Question: Frank a local businessman rings Catherine, the sales director at TechSales Ltd.  Frank is interested in the new software system produced by Catherine’s company.  Frank outlines the size and nature of his business enterprise and asks Catherine how much it would be to install the new software system.  Catherine replies: ‘I am sure that for a business of your size we can guarantee a price of €3,000.00, covering all installation costs and appropriate staff training.  But please get back to me quickly; I cannot hold that price for more than a week.’

Later that day, Frank receives an advertisement by e-mail from Accountsplus Ltd which states: ‘We can offer exceptional accountancy software for small businesses at a price guaranteed not to exceed €2,500.00’.  He immediately telephones Accountsplus Ltd and places an order.  However, after discussing the matter further with an account plus Ltd representative, it becomes apparent that the actual costs of installation would exceed €4,000.00.  Frank thereupon withdraws his order.

The next day, Frank telephones TechSales.  He leaves a message on the answering machine accepting the offer of €3,000.00 made by Catherine, at the same time asking whether the cost could also include on-site training for any new staff he takes on over the next 6 months.  Subsequently Frank has second thoughts and telephones TechSales to cancel his order.  The secretary now on duty points out that Catherine will be listening to her messages shortly but that she would make a note of his wishes.

Advise Frank on whether he has concluded a contract with TechSales and/or Accountsplus Ltd and, if so, on what terms?  Please refer to all relevant case law and legislation where applicable.

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