A contract, which is an agreement between two or more parties, is enforceable at law - Law Assignment introduction. Once the contract is formed, those parties need to abide their promises. The essential elements of a contract include offer, acceptance, consideration and intention to create legal relations. In this case, it mainly covers offer, acceptance, and consideration, and others are presumed to be presented. First of all, we first identify whether the advertisement posted by Alan is an offer or is just an invitation to treat. In the advertisement, no enough details about the antique vase were stated, e. . the availability of quantity and the year. He just stated “18 th century” and “HK$80,000”. According to the case of Partridge v Crittenden , an advertisement without details is generally an invitation to treat. Moreover, the advertisement was making to public. If many people were interested on it, he may not be able to satisfy all their needs. Since there is no definite proposal, therefore, it is an invitation to treat.. Scenario 1 Alan and Betty When Betty asked Alan to reduce the price to HK$60,000, she gave a new offer to Alan.
She is making a new offer, which is a definite promise or proposal made by the offeror to the offeree with the intention to be bounded. The advertisement is only an invitation to treat and the new offer Betty gave is not a counter offer that can kill the original offer. However, Alan rejected Betty’s offer by giving a definite reply which stated that he won’t accept anything less than HK$80,000, so the offer “HK$60,000” was killed. “Is it possible if I pay…? ” is just an enquiry rather than a new offer, such as in the case of Stevenson , Jacques & Co. v McLean.
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Betty was trying to ask if she can pay HK$80,000 over 2 periods, in this stage, Betty has already accepted the advertisement (invitation to treat) and communicated it to Alan. The offer takes effect at this stage and she is still trying to make a better bargain. However, based on the case of Felthouse v Bindley. Alan did not give a definite reply for this and just let it gone by saying “I will think about it”. It is not equal to acceptance of the offer, when he ignored it. . Therefore, up to this stage, an offer was made by Betty, and it is rejected by Alan. There is no any obligation between Alan and Betty.
Scenario 2 Alan and Chris Another potential buyer Chris, when he agreed to buy the vase for HK$80,000, he has accepted the term in advertisement and was making the offer to Alan by email. However, the offer is rejected by Alan before acceptance and the offer is killed. Alan has knowledge this message to Chris. Because it is free for Alan to receive Chris’s offer or not, there is no contract formed. Scenario 3 Alan and Geogria When Georgia sent the SMS to Alan and stated her intention to buy the vase, it means that she has already accepted the advertisement (invitation to treat).
To see whether the offer exists, it depends on whether Alan has received the SMS or not. SMS is an instantaneous means, so according to the Receipt Rule, acceptance of the invitation to treat becomes valid once it is received. Thus, the offer may or may not exist in this stage. However, when Georgia called Alan confirming her intention to buy the vase, the offer exists. Georgia also sent an email for confirmation and the offer was accepted by Alan as he agreed to sell her the vase. An acceptance is a final, unconditional consent to an offer.
In the newspaper advertisement, Alan has stated “no negotiation”, so it is an acceptance. However, no effective communication of the acceptance reached to Georgia because the Alan’s email (assumed the email is sent before 16th) has been accidentally deleted by Georgia’s secretary. From the case of Entores Ltd v Miles Far East Corporation, acceptance of the offer never takes effect if it has not reached to the offeror. As email is an instantaneous mean of acceptance, the Postal Rule should not be applied in this case. No contract was formed. Moreover, in the case, it has not stated when Alan sent the acceptance email.
If it were sent after 16th, it was beyond the deadline and it can surely be held no obligation between 2 parties. However, we should notice that Alan may have legal claim against Georgia. The point to judge is that Georgia’s intention to buy. If she really wants to buy the vase, she can require “notice to writing” to ensure the email is received by her but not accidentally deleted by her secretary. In the case, however, it has not stated whether Georgia is regret to buy the vase or not, it just stated she wants to buy a lamp instead later. Therefore, it can not definitely judge that Georgia had intention not to receive Alan’s acceptance.
Scenario 4 Georgia and Bryan A consideration is something of value in the eyes of law. When Georgia pays HK$10,000 to Bryan and Bryan promised that the lamp will be delivered to her on or before the 21st. The contract was formed. Georgia gave HK$10,000 in exchange of the ownership of the lamp as well as the delivery services. As told by Bryan, the problem of his van may cause delay, Georgia promised to pay $1000 extra for earlier delivery. Georgia can refuse to pay the HK$1000 to Bryan, because “to be delivered on or before 21st” is a part of the original contract.
Bryan was just performing an existing contractual duty that is similar to the case of Stilk v Myrick. Also, the lamp arrived at 10:00am, but the grand opening hour of Georgia’s shop was 9:00am. Georgia was upset and no any practical benefits ( may be happiness of the grand opening), so it is unnecessary for her to pay like the case William v Roffey Bros & Nichollc (Contractors) Ltd. Therefore, when promisee is performing an existing duty and no any practical benefit resulted, no extra payment is needed. However, one point to argue is the date stated in the contract.
Bryan only promised that the lamp will be delivered on or before 21st. There is no exact time. And, Georgia did not tell Bryan the opening hour clearly. In such circumstances, Bryan may be able to entitle the $1000 because he may pay the extra emergency van repair fee or drive the van in an unsafe condition to fulfil Georgia’s request. If so, he is doing something extra because 19 hours is earlier (if the original time is 11pm on 21st). If he is doing something extra, followed the cases of Hartley v Ponsonby and Glasbrook Bros v Glamorgan Country Council, Bryan is able to enforce the promise.