Revocation & Lapse of Offer

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In the simplest of terms to revoke means ‘to cancel’.

Legal Definition of Revocation
In legal terminology, Revocation of Offer refers to a withdrawal of an offer made by the offerer/proposer at any time before the acceptor/offeree accepts it. In case the offerer wishes to revoke/withdraw the same after the offeree’s acceptance, it does not fall in the purview of ‘Revocation’.

Revocation by Communication
Revocation can be both, expressed or implied. It can be either orally expressed or expressed in writing. Let us understand the same through the below mentioned scenarios.

Scenario #1
Mr. A. wishes to sell his gold chain to Mr. K. The former offers to sell the same to the latter. Mr. K is still contemplating what to do and has not accepted the offer yet. Meanwhile, Mr. A revokes the offer, as he does not wish to sell his chain anymore. This is considered as a proper, legal and accepted revocation.

Scenario #2
Mr. A. wishes to sell his gold chain to Mr. K. The former offers to sell the same to the latter. Mr. K immediately accepts the same and accepts the offer to buy. He verbally states the same to Mr. A. Mr. A then changes his mind and revokes the offer, as he does not wish to sell his chain anymore. This is not acceptable legally.

Scenario #3
Mr. A. based in England wishes to sell his gold chain to Mr. K. who is a resident of London. The former offers to sell the same to the latter. Mr. K accepts the same and accepts the offer. He posts his acceptance to Mr. A. Mr. A then changes his mind and revokes the offer, as he does not wish to sell his chain anymore. This is not acceptable legally either. Once the transmission of the acceptance is out of the hands of the acceptor, the offerer/proposer loses the right to revoke the offer.

Revocation by Expiry/Lapse of Time
At times, the offer extended has a time limit. In case it remains unaccepted, the offer expires or lapses. Any formal acceptance made after this mentioned date does not create a contract as the offer is not open anymore.

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Scenario
Angel Holidays had made an offer to the public that any holiday packages booked with them before the 31st of May will be entitled to a 25% discount. So this implies that the offer is time-bound and shall expire after the aforementioned date. In case a person accepts the same on or after 1st of June would do so as it has lapsed.

Revocation by Failure to Fulfill a Condition Precedent
There could be an offer made by a proposer but it may be subject to certain conditions.

Scenario
M/s AYB Associates had a job opening for an accountant. They wanted a person who was certified by the Chartered Accounts’ Association. They interviewed several candidates and like Arin. Arin too was keen on working with them and accepted the job offer. But at the time of joining, he was asked to submit the original certificate of his diploma from the Chartered Accounts’ Association. He could not submit the same. So M/s AYB Associates revoked the job offer and the condition precedent could not be fulfilled.

Revocation by Death/Insanity of Proposer
Offers are automatically revoked if the proposer has passed away or has officially been declared insane. If the person has passed away, it is understood that a contract cannot be created. If he/she is declared insane then he/she is not competent to contract. Hence, if there is any offer made by a party who either dies or is declared insane after the offer is made, by default it is revoked

Scenario
Tyson made an offer to sell his house to Lytus. Unfortunately, Tyson passed away and hence his offer stands revoked.

Revocation by Unqualified Acceptance
In case there is some offer made and the acceptor accepts it subject to his/her own conditions, the offer stands revoked, as the acceptance is not clear, absolute and qualified.

Scenario
Abraham offered to sell his bike to Araz. Abraham wanted a cheque for the full amount. Araz accepted to buy and was OK with the price as well but was adamant that he will pay partly by cheque and partly by cash. Abraham has every right to revoke the offer.

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