I’m working on a writing discussion question and need support to help me understand better.
Ted and Betty Hyatt live in California, a state that has extensive statutory protection for consumers. The Hyatts decided to buy a computer so that they could use e-mail to stay in touch with their grandchildren, who live in another state. Over the phone, they ordered a computer from CompuEdge, Inc. When the box arrived, it was sealed with a brightly colored sticker warning that the terms enclosed within the box would govern the sale unless the customer returned the computer within thirty days. Among those terms was a clause that required any disputes to be resolved in Tennessee state courts. The Hyatts then signed up for Internet service through CyberTool, an Internet service provider. They downloaded CyberTool’s software and clicked on the “quick install” box that allowed them to bypass CyberTool’s “Terms of Service” page. It was possible to read this page by scrolling to the next screen, but the Hyatts did not realize this. The terms included a clause that stated all disputes were to be submitted to a Virginia state court. As soon as the Hyatts attempted to e-mail their grandchildren they experienced problems using CyberTool’s e-mail service, which continually stated that the network was busy. They also were unable to receive the photos sent by their grandchildren. Ask your students to answer the following questions, using the information presented in the chapter.
1. Did the Hyatts accept the list of contract terms included in the computer box? Why or why not? What is the name used for this type of e-contract? The contract between the Hyatts and CompuEdge was a shrink-wrap agreement. The company conspicuously notified consumers of the terms included in the agreement in the box. In addition, the company emphasized on the box that the purchasers had thirty days to return the computer and rescind their contract. By opening the box and failing to return the computer within the thirty days, the Hyatts would likely be held to have assented to the terms.
2. Are the Hyatts bound by the contract terms specified on CyberTool’s “Terms of Service” page that they did not read? Which of the required elements for contract formation might the Hyatt’s claim lack? How might a court rule on this issue? There is no requirement that the parties to a contract must read all of the contract terms for the terms to be enforceable. Because the Hyatts indicated their assent to the terms by clicking “I agree,” the terms became part of their contract, and they are bound by the terms regardless of whether they read them. A court will most likely find that the Hyatts agreed to the contract terms when they clicked on the “quick install” box.
#2 Tradtional contracts (written on paper) have a place for you to sign. Once you sign the contract you are presumed to have read and understood ALL the terms of the contract.
That is why people should read contracts before you sign them.
Can you name some contract types that you are a party to?
Is there a contract between the professor and teacher of this class or any class? Why or why not?
#3 Product Liability
Rim Corporation makes tire rims and sells them to Superior Vehicles, Inc., who installs them on cars. One set of rims is defective, which an inspection would reveal. Superior does not inspect the rims. The car with the defective rims is sold to Town Auto Sales, which sells the car to Uri. Soon, the car is in an accident caused by the defective rims, and Uri is injured. Is Superior Vehicles liable?
Yes. The manufacturer is liable for the injuries to the user of the product. A manufacturer is liable for its failure to exercise due care to any person who sustains an injury proximately caused by a negligently made (defective) product. In this problem, the failure to inspect is a failure to use due care.
Question 1: Do you believe most of the products sold in America are safe?
Question 2: People sometimes take products and use them inappropriately to make funny videos for Youtube. Do you think the manufacturer should be liable if someone is misusing a product to make a funny video? Why or why not?
#4 Cosumer and Business
The Effects of Bankruptcy Law on Consumers and Business
In what ways do bankruptcy laws benefit the economy as a whole? In a world without bankruptcy laws, those who do not pay their debts face very harsh penalties. As we saw, there used to be debtors’ prisons in the United States. As a result, consumers and businesses were much less willing to borrow than they are today. Because bankruptcy laws allow for an orderly process to resolve the nonpayment of debts, both consumers and businesses that borrow as well as lending institutions that loan are much more wiling to engage in the borrowing/lending process. Consumers in particular now make purchases of houses and other durable goods for which the repayment of those loans roughly corresponds to the flow of services received from those houses and durable goods. Rather than waiting and saving for five years to buy a car, for example, the consumer can pay a small down payment with regular monthly payments and enjoy the benefits of a service flow from a car much sooner. The same analysis holds for, a fortiori, a house.
