Business Law

Ask a Business Lawyer. Get Business Law Questions Answered ASAP.

Ask a Lawyer,
Get an Answer ASAP!

Business Law
This answer was rated:

In this case, a seller has mistakenly offered a ...

In this case, a seller...
In this case, a seller has mistakenly offered a collectible, one-of-a-kind art object for sale for $1000. The buyer accepts, a contract is formed, when the seller realizes the error and, right after the sale, apologizes to the buyer and says item is not for sale. The buyer's payment is immediately returned and no goods are exchanged, however, the buyer insists that the contract remains binding and threatens legal action to recover damages for "the actual value" of the object, whatever that means. The object is from the seller's personal collection and was never intended for sale. There are no receipts or written provenance to indicate worth, if any. But assuming the buyer presses the case, what can they hope to recover? How can plaintiff ascertain "actual" value to claim specific damages beyond the sales price, when they never held possession or title? Can an honest mistake void a contract? What is this seller's liability, and/or remedy? Please advise.
Show More
Show Less
Ask Your Own Business Law Question
Answered in 10 minutes by:
7/7/2008
Law Girl
Law Girl, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 4,606
Experience: I am familiar with this area of law.
Verified

DearCustomer

Thank you for your question.

Unfortunately, an honest mistake one party's end does not void a contract. However, if both parties are mistaken to where there can be no meeting of the minds, then the contract is void for lacking consent.

The buyer may be able to initiate a legal action for specific performance (requiring a party to a contract to perform the terms of the contract when he has refused to fulfill his obligations). Specific performance is usually only awarded if the buyer cannot get a substitute good or it will be very difficult to do so. This is seen in a case like the present, where the item is a one-of-a-kind such as a piece of art.

Please let me know if you have any other questions, or require clarification of this matter. Otherwise please hit "ACCEPT", so I may receive credit for my response. Tips and feedback are also appreciated.

Good Luck!

-KAT

Ask Your Own Business Law Question
Customer reply replied 9 years ago
Reply to Law Girl's Post: Sorry, I had misstated one key point. The object is not from the seller's personal collection, but from the personal collection of a third party who does not wish to sell it. In other words, the seller had no right to sell the item in the first place. In this case, would the contract be considered null and void? Is the burden of proving title up to the buyer, or the seller? Again, there is no written title.

If the "seller" had no authority to enter into the contract, then the buyer may actually have a cause of action for misrepresentation. In which case, the buyer maybe able to sue for any damages that resulted from the misrepresentation. It is hard to know what those damages would be, for example, if the buyer missed out on an opportunity to obtain a similar piece for a reasonable, then that could be the measure of damages. The measure of damages will be very factually specific.

Ultimately the burden of proving title will be left up to the seller (who will be using it as a defense) in a contract dispute or the buyer in a misrepresentation dispute.

Depending on the sellers representations, trying to sell a piece of art that does not belong to you, may also constitute fraud. In which case, the buyer may be able to sue for damages and punitive damages.

 

Law Girl
Law Girl, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 4,606
Experience: I am familiar with this area of law.
Verified
Law Girl and 87 other Business Law Specialists are ready to help you
Ask your own question now
Ask Law Girl Your Own Question
Law Girl
Law Girl
Law Girl, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 4,606
4,606 Satisfied Customers
Experience: I am familiar with this area of law.

Law Girl is online now

A new question is answered every 9 seconds

How JustAnswer works:

  • Ask an ExpertExperts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional AnswerVia email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction GuaranteeRate the answer you receive.

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises!

Gary B.Edmond, OK

My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer.

EricRedwood City, CA

I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight.

MichaelWichita, KS

PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent.

Three H.Houston, TX

Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!!

ElaineAtlanta, GA

It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem.

TonyApopka, FL

Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help.

Mary C.Freshfield, Liverpool, UK

< Previous | Next >

Meet the Experts:

Infolawyer

Infolawyer

Attorney

1,851 satisfied customers

Experienced lawyer

Dimitry K., Esq.

Dimitry K., Esq.

Attorney

1,611 satisfied customers

Run my own successful business/contract law practice.

MShore Law

MShore Law

Attorney

1,233 satisfied customers

Drafted Negotiated and/or Reviewed Thousands of Commercial Agreements

RGMacEsq

RGMacEsq

Attorney

751 satisfied customers

Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney

Barrister

Barrister

Attorney

646 satisfied customers

17 years practicing attorney, JD, BA, MBA

Ely

Ely

Attorney

577 satisfied customers

Counselor at Law.

J.Hazelbaker

J.Hazelbaker

Attorney

393 satisfied customers

Experienced and trained in the area of business law.

