Question about contract law (offers, acceptance and revocation) Watch

defnek
Badges: 1
Rep:
?
#1
Report Thread starter 5 years ago
#1
Hi everyone. I'm studying the Graduate Diploma in Law and need to answer this question regarding contract law. I have some thoughts, and would like if people could check over to see if I am on the right lines. Thanks.

The question:

A offers B a contract for the latter to repair the former's goods. This offer is done in letter form, and is written on 1 April. It states that B should accept/reject by letter also. However, A has made a mistake in the address, which results in a delay to the letter, and it only gets there on the 6 April.

On 4 April, C hears about A's offer and decide they want to accept. After telephone negotiations, A offers C the contract to repair the goods and C accepts.

On 6 April, A sends a fax to B telling them that the 1 April offer has been withdrawn. The fax is received at B's office at 9:30 am on a weekday, but no-one at B's office actually reads it until 4:30 that afternoon. On the morning of the 6 April, B gets the original letter of 1 April, and they send their acceptance of the offer at 11:00am.

My answer (paraphrased):

C will get the contract. A has made a valid offer to both B and C, but B had not accepted the offer in time. A has revoked their offer to B under the general rule in Offord v Davies, and B's acceptance came after this revocation, so they could not accept. The rule that revocation must be communicated (which would mean that B would get the contract) does not apply because it was revoked by fax: it was sent during business hours which means that the offer was revoked at 9:30am on 6 April, rather than at 4:30pm (see The Brimnes).

Thanks for any help you can give.
0
reply
defnek
Badges: 1
Rep:
?
#2
Report Thread starter 5 years ago
#2
bump
0
reply
jmargetts
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#3
Report 5 years ago
#3
I'm in a similar boat to you in the sense that I'm a newcomer to the law, but nevertheless, I shall give this question a shot considering that I've since sacrificed my Sunday to the perils of early contract law. With that in mind, I wouldn't regard this answer as definitive, although I do think my reasoning is quite similar to yours. These answers are straight from my own notes, and I've added a few more cases for my own benefit.



A offers B a contract for the latter to repair the former's goods. This offer is done in letter form, and is written on 1 April. It states that B should accept/reject by letter also. However, A has made a mistake in the address, which results in a delay to the letter, and it only gets there on the 6 April.

It's best to establish that, first of all, this is indeed a formal offer from A to B, and not an invitation to treat. Gibson v Manchester City Council shows that ambiguity in language may fetter a firm offer. However, this obviously isn't the case - A is making an unequivocal offer to B.

On 4 April, C hears about A's offer and decide they want to accept. After telephone negotiations, A offers C the contract to repair the goods and C accepts.

Here we have the formal acceptance of an offer from A to C. It might be worth pointing out Entores v Miles Far East Corp, where it was held that should a telephone line go dead during the act of acceptance, the onus is on the offeree to call back the offeror and confirm the acceptance of the contract. Otherwise, the contract remains unfinished. Again, this isn't the case here - a legally binding contract between A and C has been made.

On 6 April, A sends a fax to B telling them that the 1 April offer has been withdrawn. The fax is received at B's office at 9:30 am on a weekday, but no-one at B's office actually reads it until 4:30 that afternoon. On the morning of the 6 April, B gets the original letter of 1 April, and they send their acceptance of the offer at 11:00am.

The Brimnes can be directly applied to the above scenario - revocation sent by instantaneous communications during ordinary working hours brings formal withdrawal from the contract into effect as soon as it arrives in the office. Furthermore, it doesn't even need to be read by anyone working there. Presumably, A's revocation by fax arrives in the office before the original letter of offer does, meaning that the original offer to B is discarded, C retains the contract, and B has no chance at claiming damages under contract law.

The next question, and this is where I am personally struggling at the moment, is how can the application of the law to this scenario be expanded to involve current issues in the law? It seems to me that there is conflict within the use of the postal rule - why does it apply to the postal service, but not instantaneous communications? Further, why does the acceptance of an offer not have to be received by the offeror, but the revocation of an offer has to be seen by the offeree when using the mail?

