An express act or implication by conduct that manifests assent to the terms of an offer in a manner invited or required by the offer so that a binding contract is formed. The exercise of power conferred by an offer by performance of some act. The act of a person to whom something is offered or tendered by another, whereby the offeree demonstrates through an act invited by the offer an intention of retaining the subject of the offer.
In the law of contracts, acceptance is one person's compliance with the terms of an offer made by another. Acceptance occurs in the law of insurance when an insurer agrees to receive a person's application for insurance and to issue a policy protecting the person against certain risks, such as fire or theft. When a person who is offered a gift by someone keeps the gift, this indicates his or her acceptance of it.
Acceptance also occurs when a bank pays a check written by a customer who has a checking account with that bank.
In business dealings between merchants, which is governed by the law of sales, a buyer demonstrates his or her acceptance of goods that are not exactly what he or she had ordered from the seller by telling the seller that he or she will keep the goods even though they are not what was ordered; by failing to reject the goods; or by doing something to the goods inconsistent with the seller's ownership of them, such as selling the goods to consumers of the buyer's store.
Types of Acceptance
An acceptance may be conditional, express, or implied.
Conditional Acceptance A conditional acceptance, sometimes called a qualified acceptance, occurs when a person to whom an offer has been made tells the offeror that he or she is willing to agree to the offer provided that some changes are made in its terms or that some condition or event occurs. This type of acceptance operates as a counteroffer. A counteroffer must be accepted by the original offeror before a contract can be established between the parties.
Another type of conditional acceptance occurs when a drawee promises to pay a draft upon the fulfillment of a condition, such as a shipment of goods reaching its destination on the date specified in the contract.
Express Acceptance An express acceptance occurs when a person clearly and explicitly agrees to an offer or agrees to pay a draft that is presented for payment.
Implied Acceptance An implied acceptance is one that is not directly stated but is demonstrated by any acts indicating a person's assent to the proposed bargain. An implied acceptance occurs when a shopper selects an item in a supermarket and pays the cashier for it. The shopper's conduct indicates that he or she has agreed to the supermarket owner's offer to sell the item for the price stated on it.
Calamari, John D., and Joseph M. Perillo. 1998. The Law of Contracts. 4th ed. St. Paul, Minn.: West Group.
Chirelstein, Marvin A. 2001. Concepts and Case Analysis in the Law of Contracts. 4th ed. New York: Foundation.
ac·cept·ance / akˈseptəns/ • n. 1. the action of consenting to receive or undertake something offered. ∎ agreement to meet a draft or bill of exchange, effected by signing it. ∎ a draft or bill so accepted. 2. the action or process of being received as adequate or suitable, typically to be admitted into a group. 3. agreement with or belief in an idea, opinion, or explanation. ∎ approval or favorable regard. ∎ willingness to tolerate a difficult or unpleasant situation.