In sum, the rationale underlying the Seller's demand for LOI, can essentially be summed up as follows: 1) That giving an LOI to a seller by a prospective buyer, is an indication that the buyer is "serious" and willing to purchase; 2) That use of the LOI is the usual way of initiating a purchasing proposal by a buyer, and is the right and proper way to go; and 3) That there is nothing for anyone in the deal to lose by a prospective buyer signing an LOI.
So let's sum things up:* The LOI and similar documentary terms, are non standard, confusing, and lead to ambiguity. * Documentary ambiguity is referred to in trade law as a condition "The Battle of the Forms" in which confusion from contradictory and ambiguous forms and documents damages the transaction. This should be avoided. * To seasoned corporate traders and bankers, using terms like "Letter of Intent" is the mark of amateurs. * What you properly want is an RFQ, request for quotation, from a seller or supplier. The seller may then reply to your RFQ with a quote OR full offer if they wish.