second time is to care, this is where our good works can make atonement for our apathy.

(cool thing to remember - the North Americans and British defeated HItler on his turf not theirs. WE must take the battle to them and not wait)


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    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 5 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      My friend ib, you are eloquent in your brevity thank you for contributing.

      I disagree the principles are there but we fail to uphold them by our allowance of a failure to conform. The law of Equity remains strong and powerful. The lawyers and citizens have become long gone as champions of Right.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 5 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Michele, thank you for your comment and reading. We must do as you say. We need to get a little angry, we need to assert.

    • ib radmasters profile image

      ib radmasters 5 years ago from Southern California

      principles like the law of Equity are long gone in the US.

    • Michele Travis profile image

      Michele Travis 5 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

      Very good hub. It did used to be good to be able to rely on people with a handshake. But, corporations are not people. You do need to have corporations sign the dotted line and pay them some money upfront. Very, very good hub. Thank you very much for the information.

      Voted up!