This section is from the book "The Law Of Contracts", by William Herbert Page. Also available from Amazon: Commercial Contracts: A Practical Guide to Deals, Contracts, Agreements and Promises.
A receipt is a recital of a fact and not a contractual provision; and, accordingly, the parol evidence rule which forbids the introduction of extrinsic evidence of prior or contemporaneous agreements to vary or contradict the terms of a written contract, does not prevent the introduction of evidence to contradict the truth of the fact which is set forth in the receipt.1 Consideration is as essential to the validity of a written contract as it is to the validity of an oral contract.2 For these reasons it is held in most jurisdictions, that where the creditor has given to the debtor a receipt in full, upon the debtor's payment of part of a liquidated and undisputed claim, the recital of fact in such receipt may be contradicted: and. since there is no consideration for the creditor's promise not to enforce the rest of such claim, the creditor may recover the unpaid balance in spite of such receipt in full.3 In some jurisdictions, language has been used which seems to indicate that, in analogy to the release under seal,4 a written receipt in full should be treated as final and conclusive, unless it is impeached for fraud or mistake.5 While in some of these cases the court does not seem to have had in mind the case of want of consideration, in other cases the court has held that a creditor, who gives a receipt in full, upon payment of a part of a liquidated and undisputed claim, can not recover the balance.6
7Young v. Power, 41 Miss. 197.
8 State v. Story, 57 Miss. 738.
9 Stafford v. Bacon, 1 Hill (N. Y.) 532, 37 Am. Dec. 366.
10 Green v. Redmond, 132 Md. 166, 103 Atl. 431.
11 Green v. Redmond, 132 Md. 166, 103 Atl. 431.
12 Bourgeois v. Edwards, - N. J. Eq. - , 104 Atl. 447. (The actual decision of this question proved unnecessary, as the court eventually found as a fact that the sale was to the wife of the debtor, and that payment was made with her own funds.)
1 See ch. LXIX.
2 See Sec. 537.
Under some express statutory provisions a written acknowledgment of satisfaction is binding if the creditor has received anything of value, either different from or less than that to which he was entitled under his original claim.7