In the given situation, we notice that the subject here is Jo who has read an offer in the local newspaper that the local store JB Low-Fi Pty Ltd (in further context, referred to as JBL) is offering up to 80% discount on electronics items being sold by the store. The advert also clearly states that the offer shall last as long as they have the stocks with them.
Having read the article, in the given case, we see that the subject here, Jo, went to the store and took a liking for a MacbookLite which was being offered at $1,000. The owner informed Jo that the particular piece was not available with the store; however an upgrade to Macbook Air could be made available at a slightly increased pricing of $1,300. Jo agreed upon it and exchanged email addresses with the store owner, on the condition that he would keep the last piece for Jo. However, Jo realized later that he had sold off the last piece to someone else; almost a couple of days after Jo had visited the store. The question or issue which arises here is to understand if Jo is understand if she has the legal stand when referred to Formation of Contract laws in Australia.
According to Gibson and Fraser (2014), in order to form a contract between two parties, there are a few elements which both (or more) the parties to the contract have to fulfill, in order to be legally bound by the contract law. They are agreement, consideration, and the intention to create a legal relationship, capacity and formality. In the case law of Carbolic Smoke Ball, the corporation had invited the world at large to try its product, and in return had put a consideration (in case of failure) as a reward of $200 pounds. One must clearly consider other factors like revocation of offer, acceptance and termination of the offer, as guided by the Contract laws of Australia.
In the present scenario, we notice that the store had made an invitation to offer, and not offer since the public was called out at large to engage into a contract with the store, and not a direct contact through the newspaper advert. Therefore, the advert was not an offer to sell the Macbook Lite or Macbook Air or any other electronic item for that matter, since the basic condition was not fulfilled, i.e., offer; and instead of that an invitation to offer made.
Further to that, basis the interaction at the counter, there was no consideration exercised by Jo to the store owner against the request to hold that last piece of laptop for her. The Electronic Transaction Acts 2002 clearly states that in any given circumstance, electronic means of postal addresses, i.e., email IDs are perfectly acceptable in the court of law as the means of communication. However, in this scenario, there was no exchange of emails from the store, nevertheless, this will not be enforceable in a court of law.
In order to conclude, I would like to state that the basic conditions of the formation of a contract were not fulfilled in the given case. There was a lack of intention to create a legal relationship in this case, and the same was proved by the lack of consideration exchanged between Jo’s end to the shop owner. Therefore, Jo’s legal position isn’t strong under the given circumstances.
In the present scenario, we notice that the subject Jane had joined a Yoga workshop wherein, it was stated in the receipt that the owners are responsible for their own belongings, and any damage/misplacement caused will not be held responsible for by the agents, employees or the Yoga institution. Since lockers were provided at the Yoga institution, Jane was curious about the applicability of such a statement on the lockers as well? She reconfirmed from the authorities verbally, and it was communicated by the agents of the Yoga institution that the statement is only applicable in case the personal belongings are stolen from places except for the locker. However, it must be noted that this was not given in writing to Jane, which as we move further will turn out to be the circle of this case.
Under the Australian Contract Law, the terms of contract basically set the guidelines for the duties of the parties to contract, in either of the following manners.
- Expressed Terms
- Implied Terms
In the given case study, the type of clause which was inserted by the Yoga institution was an expressed one which stated clearly that the owners are responsible for their own belongings. As per Weitzenbock (2012), an oral clause can be associated with a written clause in case the intent of one of the parties is strong enough to convince the other one to sign the offer. This was proved in Bannerman v White (1861). It is clear that had the Yoga institution clearly said that the owners are responsible for their own belongings in the receipt given in by them to Jane.
The law states that the courts have a meaningful look into all aspects of the case before actually taking a final call. Some of these factors are timing of the verbal statement, significance of the statement, written contracts and strength of the statement (Weitzenbock 2012). Let us take up the applicability of various issues in the below statement.
In the given case, we see that Jane’s Blackberry was damaged while it was placed at her locker; when she was during the Yoga session. Under the given circumstances, taking into consideration that it was clearly stated in the receipt that the “The Centre, its employees and agents accept no responsibility for loss or damage to any of your belongings. Please guard your belongings at all times.”; we must understand that the centre has shifted the liability to the participants of the Yoga Institute. However, Jane was insistent on knowing about the applicability of the same on the assets being put in the locker. Up on this, there was a verbal statement by the institution’s agents that “The wording only applies if you kept your belongings anywhere else and only if they are stolen”. Thus, we see that it was a written clause that was exchanged between Jane and the Yoga institution wherein Jane was not required to put her signature on. However, there verbal commitment which was exchanged between the agents and Jane put her into a situation wherein Jane is capable of suing the institution for the damage of her Blackberry since it was no where written that the owner will be responsible for the damage of their property, should that be placed in the locker.
Therefore, in the current scenario, Jane has all the rights to sue the company for the damage of her Blackberry since there is a disassociation between what the institution said and the damage to her phone.
Emily M Weitzenbock. 2017. English Law of Contract: Terms of contract. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.uio.no/studier/emner/jus/jus/JUS5260/v12/undervisningsmateriale/Terms.pdf. [Accessed 11 May 2017].
Gibson and Fraser, AG and DF, 2014. Business Law. 9th ed. Australia: Pearson.