Among Internet based brokers and agents the LOI is commonly advanced as a leading inquiry document. This protocol is utterly incorrect, and misuse of the LOI is often seen by experienced Exporters as a mark of an amateur. Letters of Intent are not standard international business documents, though they do legitimately pop up rarely, much less often than most brokers believe.
"My advice [to parties contemplating having an LOI] is to proceed with caution before signing any such document. As a general rule (and there are exceptions), I urge the parties to go right to the final documents and "dot all of the I's and cross all of the T's," rather than go through this interim step of a letter of intent, which has many potential traps."