Legal Definition of Sale
An agreement by which one of the contracting parties gives a thing and passes the title to it, in exchange for a certain price in current money.8 min read
An agreement by which one of the contracting parties, called the seller, gives a thing and passes the title to it, in exchange for a certain price in current money, to the other party, who is called the buyer or purchaser, who, on his part, agrees to pay such price.
This contract differs from a barter or exchange in this, that in the latter the price or consideration, instead of being paid in money, is paid in goods or merchandise, susceptible of a valuation. It differs from accord and satisfaction, because in that contract, the thing is given for the purpose of quieting a claim, and not for a price. An onerous gift, when the burden it imposes is the payment of a sum of money, is, when accepted, in the nature of a sale. When partition is made between two or more joint owners of a chattel, it would seem, the contract is in the nature of a barter.
To constitute a valid sale there must be,
1. Proper parties.
2. A thing which is the object of the contract.
3. A price agreed upon; and,
4. The consent of the contracting parties, and the performance of certain acts required to complete the contract. These will be separately considered.
As a general rule all persons sui juris may be either buyers or sellers. But to this rule there are several exceptions.
1. There is a class of persons who are incapable of purchasing except sub modo, as infants, and married women; and,
2. Another class, who, in consequence of their peculiar relation with regard to the owner of the thing sold, are totally incapable of becoming purchasers, while that relation exists; these are trustees, guardians, assignees of insolvents, and generally all persons who, by their connexion with the owner, or by being employed concerning his affairs, have acquired, a knowledge of his property, as attorneys, conveyancers, and the like.
There must be a thing which is the object of the sale, for if the thing sold at the time of the sale had ceased to exist it is clear there can be no sale; if, for example, Paul sell his horse to Peter, and, at the time of the sale the horse be dead, though the fact was unknown to both parties: or, if you and I being in Philadelphia, I sell you my house in Cincinnati, and, at the time of the sale it be burned down, it is manifest there was no sale, as there was not a thing to be sold. It is evident, too, that no sale can be made of things not in commerce, as the air, the water of the sea, and the like. When there has been a mistake made as to the article sold, there is no sale; as, for example, where a broker, who is the agent of both parties, sells an article and delivers to the seller a sold note describing the article sold as "St. Petershurg clean hemp," and bought note to, the buyer, as "Riga Rhine hemp," there is no sale.