So let's sum things up: The LOI and similar documentary terms, are non standard, confusing, and lead to ambiguity. Documentary ambiguity is referred to in trade law as a condition "The Battle of the Forms" in which confusion from contradictory and ambiguous forms and documents damages the transaction. This should be avoided. To seasoned corporate traders and bankers, using terms like "Letter of Intent" is the mark of amateurs. What you properly want is an RFQ, request for quotation, from a seller or supplier. The seller may then reply to your RFQ with a quote OR full offer if they wish.
Contrary to the sellers' and their super sales_conscious agents' familiar claim that "There is nothing to lose in signing those documents," quite the complete opposite is true _ namely, a great deal, in fact, could potentially be lost particularly by the buyer by signing an LOI to a supposed seller. Why? In a word, this is because the LOI is actually fraught with many incalculable legal flaws, traps and pitfalls, much of which could often be prohibitively costly for the buyer, according to legal authorities and contract law experts. (See below for more on this)