For an agreement to be binding in English contract law, one must intend to create legal relationships; but in trade (i.e. agreements that are not concluded between family members or friends), there is a legal presumption of „willingness to create legal relationships“. In the 1925 case of Rose & Frank Co v. JR Crompton & Bros Ltd, however, the House of Lords found that the phrase „This agreement is not. a formal or legal agreement. however, only a record of the intention of the parties“ was sufficient to rebut the presumption in question.  The end result may, in many cases, be higher costs or poor quality products for consumers. Worse still, a gentlemen`s agreement can be used as a means of promoting discriminatory practices, such as in an „Old Boy`s“ network. In the worst case, a gentlemen`s agreement may be entered into to engage in anti-competitive practices such as price agreements or trade quotas.
Since a gentlemen`s agreement is tacit – not bound on paper as a legal and binding treaty – it can be used to create and enforce rules that are illegal. This has resulted, in some cases, in gentlemen`s agreements where Wall Street financiers such as J.P. Morgan and his „House of Morgan“ have met with the office to obtain prior authorization for mergers and acquisitions. One such example was the gentlemen`s agreement, in which regulators and the president overrided the Sherman Antitrust Act to allow United States Steel Corp. to become the world`s first billion-dollar company. Until Jackie Robinson was hired by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1946, a gentlemen`s agreement allowed African-American players to be excluded from organized baseball.  In 1890, the U.S. government banned gentlemen`s agreements in trade and commerce relations between nations. .