· terms of delivery (the date or the time and the place of delivery); and
· type of packing.
There may be different kinds of offers.
Sometimes sellers may offer the goods to their regular customers without waiting for an enquiry or may be forced to take the initiative under present competitive conditions and to send their quotation to those who may be interested in their goods. So these voluntary (free) offers are called unsolicited offers which are sent on the seller's own initiative in the hope of making potential customers interested, whereas solicited offers are made in answer to an enquiry.
Besides there is a firm (binding) offer which is a promise to supply goods on the terms stated, i.e. sellers must provide the goods at the prices and terms given in their offer within a stated period of time. According to the Russian law, sellers making a firm order may neither change the terms offered before the stated time nor withdraw their offer after it has been made. However, they can state how long they bind themselves to their offer (e.g. the offer may be valid until October, 11). According to the English and American laws, the seller making a firm offer has the right to withdraw it at any time before it has been accepted. In practice, however, no reputable seller would risk their reputation by withdrawing their offer before the stated time.
The next type of offers is an offer without engagement (or a non-biding offer), which implies, that certain factors may exist preventing sellers from binding themselves to the terms of the offer, for example, in the case of certain goods where the prices fluctuate (like oil or gold), if stocks are limited, or if industrial disputes mean they may not be able to deliver on time. In such cases, sellers can include certain phrases to make it clear that they may withdraw their offer at any time.
If the buyers are satisfied with the terms of the seller's offer, they may then place an order. Nowadays, there are a lot of different types of orders.
A trial order means that the customer orders a small quantity of goods to test the quality.
A firm order means that the customers commit themselves to buying the goods. This type of order may have a fixed delivery date.
A standing order is when the customer places one order for a certain quantity of goods to be delivered at regular intervals, e.g. 500 kg of coffee on the first day of each month.
An initial order is the first order placed with a company.
A follow-up order is the second order placed with a company.
Merchandise on call means that the customers place one order for a quantity of goods which they have delivered in parts as and when they need them.
An advance order is when the customers order the goods a long time before they need them or a long time before the goods are available.
A bulk order means that the customer orders goods in large quantities.
A repeat order is when the customer orders exactly the same goods as before.
After the three steps above are done and the agreement is reached, counterparties sign a contract and start to execute it, i.e. the seller and the buyer have to fulfil certain obligations, the main being the delivery of the goods on time and paying for the goods within the time agreed.
If one party does not fulfil the liabilities specified by the contract, the contract is considered to be broken (this is called breach of a contract). In this case the injured party can claim compensation.
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