Counter Offers Are Binding

Counter Offers Are Binding

It has happened to me on more than one occasion.  Twice to be exact.  I contact a potential buyer with an offer on a domain name.  They reply with a counter offer, “I’ll give you $x. ”  Maybe some additional negotiations take place, maybe not.  At the end of the day, the potential buyer has made a counter offer.  When I reply and accept that offer, the deal is binding.

Apparently, there are some business people that do not understand this element of contract law.  They make a counter offer with little or no intention of following through on the deal.   Maybe they are practicing their negotiating skills on my time.  Maybe they are just curious as to what my reaction to the offer will be.  Regardless, they don’t complete the deal.

What options do I have?  Not many, really.  The level of dollars involved in these offers are not high, so it’s not worth pursuing legal action.  Besides, I don’t want to develop a reputation as a lawsuit happy, crazy man that others wont want to come near.  It’s really just frustrating more than anything.  I considered adding a small reminder to my emails solicitations reminding “Acceptance of a counter offer represents a binding agreement.”  But I really don’t want to encourage counter offers.

It may just be a couple of bad apples, and I happened to pick them off the tree.  For now, I’ll just accept the fact that this happens and focus on finding a serious buyer when it does.

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Comments (4)

  • Ross Reply

    I believe so long as you counter offer their offer your offer is the one that becomes the binding offer. All other offers at that point are null and void.

    June 10, 2010 at 8:10 pm
  • Sully Reply

    @Ross, correct. I am in no way providing legal advice, just my understanding. Once a counter offer is made, the original offer is null.

    June 11, 2010 at 5:58 am
  • Jim Reply

    Surely an offer can only be firm once an exchange of contract has taken place and the terms & conditions of the sale have been agreed upon by both parties. It is usually done by electronic or written means. If you have terms and conditions in your original sales email then the offer would be binding. Otherwise, everything else is non committal.

    People hesitate to add ““Acceptance of a counter offer represents a binding agreement” for a reason. Nobody wants to scare off a potential buyer with legal jargon. On low priced domains you may sell more domains without such clauses but you may also have to put up with more bidders who change their mind. If you cant deal with this scenario the best approach would be to add terms & conditions to your sales pitch email.

    June 11, 2010 at 6:05 am
    • Sully Reply

      @Jim, I’m with you. As sellers, we just need to deal with the situation, as frustrating as it might be.

      June 11, 2010 at 6:11 am

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