Again, I'm not even sure if these are issues that should actually be explored within the above question. What I do know is that it's too late to try and answer them in detail. I hope my small answer helps.
1
reply
LSME
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#4
Report 5 years ago
#4
If your having problems with contract law, you may want to take a look at our contracts outline which explains offer, acceptance, and consideration. You can find it lawschoolmadeeasy.com
0
reply
PerSteffani
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#5
Report 5 years ago
#5
You really should check out the postal rule, Adams v Lindell, if offeror missaddresses envelope acceptance is valid at the point of posting, regardless of when the letter arrives. Your already given the information that it's a offer so distinguishing is irrelevant but a definition could be useful. The question is not asking who gets the contract but rather is a bound to both b and c.
0
reply
PauLLL
Badges: 5
Rep:
?
#6
Report 5 years ago
#6
Apologies for my post. It was 2AM when I wrote this, though that does not excuse bad advice.

Yes, you are correct. The Nestle case I was referring to was in regards to consideration, I don't know why that sprang to mind.

Regardless of the path I took in getting there. My answer was correct either way.

I'd like to thank the poster below this for pointing this out.
0
reply
Forum User
Badges: 19
Rep:
?
#7
Report 5 years ago
#7
(Original post by PauLLL)
A offers B a contract for the latter to repair the former's goods. This offer is done in letter form, and is written on 1 April. It states that B should accept/reject by letter also. However, A has made a mistake in the address, which results in a delay to the letter, and it only gets there on the 6 April.

This was an invitation to treat, and as stipulated by A, B must send a letter back for it to be accepted. (I believe it's the Nestle case that proves this.)
I only read as far as this but you might win the prize for the least accurate advice ever.

a) The question tells you that it is an offer from A to B. There is nothing to suggest that it is an invitation to treat.

b) If it was an invitation to treat, then it cannot be 'accepted', one can only accept offers.

c) If A says 'accept/reject by letter' that is not enough to mean that B 'must send a letter back'. There needs also to be very clear mandatory words such as 'only by letter and in no other way' - look at Tinn v Hofmann or Manchester Diocesan Council v C&G

d) What on earth does the Nestle case have to do with anything? I know two leading Nestle cases. One is in contract law, concerning the adequacy of consideration, nothing to do with offer and acceptance. (The other is on trustee's duties in Equity).
0
reply
Angel1102
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#8
Report 3 years ago
#8
Hi I am new to contract law. It looks interesting but there is lots of reading to do.
0
reply
Gold moon
Badges: 4
Rep:
?
#9
Report 1 year ago
#9
Hello everybody .
My question about A offer to sell his car to B for 31500 but B reply to him saying "in cash I could only give you 20500 for your car but if you will accept my car 11000 in part exchange I would go all way " could any one help me whether there is a counter offer or not ? Please
0
reply
Buzurg
Badges: 1
Rep:
?
#10
Report 1 year ago
#10
(Original post by Gold moon)
Hello everybody .
My question about A offer to sell his car to B for 31500 but B reply to him saying "in cash I could only give you 20500 for your car but if you will accept my car 11000 in part exchange I would go all way " could any one help me whether there is a counter offer or not ? Please
When there is An Offer then there will be counter offer
acceptance for acceptance is not a valid acceptance but counter offer
0
reply
X

Quick Reply

Attached files
Write a reply...
Reply
new posts
Latest
My Feed

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

Personalise

University open days

  • Birkbeck, University of London
    Undergraduate Open Day - Startford Undergraduate
    Thu, 21 Mar '19
  • University of Wolverhampton
    Postgraduate Open Evening Postgraduate
    Thu, 21 Mar '19
  • Edge Hill University
    Undergraduate and Postgraduate - Campus Tour Undergraduate
    Fri, 22 Mar '19

Where do you need more help?

Which Uni should I go to? (62)
15.12%
How successful will I become if I take my planned subjects? (41)
10%
How happy will I be if I take this career? (78)
19.02%
How do I achieve my dream Uni placement? (60)
14.63%
What should I study to achieve my dream career? (44)
10.73%
How can I be the best version of myself? (125)
30.49%

Watched Threads

View All