"Letters of intent are often touted as a 'non_legally binding' way to get the parties to set forth in writing what the undertaking is among them relative to a transaction. Too often, parties will sign such a document, feeling that they have little or nothing to lose by doing so... [True, that's] one of the attractive elements of the letter of intent [its purported non_binding nature]. However, courts have found letters of intent to create binding obligations, even if the letter itself does not explicitly state that it is binding... certain provisions within the document may indeed [still] have legal effect."
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.