Martin Budworth has won in the Court of Appeal for a Porsche enthusiast who was duped out of his £135,000 dream car. The Claimant, Mr Hughes, had set his heart on a limited edition 911 GT3 RS4 knowing that only about 25 cars would be supplied to the UK. He paid a £10,000 deposit to Porsche Centre, Bolton who then told him he was first in the queue and would get the car if they were allocated one. They did receive an allocation but told him otherwise. When the claim was brought they admitted that they lied to Mr Hughes and they had actually sold it to somebody else. The claim failed at trial, the judge holding that there was no binding contract and no clear case on loss. The Court of Appeal upheld the appeal saying it was ‘as plain as a pikestaff’ that there was binding contract. The specification details for the vehicle were to follow, but the terms and conditions expressly contemplated that eventuality and set out a procedure for it. Under the Sale of Goods Act 1979 s.5, there could be an agreement to sell future goods, which included goods to be acquired by the seller after the making of the contract. There could also be a contract for the sale of goods even though the seller’s acquisition of those goods depended on a contingency which might or might not happen. Similarly, s.8(1) stated explicitly that the price of goods might be left to be fixed in a manner agreed by the contract. Further, the provisions of s.29(3) meant that the failure to specify a delivery date was irrelevant to the existence of a contract. In addition, the Claimant had ordered the vehicle from the dealer and paid the deposit because of the assurance that he would be first in the queue if Porsche allocated one to the dealer. The statement was intended to have contractual effect, the consideration for it being entry into the main, written agreement. That collateral contract varied the clause in the terms and conditions conferring a discretion on the dealer not to fulfil orders in the sequence in which they were received.
In the press:
Manchester Evening News