The issue in this case relates to whether Sarah has any contractual agreements with either Karen, Mike, or Brian. The woman advertised her 2012 Ford Fiesta 1.6 on both Ponty Herald (local newspaper) for £3500 and on eBay in an auction style format with a low reserve of £1500. As a result, Sarah received offers from three possible buyers, namely Karen, Mike, and Brian all of whom later claimed a legal agreement to purchase the car. Considering the facts of the case, this paper explores whether there exists any binding legal agreement with any of the three possible buyers. The analysis provided herein focuses primarily on the understanding of the basic rules that govern contractual relationships.
To start with, a contractual agreement refers to a normally, but not always written, mutual agreement between two or more parties and is enforceable by the law. In this particular case, the alleged contract is the contract of sale or the contract to sell the 2012 Ford Fiesta 1.6, which is currently owned by Sarah. However, there are issues with regard to whether the contract to sell the car either to Karen, Mike, or Brian exists considering that each of the three possible buyers lays claim to the car.
The understanding of a contractual agreement requires determining when exactly a contractual agreement takes place. Significantly, a contractual agreement is considered as such only when there is an offer and acceptance. By definition, an offer refers to an explicit proposal to contract, which if accepted, completes the contract and binds the person making the offer to the person accepting the offer on the terms offered. On the other hand, an acceptance refers to the assenting to the terms of an offer. While an offer must be explicit, its acceptance can be either explicit or implied. However, an acceptance must be relayed in the manner that is authorized, requested, or at least in a manner that can be reasonably expected by the party making the offer. Based on this brief understanding of the basics of a contractual agreement, the following few pages discuss Sarah’s situation while focusing on explaining the elements of offer and acceptance in the case.
Beginning from the onset of the case, Sarah has confirmed her intentions to sell the 2012 Ford Fiesta 1.6; hence, this is not in any way questionable. However, two things are especially important to note. Firstly, the advertisements in this case do not in any way represent an offer. Sarah advertised on Ponty Herald where the advertisement was supposed to run for four weeks. The advertising was not exclusive; therefore, the woman was able to place an advert also on eBay before the four weeks were over. However, advertising on the two platforms does not in any way represent an offer; instead, it will be referred to as an invitation to a treat or an invitation to make a deal. The second point is that Sarah was an auctioneer on eBay. Consequently, this analysis assumes that in no way are the auctioneer rights alienable from Sarah. The importance of this will be seen in the detailed analysis of the claimed contractual agreements between Sarah and the three possible buyers of the car – Karen, Mike, and Brian.
The first issue addressed in this analysis is the issue of whether a contractual agreement was created between Mike and Sarah for the sale of the 2012 Ford Fiesta 1.6. The facts from the case indicate that Mike saw the advertisement on eBay. Sarah had placed a low reserve of £1500 and having noted this, Mike offered to buy the car at the price of £2000. Sarah rejected this offer, and Mike made another offer to purchase the car for £3000 indicating that he would collect the car on a Monday. Notably, Sarah did not respond to Mike’s second offer.
Evidently, in the case with Mike, there does not exist any contractual agreement between the two parties involved because in the first place, a contract can only be complete once an offer is accepted. Mike claims that the contract of sale is valid on the grounds that he made an offer of £3000 and indicated that he would collect the car on a Monday. The fact that Sarah did not respond to the offer means that there does not exist any contractual agreement between the two parties.
Therefore, Mike saw the advertisement on eBay. Sarah had not only advertised on eBay but also made sure that the car was listed on the platform in an auction style format. The willing customers on eBay were placing bids. The following two facts confirm that the requesed manner of making an offer for all customers who saw the advertisement on eBay was through competitive bidding. Mike did not make the bids on eBay, and consequently, he did not follow the appropriate method of making an offer. As stated above, the law requires that both the offer and acceptance are relayed in the way that is authorized, requested, or at least in a manner that can be reasonably expected by the party making the offer.
In the instances where the court determines that the manner in which Mike made the offer was acceptable, it would be important to note that the offer made by Mike was not accepted by Sarah; at least not explicitly. Thus, the lack of such acceptance means that there is no contract, and a possible explanation to this is the fact that Sarah had already accepted another offer which was made by Karen. The acceptance of Karen’s offer would lead to the automatic declining of the offer made by Mike on the grounds of the fact that the man’s offer was made after the acceptance of the offer made by another buyer. Therefore, the analysis concludes that there does not exist any legal or enforceable contractual agreement between Mike and Sarah. Consequently, in the instance where Mike sues Sarah, the latter would prevail considering that the offer was not made in the required manner. Sarah did not accept the offer made by Mike; moreover, she had already accepted another offer by that time.
The second case at hand is the case of Brian. The facts of the case indicate that Brian saw the advertised car on eBay. Then, he went ahead and placed a bid for the car at £2800. By the time, Sarah had withdrawn the property from eBay, Brian was the highest bidder. Consequently, Brian felt that as he had bid £2800, Sarah made a contractual agreement with him about the sale of the car. The question then remains as to whether Brian and Sarah have a contractual agreement on the sale of the car.
