Materials Management

Effective Date: 03/01/2000

Policy Statement 46: Changes to Purchase Orders

Purchase Order - A Binding Contract

When a purchase order is written in response to an offer by the vendor and is based on acceptable terms and conditions, it becomes a binding contract and cannot be broken by either party so long as both parties honor the terms and conditions of the agreement. To break or cancel the contract requires the consent of the other party.

When a purchase order is written to a vendor which is not in accordance with the terms and conditions previously offered by the vendor, it does not become a binding contract unless the purchase order is acknowledged and accepted by the vendor in writing or if shipment is made and accepted.

Changes to Orders

Changes to purchase orders, including cancellations, must be approved by the Department of Materials Management. Most vendors are willing to make reasonable changes to an order without penalty to the purchaser. Generally, only when a vendor has expended funds for fabricating special equipment or made shipment will a charge be made for changing or canceling an order. (See copy of Change Order in Appendix Section.)


Any department desiring to make a change to a purchase order should advise the Department of Materials Management in writing or via e-mail to the appropriate buyer or to the purchasing assistant. A request for a change order should include:

If the change is acceptable to all parties, a change order will be issued. Copies of the completed change order are distributed to all offices which received copies of the original purchase order.