LOI is used as manipulation tool at the hands of unscrupulous sellers & agents. Often times, obscure or scam_oriented persons who claim to be crude Sellers, or represent themselves as sellers' agents, mandates or brokers largely by an Internet contact or communication, employ the LOI merely as a tool to quickly "corner and box in" a prospective buyer to a purchase deal, before the prospective buyer may demand that they provide their business profile or show him something tangible to demonstrate that they are truly legitimate sellers. Such sellers would persistently demand that the prospective buyers hurry and issue them an LOI right upfront purportedly as proof that they are "serious" about making the purchase _ that is, before the buyer may probably start raising some probing questions about them or their credentials as legitimate sellers.
A famous example often cited by legal scholars, was a case involving the Getty Oil and Pennzoil in very early 1984. The parties had signed a "Memorandum of Agreement" _ viewed by the parties at the time as a Letter of Intent _ for a complex investment and stock transaction, whereby Pennzoil would purchase Getty Oil stock, and set forth general terms of the investment that had been reached in conversations, and also stipulated that the Memorandum was subject to the approval of the Board of Getty Oil. The Board of Getty Oil sooner approved the transaction and both parties announced on January 4, 1984 in a press release, an "agreement in principle" to the terms of the Memorandum. The final agreements for the merging of Texaco and Getty Oil were signed by the parties on January 6 _ 8.