Teenager had long wanted to buy a customized, motorized scooter, and had finally saved up enough money to do so. He visited a shop near his house and discussed specifications with Mechanic, who performed all the customized work on scooters. Teenager and Mechanic agreed that Teenager would purchase a 2017 Wasp motorized scooter. Mechanic would fit the scooter with specialized wheels, chrome accessories, and a modified cargo holder to accommodate Teenager’s backpack. The base price of the scooter was $20,000, and Mechanic said the cost of supplies and labor for the customizations would be an additional $5,000, for a total price of $25,000. Teenager and Mechanic agreed that the scooter would be delivered about three months from the signing of the contract.
According to their agreement, Teenager was to provide an initial deposit of $1,000. Teenager would then wait to be notified once the basic scooter was delivered to the shop, which Mechanic anticipated would take two months. Following arrival of the basic scooter, Teenager would make four weekly payments of $2,500, due every Monday while Mechanic worked on the scooter. The final $14,000 was to be paid upon delivery of the scooter to Teenager at the shop.
Unknown to Mechanic, Teenager was only 17 years old at the time that he entered into the contract with Mechanic, although he was merely one week away from his 18th birthday. Mechanic assumed that Teenager was over the age of 18 and did not ask for identification or proof of age.
Teenager paid the initial deposit as agreed, then waited to hear back from Mechanic to confirm once Mechanic had the basic scooter. As expected, about two months later, Mechanic called Teenager to say that the scooter had made it to the shop. Teenager made two of the weekly payments as scheduled. After the two weekly payments, however, Teenager called Mechanic and said that he was no longer interested in the scooter and did not intend to purchase it.
When Mechanic protested that the scooter was already there and she had begun the customization work, Teenager said, “Too bad, I was only 17 years old when I signed that contract! You can’t hold me to it!”
Mechanic has sued for breach of contract. As proof of her damages, Mechanic has submitted evidence to show that, had the contract been fully performed, she would have spent $14,000 to obtain the basic scooter and $3,000 on the parts necessary for customization. At the time that Teenager told Mechanic that Teenager no longer intended to buy the scooter, Mechanic had spent only $2,000 on the customized parts, which were nonreturnable. Mechanic was able to resell the scooter, but because the scooter had specialized wheels already installed, Mechanic could not find a buyer willing to pay more than $16,000 for the scooter.
- Does Teenager’s age at the time that he executed the contract mean that the contract is unenforceable? Explain.
- What will Mechanic likely receive in damages? Explain.