Law School Discussion

Mailbox Rule Hypo

Mailbox Rule Hypo
« on: December 02, 2007, 09:59:33 PM »
In responding to an offer that made no specific mention of a required method of acceptance, the offeree sent his acceptance via fax to the fax number that the offeror had given to the offeree.  However the fax number turned out to be incorrect, and two days later the offeror revoked his offer because he never received an acceptance.  Is the acceptance in this case valid on dispatch, or on receipt?  Does it matter that the offeree was not at fault?


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Re: Mailbox Rule Hypo
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2007, 06:28:14 AM »
Since no method of acceptance was given, any reasonable method will suffice (rest. 30 or UCC 2-206).  You might be able to argue both sides, but the acceptance via fax is almost certainly a reasonable method (particularly if the offeror gave his fax number).  Assuming this is not an acceptance of an option contract (i.e. a contract to keep an offer open for a period of time), the acceptance is effective upon dispatch (rest. 63 I think) so long as normal precautions are taken to ensure delivery (rest. 66).  You could argue both ways about whether the offeree took reasonable precautions - I'd say that sending it to the number given almost certainly is sufficient; however, you could argue that reasonable precautions for faxes require making sure that the fax went through since it's easy to tell on a fax machine.  If that argument succeeded, the acceptance wouldn't be valid and there would be no contract.  In the more likely event that the offeree did use reasonable precautions (at east in my mind it's more likely), the acceptance was valid upon dispatch and there is a valid contract.