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Advise the parties with regards to their possible contractual claim

Problem Scenario

On Monday, James placed an advertisement in a local newspaper to sell his car –

‘Ford Flavia, 3 years old, super family hatchback, excellent condition, 1.2 diesel engine, 25,000 miles, only £5,500 – payable in cash.’

James also included the details of his home address and telephone number in the advertisement.

On Tuesday, after seeing the advertisement, Tim visited James and expressed his willingness to purchase the car. However, he was only willing to pay £5,000 in cash. James refused to accept the deal.

On the same day, Gary posted a letter to James, indicating his desire to buy the car as advertised and stating that he would, in person, pay James £5,500 cash on Friday when he would collect the car. Gary worked with James and thought that this would be a good car for the price. However, his letter got lost in the post and never arrived at James’s address.

On Thursday, Liam went to James’s address and inspected the car. Liam was happy with the state and condition of the car, and enquired whether it would be possible to pay tomorrow afternoon as she needed time to sort out the finance. James agreed to this.

On Friday morning, Gary turned up at James’s premises with the £5,500 cash but James refused to sell the car to him because he thought he had an agreement with Liam. As soon as Gary left, Liam rang James indicating that he no longer wished to purchase the car because he could not raise the money. Fuming with anger over his recent luck, James turned to his daughter, Steph, and said that he would sell the car for £4,500. Steph immediately told him she would buy it for that price and she went to the bank and took out £4,500 to pay her father. However when she returned James told her he had decided not to sell the car as he had realised he was selling it for under the market value.

Advise the parties with regards to their possible contractual claim.


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