Skip to main content

Mutual Mistake


An error of both parties to a contract, whereby each operates under the identical misconception concerning a past or existing material fact.

For example, a customer goes to the sample room of an interior decorator to select a carpet and asks the clerk to show him a navy carpet, which he subsequently purchases and takes with him. The sales slip notes that the carpet purchased is navy. When, upon examining the carpet in daylight, the customer discovers that it is black, not navy as he thought when he bought it, a mutual mistake would have occurred, since both the seller and buyer were in error concerning the correct color of the carpet sold. Since there had never been a true and complete meeting of the minds, no mutual assent was actually arrived at, and the buyer would be entitled to return the carpet and obtain a full refund.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Mutual Mistake." West's Encyclopedia of American Law. . 22 Oct. 2016 <>.

"Mutual Mistake." West's Encyclopedia of American Law. . (October 22, 2016).

"Mutual Mistake." West's Encyclopedia of American Law. . Retrieved October 22, 2016 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.