A contract, in its simplest, is a promise or written instructions enforceable by law that guide an agreement between two parties. Usually, the underlying instructions under the contracts allow the parties involved to do what is expected to keep the contract alive. Just from the start, making a contract requires sound and mutual consent from all parties involved. In this sense, one party must have something to offer, and the other must be willing to accept the offer. Therefore, a legal contract can be defined as a set of promises from all parties and, upon breach, can be enforced by law. In most cases, a contract is sealed through signing documents that describe terms and conditions that must be kept throughout the engagement. However, both parties can also form legal contracts through verbal or interactive emails. Upon agreement, the two parties are expected to abide by the engagement’s terms and conditions. This paper, therefore, strives to find out if the contract between Ms. Annabelle Day and the Secondhand Rose Pty Ltd was valid and if she is entitled to a purchase price refund as she claims.
Secondhand Rose Pty Ltd is an online business platform that sources various wears. The company markets its products by uploading its stocks and new arrivals on its website, where interested customers quickly access them. Moreover, the company favors the new customers by selling the products of their interest at a discount. For example, a dress that costs $500 is sold to new customers at a $50 discount. Recently, the company was involved in a contract with Ms. Annabelle Day, a new customer. She had visited the Secondhand Rose Pty Ltd website and ordered a vintage dress for her forthcoming event. Mr. Stefano, a Secondhand Rose Pty Ltd sales agent, enthusiastically engaged Ms. Annabelle through the company’s way of dealing with business. Moreover, Mr. Stefano sent the terms and conditions to Ms. Annabelle to inform her of the conditions that must be met in a claim for a refund in case the purchase process goes wrong.
Since this is an online business, Ms. Annabelle sent a sample of the design that she wanted. On behalf of the company, Mr. Stefano responded with a picture of a dress matching her request. Moreover, Ms. Annabelle was worried about the dress’s size since she claimed that she had added a bit of weight during the lockdown period. Mr. Stefano informed her that the company had a policy where they could send the cloth for her to try on, and if it did not fit, it should be returned. Upon receiving the dress and with approval from the bride, Ms. Annabelle tells Mr. Stefano that the dress sent matches their expectation and they are willing to buy it. Mr. Stefano, on behalf of the Secondhand Rose Pty Ltd, then sent the terms and conditions to Ms. Annabelle, upon which she made a $450 payment via the company website. Further, Stefano informed Ms. Annabelle that the dress could only be dry-cleaned; otherwise, the company would not be responsible for any damage.
Later, the company received a complaint from Ms. Annabelle that the vintage dress she had bought shrunk in the wash, and the details also indicated that the dress had also faded. Ms. Annabelle, in her complaint, said that she had washed the dress on her machine using a wool detergent that she had bought from a supermarket. Thus, she requested a refund claiming that the dress was not up to standard. Should the Secondhand Rose Pty Ltd adhere to her request?
Statement of Facts
A legal contract between two or more parties should satisfy some conditions to be workable. According to Klass (2020), the first characteristic of a legal agreement is the permitted purpose. This was explained by Janssen and Djurovic (2018) that a contract must have a lawful motive that does not go against the law. As Sala-Climent (2021) identified, the second characteristic of a legal contract is mutual agreement from both parties. This is further reinstated by Davies (2018), who claimed that one party in the agreement must extend an offer that the other party willingly accepts. Another condition that renders a contract valid is the consideration that must be adhered by both parties. In addition, each party involved must give something held by either side as valuable. Schulte-Nölke (2019) presented that when sealing a contract, all parties must have a sound mind and make an informed decision as the contract is concerned. Lastly, the contract’s validity must be met with genuine consent from all parties involved in an agreement.
As evident in the summary of the statement, it is seen that the company, through the sales agent, engaged in a valid contract with their new customer, Ms. Annabelle, who was interested in buying a vintage dress. Surahyo (2018) defines the requirement of a valid contract to consist of four key elements. These requirements include a mutual agreement, capacity, consideration, and the intention of the two parties. As contained in the conversation mail between Ms. Annabelle and Mr. Stefano, it is evident that the two parties came into an agreement since the company offered Ms. Annabelle the vintage dress, and she was willing to buy it. Moreover, Stefano sent Annabelle terms and conditions that she ought to have understood before she opted in for the contact. As Nicholas (2020) says, both parties in a contract must have the ability to understand the terms and obligations that govern the agreement. Ms. Annabelle considered receiving the vintage dress that the company promised at a fee of $450, which she was to pay after she had tried the dress.
It is important to note that Ms. Annabelle read and agreed with Mr. Stefano’s terms and conditions in his emails. The terms and conditions for this contract hold that any customer accessing their websites abides by their rules. Moreover, it is clearly stated in the words that all payments are made through credit cards. The terms say that the company’s clothes are vintage, and therefore they take no responsibility for fraying the fabrics. More importantly, the company cautions its customers of the risk when their dresses are not hand washed in their special laundry liquid known as RoseFresh. Therefore, Annabelle washed the dress in her machine. Thus, the company should not refund her since she did not abide by the contract terms.
Although Ms. Annabelle and Secondhand Rose Pty engaged in a valid and enforceable contract, Ms. Annabelle’s refund claim cannot be met since she violated the terms that hold their agreement. The terms and conditions that she was given uphold that she should not wash the purchased vintage dress in any other laundry machine apart from the RoseFresh cleaning program. By paying the $450 via the company’s websites, it is clear that she read and understood all the terms and conditions that Mr. Stefano provided. Therefore, she is not entitled to the purchase refund because she did not adhere to one condition that prohibited her from washing the dress in her laundry machine.
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Surahyo, A. (2018). Parties to the contract. In understanding construction contracts (pp. 17-27). Springer, Cham.