DID JIM AND LAURA BUY A CAR 1
Jim and Laura Buy aCar
Some of the elements of a contract include offer, acceptance,consideration, capacity, mutuality, and legality. The element ofcapacity in a legal contract requires that all parties to anagreement be aged 18 years and over (MacMillan & Stone, 2012). Inthis case, the indication that Laura and Jim have jobs in addition tobeing a couple could lead any reasonable person to believe that thetwo were aged 18 years and over.
The other element of a contract is the offer. The process ofengaging in a contract begin when an entity proposes a deal whichshow its intention to buy something or conduct itself in a certainmanner. In the case involving Stan and the couple, the only offerthat exists is for the former to hold the car for a day. As far asthe purchase of the car is concerned an offer does not exist. For anoffer to exist, there must be consensus on certain fundamentals of anagreement such as who should do what. Also, it must be clear on howthe action should be done. In this case, for an offer for thepurchase of the car to exist, the two parties should have agreed onhow the couple would make repayment for the vehicle. Besides, theparties should have agreed on the price of the car. Additionally,when entering into the contract, the couple and Stan should have comeup with a timeframe in which the couple was to make the repaymentsfor the car.According to Beatty et al., (2015), a contract cannot beenforced if the essential terms are so uncertain that a court cannotmake a determination whether or not the agreement has been broken. InBaer v. Chase 392 F.3d 609, the defendant approached the plaintiffand asked him to write a script about a particular incident. Sincethen, the plaintiff and the defendant were in constant communicationregarding how the former would write a script. However, Chase did aninvestigation on the incident and developed a script which was usedto produce the television show in question. According to theplaintiff, Chase was supposed to compensate him if the showsucceeded because he had sent his version of the script to him beforethe program was aired. On the other hand, the defendant claimed thathe wrote the script himself. The plaintiff accused the defendant ofnot honoring the terms of their agreement. However, the districtcourt held that the promise was too vague to be enforced. Whendetermining this case, the judge argued that for a contract to beenforced the offer and acceptance must be clear enough such that thecourt could determine what each of the parties was obligated to do(Beatty et al., 2015). As such, there exist no contract between Stanand the couple since the terms of the offer is reasonably indefinite
Consideration involves one party making a promise to the other thathe/she will do or desist from engaging in a certain action inexchange for something of value such as services or money. Accordingto University of Kansas (2015), consideration entails either adetriment to the promisee or a benefit to the promisor. In this case,a consideration exists because the couple suffered a detriment whenthey gave Stan $100. However, consideration cannot make a contractenforceable if the other elements are missing,
Communication of acceptance entails the offeree undertaking certainactions that show his/her willingness to be bound by the contract. Ittakes the manner of the offeree making a promise, providing downpayment or performing any other action that communicates his/heracceptance of the offer.The method of acceptance may takedifferent forms such as in person, email, fax, or telephone. Betweenthe couple and Stan, the element acceptance is not present. For theacceptance to be present, both parties must believe that a contractexit. In this case, it is evident that the couple does not considerthem as bound by their agreement with Stan. Besides, the couple mayargue that $100 they gave to Stan while leaving the car yard wassupposed to act as a holding and not a purchasing deposit. Whenbuying a car, while a purchasing deposit shows the client’scommitment to purchasing the vehicle, a holding deposit gives roomfor the customer to make up his/her mind. In case the seller findsanother buyer, he/she may contact the person who had expressedinterest in the same vehicle to ask him/her if he/she is stillwilling to finalize the transaction. As such, while the purchasingdeposit may results in the court enforcing the contract between theseller and buyer, a holding deposit cannot (Consumer Affairs and FairTrading, 2015).
Lastly, a contract must involve the element of mutuality. Thiselement holds that both parties should be bound by the contract(MacMillan & Stone, 2012). The alleged agreement between Stan andthe couple does not involve the element of mutuality. This is becausethe agreement between the two on the issue of the purchase of the caronly binds the couple. The alleged contract does not say what Stanought to do. For example, when was he supposed to deliver the car?This means that in case he failed to honor his part, the couple couldnot request the court enforce the agreement. However, mutualityexists on the issue of holding the car for a day because theagreement binds the two parties.
In this case, Stan cannot rely on the Doctrine of the promissoryestoppels to request the court to force Jim and Laura to honor theirpromise. According to Beattyet al., (2015), the doctrine of promissory estoppelsis used by the court to enforce a contract if the promisee suffersinjustice as a result of the promisor failing to honor his/herpromise. However, Stan did not suffer any loss as a result of relyingon the couple`s promise.
The case involving the couple and Stan is an example of an oralcontract. A contract does not have to be written for it to beenforced by a court. Instead, an agreement between two people needsto meet all the essential elements of a contract, such as capacity,offer, acceptance, mutuality, and consideration for it to be forcedeven if it is not in writing. It is evident that there is no contractbetween Stan and the couple. This is because even though the couple’saction demonstrates their intention of buying the car as depicted bythem making the deposit, there was no offer made. Besides, the couplecan claim that the $100 they get to Stan was to serve as a holdingand not purchasing deposit hence they are not obligated to honor theagreement.
Beatty, J.F., Samuelson, S. S. & Abril, P. S. (2015). Introductionto business law.Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading. (2015). “Buying a new or usedmotor vehicle.” Accessed on November 7, 2016.http://www.consumer.tas.gov.au/fair_trading/motor_vehicles
Macmillan, C., & Stone, R. (2012). Elements of the Law ofContract. London: University of London Press.
University of Kansa. (2015). Legal Elements of a contract. Accessedon November 17, 2016.http://hnr.k-state.edu/doc/rres-690/legalelementsofacontract.pdf