What Is Required Before an Offer Can Be Accepted?
In the business world, it’s common for vendors, customers, manufacturers, and service providers to have ongoing conversations related to business transactions. Some of those conversations may be sufficient to create an offer that, upon acceptance, can form a binding contract. Others are not. What’s the difference? How can you know when you make an offer that can be enforced in a court of law?
What Is an Offer?
Under contract law as it has evolved over centuries, an offer is considered valid and capable of being accepted if it contains the expression of an intent to enter into a binding agreement. An offer may be express or implied. For example, one party may explicitly state, verbally or in writing, an intent to enter into a binding contract, stating all terms. On the other hand, a party may imply a contract by their actions. Many commercial transactions occur this way—when you go into a store and purchase most items, a contract is implied, even though you don’t expressly state any terms. An item may have a price listed—when you pay that price and take the item, a contract of purchase is implied.
The Requirements of a Valid Offer
To be accepted, an offer must be clearly communicated, so that the person to whom the offer is made can knowingly accept or reject. The circumstances surrounding the making of the offer can have an impact on whether it’s valid. For example, an offer clearly made in jest, or as a joke, will not be considered valid. Furthermore, an offer that, by its terms, cannot be met will also not be construed as a valid offer. If someone offers to pay you a trillion dollars for your car, it’s not likely to be enforced, as it’s probably impossible for them to come up with that kind of money.
Contact Attorney Howard N. Sobel
At the office of Howard N. Sobel, we provide comprehensive legal counsel to businesses and business owners. Contact our office online or call us at 856-424-6400 to set up a free initial consultation. Evening and weekend appointments can be arranged upon request. We accept all major credit cards.