Overview of Acceptance.

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Rules of Acceptance

An important part of contract law is acceptance. there are several rules for acceptance which are quite similar to the rules of offers. The first rule is that acceptance must be communicated to the offeror. In the case of Felthouse v Brindley, an uncle said to his nephew that "if i hear no more from you, i shall consider the horse mine for £30, 15p" the auctioneer then failed to withdraw the  horse and it was sold. the uncle failed to sue the auctioneer as the nephew had never actually accepted his offer.

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Rules of Acceptance

another rule to make acceptance easier is that acceptance can be in any form. this was shown in the case of Yates v Pulleyn where the option to purchase land was required to be sent by notice in writing and '"sent by registered or recorded delivery"... it was then sent by normal post. therefore the acceptance was invalid.

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Rules of Acceptance

another rule is that acceptance must be unconditional, and it must conform exactly with the terms of the offer, or no contract will be formed. this is seen in the case of Hyde v Wrench. here Wrench offered to seel his farm for £1000, Hyde would only give him £950. when Wrench declined, Hyde tried to accept the original price, this was not allowed as he has terminated the offer when he made a counter-offer.

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Rules of Acceptance

finally, there is a rule that states that mere enquiries do not count as rejection. An enquiry is not a counter-offer as it does not reject the terms of the offer.this was shown in the case of Stevenson v McClean. the offeree wanted to know if the delivery of iron could be staggered, after hearing nothing, the claimant then sent a letter of acceptance. he sued when he discovered that the iron had been sold to a third party.

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Different Forms of Communication - Problems

There are many problems with different forms of communication, the first one being the postal rule. this only applies to letters and it states that a contract is formed the moment the letter is posted. this was seen in Adams v Lindsell where the letter of acceptance was posted but not received until after the wool had been sold.

the postal rule also applies when the letter was never received, such as in the case of Household Fire Insurance v Grant, where Grant made a written offer to purchase shares, and the the letter of acceptance was never received. the company liquidated and Grant tried to claim that he was never a shareholder, eventhough technically he was.

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Electronic Commerce Regulations

The Electronic Commerce Regulations states that in order for there to be a valid contract between purchaser and seller, these include, 1 the service provider must provide receipts for orders...2 allow puchasers to amend orders...3provide name and address of service provider. this is to protect the consumer and the contract may be made voidable if the basic information is not given in the information to treat

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Distance Selling Regulations

the Distance selling regulations state that a cooling-off period applies to contracts for the sale of goods and services made by modern methods of communication. these regulation entitle the consumer to a cooling-off period, in which the contratc may be ended by the consumer, this is within seven working days of the receipt of the goods.

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one of the main problems with the formation of business contracts is the complex nature of the agreements which will often ensue before a formal agreement is reached. this then poses a major problem to judges in deliberating over whether this forms a mere enquiry or a counter-offer.

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Problems with Forms

There is a lot of problems with forms in contract law, especially when two businesses are contracting, businesses tend to use their own forms when they draw up a contract and it will oftem have terms advantageous to themselves incorporated in them. the acceptance by the other business may take place on a different set of forms and they may completely contradictory. the general rule to prevent this issue arising is that you must take the last counter-offer as accepted and give effect to its terms in the contract. this is seen in the case of Davies and Company Limited v William Old this case concerned builders and shopfitters and it was about the two different forms that were used to make the offer and accept it. they were slightly contradictory and therefore the offeror had to accept the terms of the counter-offer.

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