Minors and Contracts

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Do minors have the right to return items that they have purchased and get their money back, regardless of a store’s stated/printed return policy? •Why or why not? Be sure to support your answer.

Does it make a difference if the minor makes a purchase by signing a written contract?

A minor or other incompetent party who makes a purchase is essentially entering into a contract with the seller and technically and legally speaking does have the right to return the purchased item based on their in-ability to legally enter into the contract. A contract can be defined as “an exchange relationship created by oral or written agreement between two or more [parties]” (Blum, 2007) and in order to be considered binding the contract must contain at least one promise and be considered legally enforceable by law (Blum, 2007). Based on this definition and the scenario described the contract between the incompetent party and the retailer represents a contract by a retailer and a party who cannot legally enter into contract so the contract is not legally enforceable. However, it is extremely unlikely that this technicality would be recognized. When considering the terms of a contract there is consideration of the standards of a reasonable person’s understanding (Blum, 2007). In this case it would be reasonable to assume that the minor’s ability to select the item and follow through with the purchase demonstrates a reasonable understanding of the contract regardless of their legal incompetence. If the minor or otherwise incompetent party enters into a written contract with the retailer the simple fact that they cannot legally enter into a binding contract still applies. They cannot enter into a contract so the contract is not enforceable and is not legally binding. It seems highly unlikely that any retailer would be willing to enter into a written contract with anyone under the legal age of competence but if they did, and if the case was heard in a court of law it would...
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