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Discuss About The Protecting Consumers Using Postal Commerce?

The first and the most essential aspects are offer and acceptance. There must be a lawful offer from one party and a valid acceptance by the other party (Smits 2017). This is the basic and the first requirement in order to form a valid contract.

In this context, It is another rule of contract law that after the offeror makes an offer to the offeree and when the offeree provides a counter offer, the original offer gets destroyed and the original offeror becomes the offeree and the offeree becomes the offeror. In the case of Hyde v Wrench (1840) 49 ER 132, Wrench had offered Hyde to sell an estate for 1000 pounds, to which, Hyde made a counter offer that whether the estate could be bought for 950 pounds (Poole Shaw-Mellors and Devenney 2017). Hence, in this case, it was held that the original contract of sale by Wrench was destroyed and the counter offer made by Wrench was a new offer, where Wrench became the offeree and Hyde became the offeror.

Another rule of contract law is that an offer can be revoked at any time before its acceptance. However, such revocation must be brought to the notice of the offeree, otherwise it has no effect. In DICKINSON V. DODDS [1876] 2 CHD 463, Dodds offered Dickinson to sale a house for $800 and stated in his offer later that the deal was open till 12 June, 9 am. On the 11th of June, Dodds sold it to another person and Dickinson got to know of it from another person and had sent a formal letter of acceptance to the offer to Dodds before the end of the stipulated time of the offer. It was held that no acceptance was made and offeree was aware of Dodds being no longer minded to sell the house to him beforehand and therefore the offer was withdrawn validly (Jones 2017).   

In the given case, John Doe made an offer to sell 1000 tons of Barley to Tom Jones for $1000 per ton, which he would deliver in 60 days and payment was to be made in cash. To this offer, tom Jones made a counter offer that he would like to pay the amount in four installments. Therefore, according the common law of contract, due to the counter offer of Tom Jones (offeree), the original offer of John Doe (offeror) got destroyed and the counter offer gave rise to a new offer, where Tom Jones became the offeror and John Doe became the offeree and this rule shall apply here in accordance with the decision in the case of Hyde v Wrench .

Relevant rule

The offer made by John Doe was open till 22nd and the counter offer by Tom Jones was made on 17th August. After receiving the letter on 18th August, John Doe immediately replied to tom Jones that he will not sale the barley if the payment is not made in cash and therefore, rejected the offer or revoked it, which was received by Tom Jones on 20th August. But before receiving this letter he had already sent another letter, accepting John’s first offer, before receiving which, John had already sold the barley to another. Therefore, as the counter offer constituted a new offer and John had rejected it, about which Tom had knowledge, it can be said that there was no acceptance of such offer by John and according to the common law and from the decision in DICKINSON V. DODDS, there was no formation of a contract and the offer was validly withdrawn by John.    

Therefore, in the given case, there was no formation of contract as the original offer was destroyed by the counter offer and there was no acceptance of the counter offer by John Doe.

Is John Doe legally obliged to wait until the 22nd August to sell the 1000 tonnes of barley in his letter of the 15th August?

In contract law, there are exceptions to the general rule of offer and acceptance that acceptance is done, when directly communicated to the offeror. These are called the postal rules of contract law. When offer and acceptance is to done by post, it may create certain delays and gaps in communication between the parties (Hearn 2017). The postal rules were established for such purpose in the cases of Adams v Lindsell [1818] 1 B and Henthorn v Fraser [1892]. It was held that when offer is made by post by an offeror, the acceptance or rejection is said to be done by the offeree, as soon as such acceptance or rejection is posted by the offeree as a reply to such offer (Todd 2017).

Moreover, it is also a rule under the common law that an offer can be rejected at anytime by the offeree and such revocation must be in the knowledge of the offeror.In the given case, the postal rules, as have been applied in the cases of Adams v Lindsell [1818] 1 B and Henthorn v Fraser [1892], the postal rules of contract law will apply as the offer and counter offer were made by post. Although the stipulated time of acceptance of the offer was 22nd August, Tom Jones did not accept the offer and made a counter offer, which destroyed the original offer and as John Doe, immediately revoked such counter offer as soon as he received the counter offer. Therefore, according to the postal rules of contract, the moment John had posted the rejection of the offer, the offer was revoked, without any regards to Tom’s last letter for acceptance of the first offer, made by John. As John had rejected the offer at the time when he posted it, he could sell the barley without waiting till the end of the stipulated time of his first offer i.e. till 22nd August, which was destroyed by the counter offer.

Terms of Contract


Therefore, based on the postal rules of contract, John has no legal obligation to wait till 22nd August for selling the barley as per his offer made on 15th August. 

