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I'm looking at this site which writes to state

The parties to the agreement must have agreed about the subject matter of the agreement in the same sense and at the same time

There are simplistic instances online such as the one about an object being purchased from an antique store by a customer for it's aesthetics - and then being discovered to be a fake whereby an action for breach of contract is not applicable because the customer apparently made the purchase for it's aesthetics.

I don't understand this because it seems to me the purchase being made in an antique shop would mandate a fake immediately becomes a breach of contract.

How is the 'same sense and same time' worded into a contract?

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The site that you provide is explaining basics of contract law, and that quote attempts to explicate (and they refer to) the Latin maxim consensus ad idem, generally explained in modern language as "meeting of the minds". Here is a brief overview of that legal concept. The basis idea is that the parties are talking about the same thing. An example of a lack of meeting of the minds is here, where a complainant agreed to withdraw a complaint in exchange for a service pin plus "any/all straight time compensation" lost. It was later established that the complainant believed that this included time off from work on sick leave, but the agency held that this had already been compensated – thus the parties did not agree to what was "compensation lost". The "agreement" was thus found to be void, because the parties did not in fact agree on the meaning of the terms.

Your purported example would not indicate a lack of meeting of the minds, though it might indicate fraud. A lack of meeting of the minds could arise if the seller intended objects A, C to be items on offer but the buyer believed objects A, B, D to be the offer. It should be noted that the law does not let a person get out of a contract simply by declaring "I thought that...", the courts will look at the objective evidence as to what the parties did believe.

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  • Got it, I think. It's like that instance where the man asked the attendant at the fuel outlet to put 20 in the car. He meant worth 20, the attendant understand 20 litres. End result, the fuel tank overflowed after 12 litres were in.
    – Everyone
    Mar 12 at 6:33
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I believe by saying "the parties must agree in the same sense" the site means that they must have the same understanding of the contract. This is more commonly expressed by the phrase "a valid contract must be based on a meeting of minds". That is, if party A thinks the contract means one thing, and party B thinks it means something quite different, there is no valid contract at all.

For example, if A says 'I will sell you the Chevy for $1,000" and B accepts. A intended to sell the model Chevy displayed on nthe wall, B intended to buy the car in A's driveway. There is no meeting of minds, and thus no valid contract.

That site, in my view, has several examples of poor writing, and several errors of substance. I would be cautious in relying on it.

Poor Writing

  • "The parties to the agreement must have agreed about the subject matter of the agreement in the same sense and at the same time" The meaning is unclear.
  • "*An agreement may be social agreement or legal agreement" Improper omission of articles.
  • "it is necessary that the consent of parties to the contact must be free." Redundant. One of the boldface words should be removed.
  • "According to Contract Act, a contract may be oral or in writing." Omission of required article.

Legal Inaccuracies

  • "But only those agreements which are enforceable in a court of law are contracts." Not correct. An agreement might, for example, be unenforceable for staleness, such as a debt that cannot be collected after a lapse of years, but it is still a contract.
  • "Agreements of a social or domestic nature do not create legal relations and as such cannot give rise to a contract." Marriage is a valid and enforceable contract. So are domestic partnership contracts.
  • "Consideration has been defined as the price paid by one party for the promise of the other." Consideration may be direct transfer of title and possession in an immediate sale, with no promise involved. Also, while most common-law countries hold to the rule that a valid contract requires consideration, many civil-law countries do not.
  • "Thus, a contract entered into by a minor or by a lunatic is void." Contracts by minors are, in many but not all cases voidable, but they are not void just because one party is a minor.
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How is the 'same sense and same time' worded into a contract?

Some terms are presumed or implied in the contract. There is no need to formulate them.

Unless the store is manifestly in the business of selling replicas --antique or otherwise-- of objects, it is reasonable for the buyer to presume that the goods an antique shop offers are authentic. In the case of an online purchase, it would be quite a stretch to expect buyers to realize or even inquire whether the items are fake.

To overcome the aforementioned presumption, the shop would have to inform the buyer that the item is fake.

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