The analysis of this case indicates that there are no contractual agreements between Brian and Sarah. The reason behind this is the fact that Sarah withdrew the bid and did not accept the offer made by Brian. Notably, the fact that Sarah did not expressly accept to sell the car to Brian indicates that there does not exist any contract between them. However, Brian may move ahead to indicate that the withdrawal of the property from the auction was an implied acceptance of the offer that he made, but this would not be a correct conclusion considering the rights of the auctioneer.
According to the law on the auction of property, the vendor can refuse a bid at any time during the auction including the very moment when the hammer is falling. Secondly, the property can be withdrawn if there is a dispute over a bid. Thirdly, the auctioneer may withdraw the property from sale at any time. Considering the rights that Sarah has over the property and under auction laws, the withdrawal of the property from the auction must not be considered as an acceptance. In any case, the withdrawal means that Sarah declined the offers made by all the bidders on eBay.
The other factor justifying the claim that Brian does not have any contractual agreement with Sarah is the fact that the bid of £2800 came long after Sarah had accepted another offer made by Karen. The fact that Sarah had already accepted another offer means that all other offers, including the Brian’s, automatically lapsed. Considering the analysis of Brian’s case, it is evident that there does not exist any contractual agreement between Sarah and Brian, and that in case Brian decides to sue Sarah, she would prevail based on the findings herein provided.
The last case is the case of Karen. The issue in this case relates to whether there exists a contractual agreement between Sarah and Karen on the Sale of the car. The facts of the case indicate that Karen saw the car advertised on Ponty Herald. She then made an offer to purchase the car at the price of £2700. Sarah accepted the offer of £2700 and arranged for Karen to collect the car the following week. Additional facts indicate that two more offers were made after Karen’s offer of £2700 was already accepted. One offer was made by Brian for £2800 and the other by Mike for £3000.
From the facts of the case, there is a legally binding and enforceable contractual agreement between Sarah and Karen because Karen made an offer and Sarah expressly accepted the offer. The offer and acceptance created a contractual agreement between tthe two parties, and the contractual agreement created obligations on either party to deliver the consideration at hand. On the part of Sarah, she is legally obliged to deliver the car to Karen as agreed between them; on the other hand, Karen must pay £2700 as agreed. Any failure by the two parties to deliver the agreed must be treated as a breach of the contract; hence, the affected party can sue for damages.
Considering that both Karen and Mike agreed to collect the car on Monday, there are concerns with regard to how Sarah ought to handle the issue. On one hand, Sarah had already accepted the offer made by Karen and started to plan for how Karen would get the car. On the other hand, Mike came later with a higher offer, which implies that Sarah may be tempted to accept his offer. Notably, any contract between Mike as Sarah would be void considering the facts of the case at hand. A void contract refers to a contract that requires one party to perform an act that is impossible. In this case, the contract with Mike would require Sarah to deliver a car, which according to the previously concluded agreement, was sold to another buyer. Based on this view, the only valid and enforceable contract is that between Karen and Sarah at a price of £2700.
Comparing the price offered by Karen and accepted by Sarah (£2700) and that offered by Mike,which at the same time was the one that Sarah would prefer (£3000), it is important to note herein that from a legal perspective, the considerations offered by the two are reasonable even though that of Karen may not be sufficient. The law recognizes a legally binding and enforceable contractual agreement once the offer and acceptance are already completed. In many instances, the court cannot give a definitive ruling on the consideration, and as long as the evidence of an agreement subsists, a legally binging contractual agreement had already been created. Therefore, in the light of this, a contract of sale exists between Sarah and Karen. The consideration that Karen must pay is the £2700 that Sarah accepted. Sarah cannot in any way demand a higher consideration from Karen or even the price offers provided as the basis for vacating the agreement. Consequently, it should be noted that the offer made by Mike does not affect the already existing contract between Sarah and Karen.
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In conclusion, this paper discussed the application of the offer and acceptance concepts to the cases of three possible buyers who feel that they are voluntarily obliged to purchase the car advertised by Sarah. The analysis of the three cases under the offer and acceptance concept indicates that in its entirety, the case had only one legally binding and enforceable agreement between Sarah (the seller) and Karen (the buyer) for the sale of the car (2012 Ford Fiesta 1.6) at the consideration of £2700. The basis of this conclusion is that Sarah accepted Karen’s offer, and together the two parties to the contract agreed on the delivery mechanism, hence, sealing the only legally binding and enforceable contractual agreement in this case.
With respect to the case of Mike (who offered £3000 consideration which is higher than what Karen offered), it is important to note that there does not exist any contract between him and Sarah and that Sarah cannot avoid or vacate her contract with Karen despite the higher price offered by Mike. Any contract between Mike and Sarah would be void since the offer by Mike had already expired by the time it was made. As Karen’s offer had already been accepted, any other contract after this was void. Sarah cannot use Mike’s offer to demand a higher consideration from Karen and neither can she use the offer to vacate the contract with Karen as that would be considered as the breach of the contract.
Regarding the case of Brian, a contract of sale between him and Sarah does not exist as well considering that Sarah retained her rights as the seller and the auctioneer. These rights include the withdrawal of the car from the market at any time before making an acceptance from the bidders. Sarah simply exercised this right; thus, no contractual agreement was created by the withdrawal of the property from the market at the time when Brian’s offer was the highest. Important to note, nobody can use the advertisement to imply an offer or the bids to imply the acceptance since the advertisements placed on Ponty Herald and on eBay were simply invitations to a treat, also known as invitations to make a deal.