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    • Thread Starter

    Hi guys,

    I have a problem question surrounding offer and acceptance with a car company and buyer. There's a lot of invitation to treat/request for information aspects which i've addressed, but the final point has me a little stuck.

    The car company give a firm offer, followed by:

    Peter immediately posted a letter to the Sales Manager which stated: “Great. I look forward to taking delivery in the very near future”. However, later that afternoon, Peter decided that he must have a new car immediately. He therefore telephoned the Sales Manager in order to cancel his order. The Sales Manager had already gone home so Peter left a recorded message on an answer machine which the Manager listened to the following morning. By this time Peter’s acceptance letter had arrived but remained unopened on the Sales Manager’s desk.

    and the question is:

    Q. (a) Is there a binding agreement between the two parties?

    I know that I should know this, and I think I do - I'm just way too much in christmas mode for my brain to work properly at the moment!

    Basically though, I'm just getting confused with this final unopened letter part. If the postal rule applies, the offer would have been accepted as soon as he posted the letter, no?

    So where does he stand in calling the sales manager? Does the fact that the letter is unopned actually make any difference?

    I can't find anything about withdrawal of acceptance, so does that mean there is a contract which he has now accepted and it's too late to back out?

    Any help would be great!


    Revocation of an acceptance is a mainly unknown area of law. However, authors such as Hudson think that if you can retract the acceptance via a faster mode, it should be allowed.
    I think the question here is:-
    What time did Peter call? If he called during working hours, it could be argued that he revoked before the letter arrived. Equally, if the letter arrived *after* working hours had begun the next day, then it could be revoked. But if he called after working hours and the letter arrived before working hours/at the same time then it probably wasn't revoked.

    Alternatively, if acceptance can't be revoked then the simple answer is: yes, there is a binding agreement

    Three basic approaches:
    1. You can withdraw
    2. You can withdraw as long as you aren't using a faster means to speculate
    3. You can't withdraw

    As Gethsemane says, this is an unsettled area of law, so you need to think about a) how a court is likely to decide a case and b) how a court *should* decide a case.
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