Acceptance is the second stage of an agreement. When an offer is made, the offeree must accept it when accepted is converted into a promise. This promise when considered gives rise to an agreement, agreement when validated under law results in a ‘CONTRACT’. Section 2 (b) of the Indian Contract Act, 1872 defines acceptance as ‘When the person to whom the proposal is made signifies his assent thereto, the proposal is said to be accepted. A proposal, when accepted, becomes a promise. There are few essentials that one should make a note of while conveying its acceptance.
- Acceptance must be expressed or implied
If an offeror asks you to convey its acceptance in a prescribed manner, it is advised to deliver your acceptance in the same manner. However, if not mentioned then one should make it reasonably. In cases of an implied acceptance that is when it is understandable, that if you have acted in a certain manner then you have accepted the offer. Example- When you travel by train it is understood that you have bought the ticket and accepted the rule and regulations laid by the railway department. Hence, it is said to be an implied offer.
- Must be given only by the person to whom it is made.
This means if A has addressed the offer to B then only B can convey his acceptance to A and not C. In case of a public offer / open offer, anyone can accept the offer by doing the act asked by the offeror.
- Must be absolute and unqualified
Absolute means one must accept the whole offer and not the part of the offer which is favorable to him/her. Also one must not add any new condition which is not pre-determined in the contract.
- Acceptance must be expressed in some usual and reasonable manner unless the proposal prescribes how it is to be made.
Here if the offeree hasn’t conveyed any acceptance then in that case mere silence won’t be considered as an acceptance by the offeror if done so will be invalidated under law.
- Acceptance must be communicated
A mere intent to accept an offer or mental acceptance of an offer does not give rise to a contract. Example- If A accepts the offer given by B but forgets to convey it via telegram as asked by B, it won’t be considered an acceptance.
- Performance of an offer is considered to be an acceptance
Performance of the conditions of a proposal or the acceptance of any consideration for a reciprocal promise, which may be offered with the proposal, is an acceptance of the proposal.
- Acceptance must succeed the offer
One cannot convey its acceptance without any offer. The proposer must be aware of the offer and the same goes for the acceptor is the acceptor must be aware of the proposal at the time of the acceptance. A mere invitation to an offer will not be considered as an offer hence the acceptance of it will not be binding towards the offeror.
- Proposal once declined cannot be accepted
This means if A has counter-offered B proposal then the first offer will be lapsed and if A has rejected the offer given by B in the first place then he/she cannot go back and reaccept the offer as once the offer is declined it lapses.