Law and Politics

Start Free Trial

Randolph enrolled in a business law class and purchased a new business law textbook from the local bookstore. He dropped the class during the first week and sold the book to his friend Scott. Before making the sale, Randolph told Scott that he had purchased the book new and had owned it for one week. Unknown to either Randolph or Scott, the book was in fact a used one. Scott later discovered some underlining in the middle of the book and attempted to void the contract. Randolph refused to refund. May Scott void the contract? Explain why or why not.

Scott may void the contract because a mistake was made that relates to the core of the agreement. Alternately, one might argue that Scott may not void the contract since it's not Randolph's fault that Scott didn't carefully inspect the book before buying it.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In one sense, Scott may void the contract. A mistake was made that relates to the core of their deal. Randolph thought he was the first owner of the book. Based on the scenario, it’s hard to say that Randolph deliberately misrepresented the history of the book. Nonetheless, Randolph was mistaken. He was not the first owner of the book. Someone had previously used it, and that person marked it up. The nearly-new book that Scott thought he was contracting to purchase turned out not to be new at all. Randolph made a mistake, so Scott should get a refund. In turn, Randolph could contact the local bookstore that sold him the book and try to get his money back.

Alternately, it's possible to claim that Scott may not void the contract and that Randolph is not obligated to issue him a refund. One might argue that Scott is the party at fault. Before entering the contract, Scott should have carefully inspected the source of the contract—the book. Prior to buying the book, Scott should have thoroughly examined it. If he had done this, he might have discovered the underlined parts and known not to enter into the contract with Randolph. One could posit that it's not fair to blame Randolph for Scott's failure to accurately appraise the book.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team