22 Mar 2022


Did Jim and Laura Legally Buy a Car?

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Academic level: College

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The primary objective of the law of contract is to enforce its stipulated promises. Contracts usually involve a promise or promises aligned in a way that the law acknowledges as adequate to partake a legally binding requirement. Assuming that all businesses took place in a perfect world, all the parties involved in any agreements would gain and be contented since no wrangles would ensue. However, in the modern and the real world of business, specific events can obstruct the delivery of successful contracts. These factors may include delays, financial issues, and other unforeseen matters creating breaches in contracts. The paper will evaluate the case of Jim and Laura, who felt they were duped into giving out one hundred dollars in the purchase of a car they did not want. 

Earlier, it was stated that legal contacts in involves promises. However, it is fundamental to note that the contracts must be implemented just because of the promises they entail. The simple action of making a commitment may establish a moral duty to fulfill it, although, additional validations are needed as to why the promise should be implemented. As proposed by Smith in a publication by Valente (2010), contracts viable for enforcement are those that produce reasonable expectations. Contract laws have the ability to protect the promise’s expectation. The nature of the objective should be objectively evaluated. It means that in any crisis, a court’s work will be made easier because they will analyze the expected outcome resulting from the promise (Valente 2010). Likewise, the one who makes the promise should not make an unfair expectation thereby breaching the agreement this means that the parties should be willing to honor each other promise without failure. 

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When a promise is taken under a legal obligation as compared to moral obligation, then it has the right to be performed. In any business terms, if a person is legally promised a deal that is not delivered; they are denied a real right and should be compensated (Mitchell, 2012). However, it can be a tricky situation when there is uncertainty in the classification of a legal or moral obligation. When a contract only involves moral binding that cannot be enforced legally, it will have no rights to compensation (Mitchell, 2012). 

Looking at the case of Jim and Laura and the salesperson, both parties had a reasonable expectation at the beginning. There was no legal contract between the two buyers and Stan. Therefore, I do not think Jim and Laura legally bought the car. In my opinion, their agreement is considered to be morally binding. It means that the promises and their expectations could not be legally enforced (Fried, 2015). However, one can argue that that Stan is to be held accountable for his refusal to return the one hundred dollars. It because from an “intention” point of view as stated by Fried (2015), individuals who make promises and fail to keep them should be held accountable. There should be respect and rational decisions in any business dealings. In the definition of a statement of intention as seen in this case, Stan says that he intends to sell Jim and Laura the car but must leave a deposit of one hundred dollars. There exists a difference in the offer because he does not state that he will sell the blue four-door sedan. His insistence that the one hundred dollars were part of the business contract is very one-sided. 

The case represents a good example of a breached contract even though it was not written. Jim and Laura are not contented with the Stan’s’ terms and want to recover their deposit. Stan does not follow the terms of the agreement since he had agreed initially that the deposit would be refundable. The terms of the agreement between the three individuals were not clearly stated. From a critical analysis of the case, both parties have a strong case to present to the courts. 

Whenever contracts are breached, there are three main attempts that can be made to rectify the situation. First, damages can be paid regarding compensation, punitive, nominal, and liquid damages. Secondly, there is the solution of specific performance. The third one is cancellation and restitution. In my opinion, Jim and Linda stand a chance using restitution and cancellation. One way to achieve this is by using the tactic of promissory estoppel modifications are done to the agreements in place. Stan had promised the buyers that their deposit would be refunded. However, he failed to state the terms for refunding the deposit; that is if at all the bought the car or failed to buy the car. The use of estoppel as a defense, in this case, would prove fruitful. Stan gave promises in the agreement without considering the outcomes. It is clear that Jim and Laura failed to understand the terms of the promise, or rather, the promise was not precisely explained to them. The terms of the agreement could be negotiated in a court of law, so all the parties experience a win-win situation. 

In conclusion, the agreement between the buyers and the seller was more of a business contract than a legal contract. All of the parties failed to honor their promises leading to a contract breach. Therefore, it can be argued that Jim and Laura did not legally buy the car. Instead, they were forced into acquiring one through the refinement of their deposit. 


Fried, C. (2015). Contract as Promise: A Theory of Contractual Obligation. New York: Oxford University Press, USA.

Mitchell, C. (2012). Obligations in Commercial Contracts: A Matter of Law or Interpretation? Current Legal Problems, 65(1) , 455-488.

Valente, D. (2010). ENFORCING PROMISES . Retrieved June 9, 2016, from http://www.otago.ac.nz/law/research/journals/otago036314.pdf

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 16). Did Jim and Laura Legally Buy a Car?.


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