According to the common law, the contents of a contract are the terms of such contract, which state the obligations of each party to a contract. It is very much necessary to determine whether a statement or representation is a term of contract or not (O’Leary 2017). Terms of a contract can be classified into:

  • Conditions- These are the major terms and are at the heart of the contract. In case of breach of such terms, the aggrieved party can either terminate the contract and or sue for damages
  • Warranties- These are less important or minor terms of contract and in case of breach, the aggrieved party cannot terminate the contract but can sue for damages.
  • Intermediate terms- These terms fall between the condition and warranty and are divided according to the relative seriousness of the consequences of the breach. Remedies for breach of terms depend on how the court views the seriousness of the consequences of the breach i.e. whether it is a breach of condition or warranty.

On the other hand, terms of a contract can be expressed or implied. Expressed terms of contract are those which are clearly and expressly mentioned in the contract and implied terms of contract are those which are not expressly mentioned but are implied by courts, statutes or customs (Austen-Baker 2017). The expressed terms are divided under the broad categories of condition and warranty. It is very essential determine if a party has entered into a contract due to a particular term.

In the given case, Gorpal wanted to buy a Mercedez Benz cruiser for starting a business as a taxi driver, for which, he approached his friend Alistair, a MercBenz car dealer. Alistair offered the car to Gorpal for $50,000 and said that he had a shipment of the required vehicles, which he expected to arrive by the end of the week. Due to such statement made by Alistair, Gorpal entered into the contract with him and hence it can be treated as an expressed condition for entering into the contract. But, Alistair failed to provide the car within the stipulated time and Gorpal bought the same car from another dealer due to such delay. As the time of delivery, as mentioned by Alistair was an expressed condition for Gorpal to enter into the contract, there was a breach of such expressed condition and according to the common law, when there is a breach of a condition, the aggrieved party can sue for damages and or terminate the contract.


According to the common law, there are five basic remedies for a breach of expressed contract terms: rescission, restitution, reformation, money damages and specific performance. An award for money damage includes an amount of money, which is given as compensation for the financial losses occurred, which is caused due to the breach of a contract (Dobbs and Caprice 2017). In case of breach of expressed terms, parties are entitled to the total amount of gain or profit that would have resulted, but for the breach. The extent of the damages to be recovered is governed by the type of breach. Moreover, as stated earlier in case of a breach of an expressed condition of a contract, the aggrieved party can claim damages and or sue for damages (Carter Wayne and Gregory 2017).

In the given case, Gorpal entered into the contract with Alistair due to the statement made by Alistair of delivering the car within a week. This was an expressed condition based on which Gorpal entered the contract because he wanted to start a taxi business as early as possible. Alistair failed to deliver the car with in the stipulated time, due to which Gorpal bought the same car from another dealer, which took another 6 weeks. According to the common law, Gorpal can either cancel the contract or and sue Alaister for damages. As due to Alistairs’s breach, Gorpal was delayed in starting his business, he has the option to repudiate the contract and or sue for monetary damages for the financial loss that he had suffered throughout the stipulated time of one week and the further six weeks, due to the delay of the car delivery by Alistair.

Conclusion

Therefore, apart from repudiating the contract, monetary damages are available to Gorpal for the financial losses suffered by him due to Alistair’s breach of condition.

References:

Austen-Baker, Richard. Implied terms in English contract law. Edward Elgar Publishing, 2017.

Carter, J. W., Wayne Courtney, and Gregory Tolhurst. "AN ASSIMILATED APPROACH TO DISCHARGE FOR BREACH OF CONTRACT BY DELAY." The Cambridge Law Journal 76, no. 1 (2017): 63-86.

Dobbs, Dan, and Caprice Roberts. Law of remedies: damages, equity, restitution. West Academic, 2017.

Hearn, John. "Protecting Consumers Using Postal and E-Commerce Delivery Services in Competitive European Markets." In The Changing Postal and Delivery Sector, pp. 127-137. Springer, Cham, 2017.

Jones, Lucy. Introduction to business law. Oxford University Press, 2017.

Kötz, Hein. European contract law. Oxford University Press, 2017.

O’Leary, Leanne. "Introduction." In Employment and Labour Relations Law in the Premier League, NBA and International Rugby Union, pp. 1-18. TMC Asser Press, The Hague, 2017.

Poole, Jill, Adam Shaw-Mellors, and James Devenney. Contract law concentrate: law revision and study guide. Oxford University Press, 2017.

Smits, Jan M., ed. Contract law: a comparative introduction. Edward Elgar Publishing, 2017.

Todd, Paul. E-commerce Law. Taylor & Francis, 2017.

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