'Revocation only takes effect when communicated to the offeree'

On 1 October, the defendants in Cardiff wrote to the claimants in New York offering to sell goods. The claimants received this offer letter on 11 October and accepted it by telegram on the same day. On 8 October, the defendants posted a revocation of their offer, which reached the claimants on 20 October. The claimants brought an action for non-delivery.

Held: A revocation of an offer is not effective until it is communicated to the offeree. The offer was therefore available for acceptance until 20 October. Since the postal rule applied to the telegram acceptance, a binding contract was entered into on 11 October when the acceptance telegram was sent.

LINDLEY J: It may be taken as now settled that where an offer is made and accepted by letters sent through the post, the contract is completed the moment the letter accepting the offer is posted: Harris' Case (1872) LR 7 Ch App 587; Dunlop v Higgins (1848) 1 HLC 381, even although it never reaches its destination. When, however, these authorities are looked at, it will be seen that they are based upon the principle that the writer of the offer has expressly or impliedly assented to treat an answer to him by a letter duly posted as…


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