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Dickinson v Dodds (1876) 2 Ch D 463

The defendant offered to sell his house to the claimant and promised to keep the offer open until Friday. On the Thursday the defendant accepted an offer from a third party to purchase the house. The defendant then asked a friend to tell the claimant that the offer was withdrawn. On hearing the news, the claimant went round to the claimant's house first thing Friday morning purporting to accept the offer. He then brought an action seeking specific performance of the contract.

Held:

The offer had been effectively revoked. Therefore no contract existed between the parties. There was no obligation to keep the offer open until Friday since the claimant had provided no consideration in exchange for the promise.

The offeror is free to withdraw the offer at any time before acceptance takes place unless a deposit has been paid.
 
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