In order for Barry to bring a successful legal action against Sarah he would have to prove the following main points of law.
1, There was a valid and current offer
2, Acceptance of a valid offer was received by Sarah.
3, The first two points occurred in the correct manner, and the offer was accepted resulting in a binding contract.
The sequence of events and the resulting points of law were as follows
On Monday Barry contacted Sarah, his sister to discuss IT needs as this is her area of expertise. Sarah confirms she has 3 different computers that she would expect to receive at least $1000 for each of them, and that she would be prepared to hold the laptop until Friday if Barry was interested. Barry confirmed his interest and requested to see photos of the laptop.
On Wednesday, Sarah directs him to an advertisement online with pictures of the laptop. At this point Barry has enquired, no offer has been made and Sarah has shown an invitation to treat as per Partridge v Crittenden (1).
We are not made aware of the contents of the online advertisement, nor are we privy to the asking price of the advertisement. Nor are we aware of the stated method of acceptance if any, this is important as per Adams v Lindsell (2) for when no means of acceptance is stipulated. This would mean that Sarah would only have to make Barry aware of her acceptance for it to be binding.
Sarah directs Barry to a commercial advertisement for her business this makes it a professional dealing and not a family one as this is Sarah’s business and she has elected to deal in a business sense not a family sense therefore intention to be bound must meet a business requirement not a family one refer to case: Carill v Carbolic Smoke Ball Co (3). To clarify that this is not a direct offer only an invitation to treat.
Barry’s request to see photos indicates both intention and consideration but at this point no offer has been made. Just further evidence of the invitation to treat made by Sarah. Per Pharmaceutical Society (GB) v Boots Cash Chemists (Southern) LTD (4). Where goods displayed there is no offer until the purchaser makes one.
Barry may indeed feel that the offer to hold the laptop until the end of the week was a show of intention by Sarah and quite possibly even convinced him that Sarah had indeed made an offer to Barry to sell the laptop. This would be more a case of mere inquiry similar to the Stevenson, Jaques &Co v McLean (5) case where an inquiry was taken as an offer when in fact it was not.
1 Stephen Graw, An Introduction to the Law of Contract
(Lawbook, 7th ed, 2012) 47.
2 Ibid 103.
3 ibid 54.
4 ibid 48.
5 Ibid 62.
On Thursday Barry makes an offer to Sarah, asking in addition to the lap top for a 12 month warranty, the price offered is not mentioned but it seems the assumption is for an amount of $1000 in keeping with Fitch v Snedaker (6), Sarah does not accept nor reject the offer but decides to consider it as per Williams v Carwardine (7) , we are not made aware of...