Office of General Counsel

University of Mississippi

SKB_1588-AU Contract Training

Do you just need a purchase order or do you also need a contract?

As a preliminary matter, remember that it is not necessary to create a contract every time you make a  purchase — particularly a purchase of goods.  In fact, most purchases made by University personnel are made by processing a purchase order with no other written agreement.  (While purchase orders and acceptances also create  binding agreements — we are not discussing those here.)

 If a vendor is willing to sell the University a product without a contract, ask yourself whether there is some type of risk to the University that a contract might help mitigate?  Usually there is no such risk  and the purchase order is sufficient.

Furthermore, if a vendor wants you to sign a contract, it will probably be a contract full of terms that are favorable to the vendor and not to the University.  Vendors and their attorneys are looking out for the vendors’ interests — not the University’s.


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