The purpose of this essay is to determine if there was an enforceable contract between Sarah and Barry, and whether Sarah breached the said contract. In formulating a contract one must consider four main elements: offer, acceptance, intention and consideration. These four elements will be covered in detail to be able to advise Sarah on the strength of her legal position.
While working from home is advantageous to many, it also brings with it other issues. Specifically in regards to this scenario the primary means of communication for Sarah’s business is unknown. The effects it has on this scenarios is that one potential customer is family, and could possibly have a different contact number for Sarah, which when it comes to business related matters like this she did not expect to have a message regarding the sale of the laptop on her home phone.
In definition an offer is a clear statement of the terms upon which an offeror is prepared to be contractually bound. It generally takes the form of a promise to do or to refrain from doing something and usually upon condition that the offeree agrees to do or to refrain from doing something else. The question is, have these conditions been met in the communications between Sarah and Barry?
When Barry contacted his sister Sarah in regards to purchasing a laptop for his son, Sarah, provided Barry information on 3 computers that she had at the moment, in particular a laptop that she had just listed on The Trading Post. Sarah then advised Barry that she would expect at least $1,000 for each of the computers. Legally at least does not provide a clear statement of intent to sell for a set price as found in Harvey vs Facey. It also did not provide Barry with an offer to purchase at that cost as stated in Niesmann v Collingridge.
Sarah’s advertisement in The Trading Post is not considered an offer to sell, but an invitation to treat, where Sarah is offering people the opportunity to negotiate on the price that she has advertised, Pharmaceutical Society (GB) v Boots Cash Chemists (Southern) Ltd can be used as a guide to how courts view invitations to treat.
Sarah’s suggestion to Barry that she will hold the laptop to the end of the week for him if they (Barry and his son) were interested was done more out of family obligation than intent on her part to sell to Barry for the said “at least” amount.
When Barry rang Sarah on Thursday morning enquiring whether she was able to provide a 12 month warranty and Sarah advising that she would think about it. In relation to this scenario IF there was an offer in place, would this enquiry have been a counter offer or a mere inquiry? To decide this one must “consider the effect [of the response] on a reasonable person standing in the offeror’s shoes. In this instance Barry was merely enquiring, which is neither a acceptance or a rejection as can be seen in Stevenson, Jaques & Co v McLean. This enquiry by Barry would not be considered a counter offer as...