VIC Agreed with Developer for Compensation - Contract Law?

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25 June 2015
A company is doing work out the back of my house in a developing area. The dust levels are horrendous, and I've made many complaints to the council. The company offers to clean the outside of our house or give us $500 (compensation).

A representative from developer comes around to my house at my request. I made a counter-offer with give me $1000 and clean the outside of my house. The representative says he will have to talk to managing director who returns home on the 25th of June.

On 14th of June, a man comes to my door and gives me envelope with $500 dollars in it. I email Representative and ask him why this has happened. He claims it is a mistake and that no decision would be made on my offer until managing director returns home on 25th of June.

On 25th of June, today, I received an email saying managing director said I accepted the $500 from their original offer and therefore matter is over and done with.

Advice please under contract law, thank you.


Hi Leigh,

How did the conversation go when the person dropped off the $500 to you?

Generally contract law states that when you make a counter offer you reject the initial offer, and once an offer has been rejected it can no longer be accepted. Therefore if they are trying to argue that you accepted their offer of $500, then they would have had to re-make that offer as a counter offer at the time they came to your house to give you the money and you accepted it. If that occurred then your counter offer could then no longer be accepted.

However if you can argue somehow that they did not make a counter offer of $500, and that you accepted the money as an initial payment of the compensation, the ultimate figure of which was yet to be negotiated between you then your counter offer would still be open for acceptance by the director.

Its a fiddly area of law and ultimately whether or not you accepted a counter offer by them is probably a decision for the court to make, depending on the specific communications and circumstances between you and the company but I would try to continue negotiating with them regardless of what they say.
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