Carpenter makes bird feeders designed to look like cuckoo clocks. Carpenter initially made the bird feeders as a hobby, giving a few to friends. Everyone who received a bird feeder complimented Carpenter’s work and suggested that many would be happy to buy the bird feeders. After such excellent feedback, Carpenter decided to try selling the bird feeders. She began her new enterprise by asking her friends to circulate her contact information to anyone who admired the bird feeders.
One such friend of a friend was Birdwatcher, who emailed Carpenter to convey his interest in buying a bird feeder. Carpenter emailed back:
I am so happy that you are interested in purchasing one of my bird feeders! I will confess that because you will be my very first buyer, I am not sure how much to charge you. I spend $50 on the materials for each feeder, and I thought to add $100 for the time I spend making each one. This puts my tentative price at $150. I want to be sure, however, that customers agree that is a fair price. I propose, therefore, to drop the bird feeder at your house. Then, you can put it where you like and use it for a week. At that time, you can send me a check for what you believe to be a fair price. No matter what amount you send, the bird feeder is yours to keep.
Birdwatcher emailed back, saying that Carpenter’s proposal sounded wonderful, and that “I will be sure to send a fair price once I receive the bird feeder!” Carpenter brought a bird feeder to Birdwatcher’s house the next day. One week later, Carpenter received an email from Birdwatcher that read:
The bird feeder is indeed beautiful, but I have discovered that my preferred birdseed, sunflower seeds mixed in peanut butter, is hard to load into the bird feeder. Because of this, I don’t think the bird feeder works very well, and I believe a fair price for the bird feeder is nothing. Thanks!
Carpenter was upset to receive nothing for a bird feeder she believed was worth $150 and has sued Birdwatcher for breach of contract.
- Is Carpenter’s breach of contract suit likely to succeed? Why or why not? Explain.
- Assume that the court finds that Birdwatcher did not breach a contract with Carpenter, there being no contract to breach. Does Carpenter have any other avenues to obtain relief? Explain.