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'Sunny Solar Products' (SSP) is a company that makes and installs solar panels.

This is my contract assignment question below:



'Sunny Solar Products' (SSP) is a company that makes and installs solar panels. The company sell a range of solar panels suited to residential and commercial properties.  

Steve is a cabinet maker who wants to live a life 'off the grid'.  He contacts 'Sunny Solar Products' to find out about installing the panels for his house in Binningup in WA.  Steve explains to the manager that whilst he knows a lot about woodwork, he doesn't know much about solar panels. However, he knows he wants a system that will allow him to retrofit batteries when they become less expensive. The manager suggests a few options and before Steve makes his final choice he 'double checks' that the system is suitable to retrofit batteries. Steve tells the manager, "I don't want to buy these panels and discover I can't fit batteries." The manager assures him, "You will have no regrets if you buy the system. Retrofitting will be easy."

 

Steve immediately signs the 'Sunny Solar Products' standard contract which does not refer to suitability to retrofit batteries. The contract only contains space to include information such as name and address, number of panels, cost and installation details. The solar panels are installed and Steve pays for them. Steve discovers that the system is not suitable to retrofit batteries. He contacts Sunny Solar Products and is told the written contract did not mention anything about retrofitting batteries. The company tell him there is nothing he can do. Steve seeks advice from the law firm where you are working as a summer clerk.  

 

Does Steve have any legal rights arising out of the statements that the Sunny Solar Products manager made to him?   

  

You are asked to prepare some preliminary advice for the managing partner.  She tells you not to worry about providing information on misrepresentation or misleading and deceptive conduct as she has asked another summer clerk to prepare that material. Make sure you explain your answer discussing appropriate case law .


Below is my draft plan. May you please pick one issue l have raised and show me how l should answer it applying the IRAC method and also advise whether i should make more assumptions based on the missing facts.


Whether Steve will have a cause of action will depend on whether what was said to him by the manager of 'Sunny Solar Products' (SSP) constituted terms of contract or it was mere representation. Whether when Steve told the manager that he wanted a solar system which was capable to retrofit batteries he meant that to be a term of the contract or he was going to go ahead with the contract subject to him verifying if the system was suitable for retrofit batteries. Whether the terms of contract are limited to what is contained in the document he signed or whether what the discussions he had with the manager of SSP before he signed the contract is meant to constitute the terms of the contract. This raises the question of whether Steve entered into a contract to have his house installed with a solar system suitable to retrofit batteries or a contract which did not specify if the system had to be suitable for retrofit batteries. Whether Steve still went ahead and entered into a contract despite making an independent inquiry that concluded that the system was unsuitable to retrofit batteries. On the facts we are not told the results of Steve's independent inquiry nor are we told of the specific terms of the contract expressed in the document Steve signed except that it did not mention anything about retrofitting batteries. I will therefore assume that the document did not expressly state that anything said or implied by SSP staff before or after the signing of the contract is meant to constitute terms of the contract except what is contained in the signed document. When Steve made an independent inquiry on the suitability of the solar system, he was advised that it was not suitable for retrofit batteries.  I will proceed based on those two assumptions.

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