There are many aspects of contract law that form the common law entity in individual countries. Within the United Kingdom there are basic issues addressed within the basic common law contract which include: when and how is a contract formed, when may a party escape obligations of a contract (such as a contract formed under duress or because of a misrepresentation), what is the meaning and effect to be given to the terms of a contract, and, what is the remedy to be given for a breach of contract.1
Within the contract itself, there is the need to have a few explanatives inside the contract which includes an offer of acceptance, consideration and contractual intention for a simple contract to exist, otherwise no consideration is needed. This inclusion of consideration in a contract formation is important to be in place otherwise no consideration will be in place. A consideration under English Law is defined as "a very controversial doctrine comprising a series of sub rules which purport to govern when a promise made by one party may be enforced by the party to whom the promise is made. Consideration in its traditional form in English law means no more no less that this: that, for parties to be able to enforce a promise, they must have given some quid pro quo for it: something in exchange for the promise"2
Rationale / Aims
The aim in discussing contract law inside an existing company is to understand their marketing schema while at the same time looking to understand how their marketing methods relate to contract law. The chosen company is British Gas that now forms part of the Centrica group. There are many areas of the British Gas/Centrica marketing plan that can affect or not affect the contractual obligations to the customers and the government.
Through Centrica's website and their Investor Relationship, it is the objective of British Gas to transform its current objectives with respect to its customer service agenda as well as appealing to the needs of future marketing schemes.
The current customer data base shows there are low gas and high gas users and look to segmentation of their customer base by "choosing not to deliver, by exclusion, retention treatments or attempt to cross sell additional products, probably because of their debt profile. When we see the demonstration later of what we call 'screen prompts', one of the potential prompts we may apply to this customer group is the no sale prompt, which is critical for the agent to not waste their time and effort" (Smith, 2003)
The marketing schema is not just limited to phone marketing, but also using total household management as well as web online methods. This will allow for the importance of full disclosure. As a prime method of ensuring contract law is followed, the online website requires full disclosure of the contract that the customer is to sign; but, in the other marketing methods such as door-to-door customer signups and phone signups, this is not always possible or not used.
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