Legal Article - Business Law

Car Sales: What Makes a Contract Legally Binding?

You might be buying a car from a customer and you happen to say that you will give them a lift to the station.

Unfortunately you get tied up with a delivery and the customer is left fuming in reception, misses an important business meeting and claims to have lost a deal over the issue.

Could they sue you?

In the circumstances described the answer is probably no because neither you nor the customer saw the delivery to the station as a binding contract.

If, however, before the purchase of the car was agreed the customer had offered; 

 'You can buy my car for £10,000, I can deliver it on Friday at 10 o'clock and you must take me to the station immediately afterwards'  and you had said 'Yes' in acceptance then the situation could have been different and would have been reinforced if the customer had explained the need to get away promptly for the business meeting.

A contract in writing and the giving of a deposit are generally seen to be with the intention of being legal contracts.

Published: 10 Mar 2011

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