The U.S. economy has grown dramatically through the years in part because of the existence of consumer and business credit. There is more consumer and business credit because of the existence of bankruptcy laws than there would have been in the absence of bankruptcy laws. Therefore, bankruptcy laws have benefited the U.S. economy. It is only when bankruptcy law becomes too lenient or is abused on a large scale that the economy starts to suffer.
Under current bankruptcy law it is very difficult for students to go bankrupt on their student loans, some people argue it is virtually impossible to go bankrupt on student loans
If I argued the US should relax Bankruptcy Laws and allow students to default on their student loans (with the understanding that the vast majority of loans are backed by the US government – which means the federal government would pay off the banks that gave you your student loan), do you think it would help or hurt the economy?
#5 In the United States we praise people who have started their own companies, would you be willing to take out a loan to start a business yourself? Do you ever want to own your own business?
#6 Business and Ways to Get Things Done
generally speaking the most prevalent form of business is a sole proprietorship. You decide to start a business and just run the business using your personal checking account and credit cards. The problem with this is…if you get sued (someone starts a lawsuit against your business) and you lose. You can lose all your money, savings, possessions and even your house (if you own it). So the best way to start a business is to form a company and register it with the State of Minnesota (or whatever stat you live in). What do you think the best type of business entity is? Or, which would YOU use?
One of the best ways to start a business is to buy a franchise (but franchises are expensive). What would be your ideal business to own?
#8 The President appoints people to be in charge of a lot of Federal Agencies.
Do you think the President should be required to choose people who have some familiarity with an agency to be in charge of the agency? For example, should the head of the Environmental Protection Agency be required to have a degree in Biology? Should the Secretary of Defense be required to have served in the Military at some point in their life?
#9 Consumer Protection
Do you think the products you buy are generally safe for their intended use?
Why or Why Not?
#10 Protecting the Environment
In the United States we have a lot of public land such as National Parks and Government lands. The State of Alaska has large amounts of untouched land that is still in reserve.
Do you think we should preserve the untouched land in Alaska for future generations?
Why or why not?
#11 Real Estate
Our global population keeps moving upwards and upwards. Real estate will become a much more scarce commodity in the future. Do you think you will ever buy and own a house or other real estate?
#12 Fair Competition
We have a lot of choices for products and services to buy and there a quite a few companies willing to sell us things in America. When I think of competition (and fair competition) I like to think of the advertisements aired during the commercials of the Super Bowl, the Olympics or any other big television event. The companies that advertise in these time periods are paying a LOT of money for the time period and for making the ad itself. We usually see ads from very profitable companies. In the real world the day to day search for customers leads some companies to make extravagant claims that are simply untrue (in which case there competitors usually turn them into the FCC for unfair trade practices) or some advertisements are just inadvertently funny.
Do you think most people should just “know” that some things are funny and not meant to be true in an advertisement —- or should companies always try to stick to the facts?
After the United States went through the beginning of the Great Depression (starting with the stock market crash of 1929) the government passed laws that basically said if you are courting an investor you have to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Which means, if you are selling stock in a company to investors you have to tell the investors everything about the company (the good and the bad). In the early 2000’s we had a bunch of companies lie to the public about their income and expenses and the Sarbannes-Oxley law was passed. In some ways I sometimes thing that the Sarbannes-Oxley act forces companies that are publicly traded (on Wall Street) to prepare all their financial statements so they are easy enough for a high schooler (someone in about 10th grade) to read and understand. This takes a ton of work to write an annual statement in such a way as to be totally understood by someone so young (and costs a lot of money).
#14 A quote –
Sometimes people in Minnesota are generalized as being “Minnesota Nice” and other times Minnesota people have been called “Passive Aggressive” but when you think of law (and life in general) you have to stick up for yourself. Do you know what I mean?
I like this quote a LOT:
“The law helps those who help themselves, generally aids the vigilant, but rarely the sleeping, and never the acquiescent.”
– Chief Justice Prentis, Supreme Court of Virginia (1930)
What do you think the quote above means to you? By now, you should have realized that all my discussion questions have been (more or less) introspective and designed to get you to think about things.
#15 Here are two questions
Does the United States have a Duty to — Police the World?
Does the United States have a Duty to — Provide money for foreign relief to other countries?