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E-Business Contract Law Case Study Analysis

Essay by   •  February 3, 2011  •  Case Study  •  1,129 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,415 Views

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E-Business Contract Law Case Study Analysis

I. My first gut was to say that this was a contract. The website made an offer to send free software to anyone who sent his/her email address. Upon further review, I have decided that this example does not meet the essential elements of a contract as described below.

Our lecture stated "to be an offer, a communication needs to be sufficiently definite so it manifests the willingness to enter into a bargain (a binding contract), not just to conduct further negotiations toward ultimately entering into a bargain." With the opened question of "cool software," that leaves it open for further negotiations. What type of software is "cool software"? If the offer was more specific I think we could go on to the next rule of acceptance by entering and sending our email address, but this offer had no terms, there was no payment for the software and was left up to the offeree to determine what type of software was considered cool to him or her.

This offer is also lacking certainty and definiteness of terms, which would not make it complete. According to our text, "At a minimum the offer has to contain the identities of the parties to the contract, the subject matter of the contract, the price and the quantity. In most contracts, the offer actually has to contain more terms than price, quantity, the parties, and the subject matter of the contract. If a material term in the contract is missing, then the offer is incomplete."

II. I feel that the second case shows that a contract has been formed regardless of the fact that John's twelve year old son completed the transaction by entering John's name and clicking the submit button. John had essentially added all the pertinent information. The offer was made by listing the product and price of network equipment on the website. A Click-wrap agreement was made and accepted by completing the form signature and clicking on the submit button of the statement "If you accept the agreement to purchase the listed equipment for the price on this form--$5,000--signify your acceptance by typing-in your name as your signature." John has previously entered his credit card information prior to going for a walk. John should bear responsibility because he was negligent in leaving his credit card information on the computer unattended.

Then we consider the UCITA Section 102(5) Attribution Procedure, which is a "procedure for attributing to specific individual a specific electronic event such as ordering software over the Internet. If the attribution procedure is reasonable then the person pointed to by

the attribution procedure must pay for the software." Our text goes on to state the UETA Section 1-108(b) which indicates that, "The effect of an electronic record or electronic signature attributed to a person under subsection (a) is determined from the context and surrounding circumstances at the time of its creation, execution, or adoption, including the parties' agreement, if any, and otherwise as provided by law." A purchaser who gives her name and credit card number may be attributed as an act of that person. I believe Johns name, credit card number and address matching up met this criteria. One would assume if the purchase was a result of fraud than the address and name might have been different from the credit card number.

I do think a contract was formed but I feel John can contest it because if the clicker is a minor, the vendor is subject to having the contract disaffirmed. Some websites states the clicker to verify he/she is over 18 years of age before entering into an agreement. This case did not state the website had such a statement. In addition, under UCTIA the John upon receiving the equipment that he did not order could notify the company of the error. Upon agreement between the two parties John should then be able to return the equipment unopened. If John opens the equipment, he would essentially be accepting the terms of the contract and would have no legal recourse.

III. The last case shows a contract was entered. Our text states that the offeree

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