< Previous | Next >

Related Business Law Questions
If a refusal to settle a contract because of coerced
if a refusal to settle a contract because of coerced pressure and compelling circumstances obligated to be settled without a judge decision … read more
Richard - Bizlaw
Richard - Bizlaw
Juris Doctor
3,700 satisfied customers
If two parties are named in a contract that are suppose to
If two parties are named in a contract that are suppose to both be Calif. LLC's, and the two parties are to perform certain stipulation in the contract but one of the two parties named in the contract… read more
LegalGems
LegalGems
Juris Doctorate
10,728 satisfied customers
I'm suing a contractor for breach of contract - he refused
I'm suing a contractor for breach of contract - he refused to honor the contract we had in writing. I'm suing for the difference between his contract estimate and the contract of another contractor, w… read more
Asad Rahman
Asad Rahman
Attorney
J.D.
2,303 satisfied customers
I signed a merchant agreement contract with a company in NY.
I signed a merchant agreement contract with a company in NY. After two years of the contract I noticed different amounts were being pulled from my bank account. I repeatedly tried to contact the compa… read more
Infolawyer
Infolawyer
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
1,851 satisfied customers
I entered into a contract with my ex-wife to purchase a
I entered into a contract with my ex-wife to purchase a house that I lost to her in the divorce. I am to make monthly payments of $350.00 for 74 months or I can pay off at anytime. I have been making … read more
Lori
Lori
Juris Doctor
318 satisfied customers
I am working on an agreement (contract to company) to work
I am working on an agreement (contract to company) to work for a Master Distributor to manage develop the business. I had a originally proposed setting up and LLC and making each of us 50 / 50 partner… read more
Asad Rahman
Asad Rahman
Attorney
J.D.
2,303 satisfied customers
I need to have a contracts electronically signed so it is
I need to have a contracts electronically signed so it is legally binding. Please send me links to sites that do this. Free would be great :)… read more
Barrister
Barrister
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
646 satisfied customers
I have a question regarding an international contract that I
Hi, I have a question regarding an international contract that I want to cancel It is between US citizen and EU citizen … read more
PaulmoJD
PaulmoJD
Attorney At Law
Doctoral Degree
106 satisfied customers
I need a template for a for a contract and have it
I need a template for a for a contract and have it notarized. I am going to partner with a person to create a website. I am the developer and he is going to finance the project. How do we get it notar… read more
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
7,440 satisfied customers
Looking for someone with government contract experience.
Looking for someone with government contract experience. Looking to file a grievance and need advice… read more
Asad Rahman
Asad Rahman
Attorney
J.D.
2,303 satisfied customers
I've contracted a construction firm to construct a building
I've contracted a construction firm to construct a building for me. In the building, I specifically requested rubber mat floors instead of concrete in order to be spill-proof. The building has already… read more
Damien Bosco
Damien Bosco
3,395 satisfied customers
A customer in our company wants a new contract, instead of
Hello, A customer in our company wants a new contract, instead of an Amendment, because their original contract from 2010 has names of individuals who are no longer with the company. He is not trying … read more
LawGuy
LawGuy
Juris Doctor
123 satisfied customers
Regarding terminating a business contract with a billing
Regarding terminating a business contract with a billing company that processes our billing. Both I and my partner signed contract as required by our Operating Agreement for the business . The billing… read more
LegalGems
LegalGems
Juris Doctorate
10,728 satisfied customers
Question about business/contract law breach of contract and
question about business/contract law breach of contract and file a complaint I like to consult with an attorney preferably from ILLINOIS… read more
Damien Bosco
Damien Bosco
3,395 satisfied customers
Contract I'm being contracted by a divorce attorney to
ContractI'm being contracted by a divorce attorney to provide accounting work in a case. Do you have samples of contracts that I can use to send to the attorney? It is mainly to protect any emails or … read more
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
7,440 satisfied customers
Can a lawsuit be filed for cause of action misappropriation
Can a lawsuit be filed for cause of action misappropriation of name/likeness where a business, without authorization, falsely claims a party is a "managing partner" of a limited liability company?… read more
LawyerDavid
LawyerDavid
Vice President & General Counsel
Juris Doctor
378 satisfied customers
Is there a legal term of "cause of action" that one can
Hello,Is there a legal term of "cause of action" that one can theoretically bring forth against an attorney for misrepresenting facts and ridiculous threats? I've been dealing with an attorney that is… read more
Phillips Esq.
Phillips Esq.
Attorney
Juris Doctor
18,406 satisfied customers
Can I amend my complaint to add another cause of action if
Can I amend my complaint to add another cause of action if the opposing party is in default?… read more
Ray
Ray
Lawyer
Doctoral Degree
30,914 satisfied customers

DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

Show MoreShow Less

Ask Your Question

x