Hoover flight Fiasco and unilateral contract


Hoover Marketing Promotion

I have written an article about the fiasco of Hoover flights. Briefly: In 1992, Hoover conducted a promotional campaign that promised to have two free seats on flights to Europe or the United States to any customer who purchased a Hoover product worth £100 or more.

The promotion has been a great success in encouraging people to buy Hoover products, but it has been extremely unsuccessful in how much flights Hoover has to pay. It is estimated that Hoover’s sales are £30 million and the cost of the flight is £50 million.

In my previous article, I asked a question: Why did Hoover not simply plug in things when they knew that the promotion didn't do what they wanted.

One answer to the PR answer is that Hoover suffered a continuous public relations disaster because of his promotion and how they handled it. Unplugging the plug will make things worse – but, to be exact, it may be worse to be controversial.

I suggest that there may be a second answer worth exploring, the unilateral contract answer. This answer is related to the nature of a unilateral contract, which is a contract that involves a person committing something in exchange for another person to perform an action.

It may be that even if Hoover has cancelled the promotion, customers will have the right to request a ticket because they have signed a contract with Hoover even if they have not yet purchased Hoover products.

British Contract Law

The British contract law only recognizes bargaining in history, that is, establishing legal obligations between the two parties. Bargaining involves exchange: I give you something, you give me some return. What we exchange may include exchange commitments – such contracts are often referred to as bilateral contracts.

A unilateral contract that is not often encountered but still important. Through this type of contract, it is a person's promise to exchange in exchange for the actions of others. Rewards are a good example. If you see that my ad offers £100 to return my lost dog [a promise], your return dog [an act] will create a contract.

In most cases, the contract includes an offer and an acceptance. One person provides something that another person accepts. In a unilateral contract, the promise is an offer and the act is acceptance. For example, I rewarded the return of a lost dog and accepted my offer by returning the behavior of my lost dog.

Often, the person making the offer [often called the offeror] can change his mind and cancel the offer. It is alleged that in the language of the technical contract, the offeror withdrew her offer. However, to revoke the offer, the law provides for two provisions: the offeror must revoke the other party [known as the offeree] before accepting it. All this seems to make sense.

Unilateral offer and withdrawal

Let me give an example of a possible unilateral contract. If you participate in the London Marathon, I promise to give you £1,000. You are not committed to the marathon; however, on the due date, you are in the starting lineup. If you complete the marathon; the unilateral contract is established, I owe you £1,000.

Please recall what I said about the cancellation of the offer: the offeror [I am the offeror in the marathon case] can withdraw the offer at any time [being the offeree in the marathon case] as long as she is accepted by the offeror. Notify the offeree of the withdrawal. Therefore, I can notify me at any time to cancel my £1,000 offer before you accept it. If you think about it, there is a unilateral proposal.

With unilateral contracts, which stage of the acceptance does the problem occur? Acceptance is an act, and behavior is a beginning and an end. The behavior is not immediate. In the marathon, your behavior will last for a few hours.

Although there are opposing arguments, in the marathon, the acceptance is likely to be when you cross the finish line, because this is what I asked for – I ask you to finish and finish the game.

Therefore, if I accept my promise only when you cross the limit, according to the cancellation rules, I can cancel my offer at any time before you accept it – that is, before you cross the line – as long as I notify you of this revocation. So, when I jump out of the crowd and tell you that my offer has been revoked, we may encounter 26 miles and 350 yards.

If I was allowed to successfully revoke my proposal at this late stage, it seems unfair, but it seems to be the place where the principles of contract law bring us. Does the UK contract law really allow me to do this?

Out of an unfair way out

I guess most people will say that it would be very unfair to allow me to revoke my proposal under the above circumstances. Contract principles may seem to allow this, but many people will say that once you start acting, you should have the opportunity to complete your actions. The key point here is that you sincerely rely on what I promise you.

