If you are paying money in exchange for something in return (and that something isn’t already owed to you), then you have a contract—plain and simple. What you should discern from a service advertiser who promotes that they have “no contracts,” is that there are “no ongoing commitments.”
For example, say a cellular telephone service provider states that it is offering unlimited service for $50.00 a month, “with no contract.” Bob decides this is a good deal, so he goes to the store, purchases a cell phone, and pays $50.00 for the first month of service. Does Bob have a contract? Does the cellular service provider owe Bob anything in return for his $50.00 payment? Obviously, it owes him one month of cellular telephone service. But, why? If the service provider did not owe Bob one month of service under a contract in return for his payment, then the $50.00 was nothing more than a gift to the cellular service provider, and it owes Bob nothing in return.
The fact is, in my example, Bob does have a contract. He doesn’t have an annual contract. He doesn’t have any ongoing commitments to continue his service after the first month. But, he has a month-to-month contract, and the cellular service provider does owe Bob a contractual duty to provide him with one month of service in exchange for his payment. Actually, this scenario should make Bob happy that he does have a contract, since the cellular service provider cannot accept his money without being bound to provide him with service in return.