Letter of intent is used when an individual enters into a certain transaction or business relationship. People usually go for letters of intent instead of going for a legally binding agreement.
The LOI as it is now used is a misunderstood application of poorly informed brokers and traders. A more proper application based on established custom and practice in International trade, going back even to the old medieval "Law Merchant" (Lex Mercantilis) is: Buyer requests a quotation _ in modern usage this is an RFQ/Request For Quotation _ NOT an LOI. Seller may then reply with a Quote. Buyer confirms receipt of quoted prices, and requests an Offer.