British contract law seems to agree with this view. This position seems to be where there is a unilateral offer; once the offeree begins to take action, it will not be allowed to withdraw. In most cases, this seems sensible. The position of English law is explained by Goff LJ in the case of Daulia Limited v. Four Milbank Nominees Limited 1978.

The judge first stated that “…the true point of view of a unilateral contract must generally be that the offeror has the right to ask him to fully perform the conditions imposed by him, rather than that he is not bound…”. So in the marathon case, this means that you are eligible for money only when you cross the line.

The judge continued: “…the offeror must have an implied obligation not to prevent the condition from being met. Once the offeree begins to perform the obligation, I believe that this obligation must be fulfilled.” Therefore, once you start executing I can't revoke my proposal for your actions. Of course, at the time, when I started shooting, I could not revoke my proposal.

So the question is: What does this have to do with the Hoover case?

Hoover case and unilateral contract

Unilateral contracts are sometimes referred to as "if" contracts or "if at that time" contracts because their form is always the same: if you do, then I will do so. If you finish and finish the London Marathon, I will give you £1,000; or if you buy our Hoover products, we will offer you two tickets from the UK to Europe or the United States.

Hoover originally proposed an offer in August 1992, which lasted until the end of January 1993. Even if you have said that you want to stay open for a while, nothing can stop you from canceling the offer. Therefore, Hoover may withdraw their offer at any time before the natural end of January 1993.

If Hoover tries to cancel their promotion – that is, revoke their offer – in December 1992, what will happen to this position? The question is whether this revocation is effective? According to the above, once the offeree begins to implement the actions required in the offer, the unilateral offer cannot be revoked.

For anyone who has not started buying Hoover before the withdrawal, the withdrawal will be valid. Let us say that the revocation point is December 12, 1992. It all seems simple, isn't it? If you start buying Hoover products before that date; you are entitled to a ticket. But what constitutes the purchase of Hoover products?

Request bill

If the purchase is to hand over your money in the store, then most of the rest of the content is redundant. However, buying behavior may be more complicated than this, and may even begin before you walk into the store. Let's go back to the marathon.

I invite you to run the marathon. This is very unlikely, not impossible, but it is definitely impossible. You only need to go out to participate in the marathon without training for at least a few weeks – maybe 3 to 6 months of training will not be unreasonable. . Once the act begins, the reason for opposing the withdrawal rule is unfair to the offeree. This is unfair to the offeree because he relies on his commitment and adjusts his position accordingly.

If I guarantee you £1,000 to run and complete the London Marathon, you may spend quite a bit of time and be quite expensive – you may need to buy sportswear, who knows what else. Therefore, it is very likely that your preparation is harmful to you – in terms of cost – I will not be able to revoke my offer and refuse to have the opportunity to complete the required behavior.

You can apply similar reasoning to the Hoover case. Let's leave a fairly simple situation that can happen. As you can imagine, potential buyers may have decided not to buy Hoover before the New Year. He may decide so that there may be many reasons. For example, he may want to save some money every week. One can think of multiple variations of such a theme – if Hoover cancels their promotion – the customer's fertile thoughts deny that their free flights may be built.

in conclusion

I am not sure that Hoover's people are discussing the jurisprudence details of a unilateral contract. I think the reason why promotion is allowed is that Hoover thinks the PR loss is very bad, and cancellation will only make things worse.

I'm pretty sure someone made a calculation and it might be worse considering the number of people who might accept flight offers. However, I cannot believe that the £50 million figure will be accepted and accepted.

However, I would like to know that if a person with a savvy legal thought may warn about a unilateral contract. She may have reason to cancel in advance may lead to bigger problems. Hundreds or even thousands of frustrated customers may argue that they have started buying Hoover. If things have gone so far, in many cases, this will lead to worse public relations, heavy legal costs, and may fail in court.

Interestingly, it is speculated that Hoover may cancel what is going on. It is almost certain that any ruling made by the court – if litigation has occurred – will be limited to a very narrow legal issue, which will focus on other controversial issues of unilateral contracts: I will return questions later In the article.