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Offer and Acceptance

A contract is defined as an agreement between two or more persons which creates an obligation to do or not do a particular thing.

The essential elements of a contract are an offer and an acceptance supported by valid consideration, where consideration is the price bargained for and paid for a promise.  It's straight forward, right?  Well, around this simple concept are thousands and thousands of court cases that took place well over a century.  

Contracts that are in writing are litigated every day in countless courts throughout the country.  Most contracts are not, and do not have to be, in writing.  You can imagine the number of verbal contracts that are litigated every day.

As an entrepreneur, you must become familiar with the language of contracts.  This section might be more information that you are looking for, but I include it here because it is that important.

An offer is a showing of some sort of a willingness to enter into a bargain.  An acceptance is a promise to be bound by the terms of the offer. (this precise offer)  Agreements (contracts) can be found in the written or spoken language or by implication from a course of dealing, usage of trade, or course of performance.  These terms have been highly litigated for decades.  

An offer must be made in a way that justifies another person in understanding that his or her assent to that bargain is invited and will conclude it.  An offer must be certain and definite so as to avoid vagueness and ambiguity.  It should identify the offeror and offeree, the subject matter, the price and quantity, and the time, manner, and place of payment or performance.  

An acceptance must meet and correspond with the offer at all points.  If not, then there is no “meeting of the minds” and there is no contract.  Any variation of the acceptance would be considered a rejection of the initial offer and a counteroffer.  For example, “I accept your offer as long as you throw in two chickens,” is not an acceptance of the original offer.  The original offeror can accept or decline this new offer.


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