In order for a contract to be legally enforceable in North Carolina, the parties must agree to the essential terms of the agreement.  In a recent case decided by the North Carolina Court of Appeals involving a service contract, two homeowners sued a landscaper for breach of contract and other claims.  Rider v. Hodges, No. COA17-110 (N.C. App., Aug. 15, 2017).

The dispute arose out of landscaping work which the homeowners believed was not fully completed.  While the landscaper actually did some work and the homeowners made some payments, the Court of Appeals found that there was no agreement on (1) the scope of work to be done and (2) the amount to be paid.  For example, one homeowner testified that the landscaper “didn’t agree to specifically do anything, just to get started on the landscape.”  As a result, the Court of Appeals ruled that there was no enforceable contract and therefore, no breach of contract by the landscaper.

In reaching its conclusion, the Court of Appeals held that “[a] contract for service must be certain and definite as to the nature and extent of the service to be performed, the place where and the person to whom it is to be rendered, and the compensation to be paid, or it will not be enforced.”