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MAHARASHTRA NATIONAL LAW UNIVERSITY

LAW OF CONTRACT

SYNOPSIS

Hollier v. Rambler Motors AMC Ltd (1972)

Submitted to : Prof. Anand Raut

Submitted by: Saurabh Misal


Enrolment no:-2017046
FACTS:-
The plaintiff has had his car repaired at the defendants' garage on three or four occasions over a
period of five years. On at least two of the occasions he had signed a form, but had not read the
printed words: “The company is not responsible for damage caused by fire to customer's cars on the
premises.” Car damaged by fire caused by repairers' negligence. Whether repairers' liability for
negligence excluded.

ISSUES:-
Hollier claimed the garage had been negligent and in breach of the implied term that they would
take reasonable care of his car. Three or four occasions in five years was insufficient to amount to a
course of dealing and the exclusion clause had not, therefore, been imported into the oral contract.
Even if the clause had been so imported, the language used was not so plain as to clearly exclude
the garage from liability for its own negligence.

ARGUMENTS:-
Plaintiff:
The plaintiff bought a secondhand Rambler car early in 1970. I understand that that is a make of car
which is manufactured by the American Motor Corporation. The plaintiff had had Rambler cars for
some five years. In the middle of the March 1970, he telephoned the defendants,
Rambler Motors (A.M.C) Ltd., spoke to the manager and told him that he wanted some repair work
done to the car as it had developed an oil leak. The manager said that the defendants could not do
anything about it for the moment, but if the plaintiff would have it towed or sent in on a conveyor
the defendants would attend to the defects and put them in order. The plaintiff agreed. Those were
the only terms of the agreement, expressed over the telephone. There would, however, obviously be
an implied term that the defendants would carry out the repairs and look after his car with
reasonable skill and care; and there would also be an implied term that the plaintiff would pay a fair
and reasonable price for the repairs. The plaintiff had his motor car conveyed to the defendants'
garage towards the end of March. While it was at the garage a fire broke out as a result of which
substantial damage was done to the car.
Defendant:
Mr. Tuckey says that there was a course of dealing which constituted the three or four occasions
over five years - that is, on an average, not quite one dealing a year - from which it is to be implied
that what he called “the condition” at the bottom of the contract should be imported into the oral
agreement made in the middle of March 1970. I am bound to say that, for my part, I do not know of
any other case in which it has been decided or even argued that a term could be implied into an oral
contract on the strength of a course of dealing (if it can be so called) which consisted at the most of
three or four transactions over a period of five years.

REASONING:-
- Alderslade v. Hendon Laundry Ltd. [1945] K.B 189; [1945] 1 All E.R 244, C.A
- Fagan v. Green & Edwards Ltd. [1926] 1 K.B 102.
- Hardwick Game Farm v. Suffolk Agricultural Poultry Producers Association [1969] 2 A.C 31;
[1968] 3 W.L.R 110; [1968] 2 All E.R 444, H.L(E.).
- McCutcheon v. David MacBrayne Ltd. [1964] 1 W.L.R 125; [1964] 1 All E.R 430, H.L(Sc.).
- Olley v. Marlborough Court Ltd. [1949] 1 K.B 532; [1949] 1 All E.R 127, C.A
- Price & Co. v. Union Lighterage Co. [1904] 1 K.B 412, C.A
- Rutter v. Palmer [1922] 2 K.B 87, C.A
- Turner v. Civil Service Supply Association Ltd. [1926] 1 K.B 50.
- Canada Steamship Lines Ltd. v. The King [1952] A.C 192; [1952] 1 All E.R , 305, P.C
- Cockerton v. Knavery Aznar S.A [1960] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 450.
- Polemis and Furness, Withy & Co. Ltd., In re [1921] 3 K.B 560, C.A
- Spurling (J.) Ltd. v. Bradshaw [1956] 1 W.L.R 461; [1956] 2 All E.R 121, C.A
- Thornton v. Shoe Lane Parking Ltd. [1971] 2 Q.B 163; [1971] 2 W.L.R 585; [1971] 1 All E.R
686, C.A
- Travers (Joseph) & Sons Ltd. v. Cooper [1915] 1 K.B 73, C.A

JUDGEMENT:-
I will deal first of all with the point as to whether the clause relied on by the defendants can
properly be implied into this oral contract by reason of the course of dealing between the parties.
Mr. Hollier, the plaintiff, had during the five years preceding March 1970 on many occasions
bought spare parts from the defendants. As a rule, when he wanted the car to be repaired or
serviced, he sent it elsewhere, but three or four times during those five years he had had the repair
or service carried out by the defendants. It was the defendants' practice when they were doing
repairs or servicing a motor car — but not when they were merely supplying spare parts — to have
a form which is described as an “invoice” signed by the customer. The form, which is before us, I
need not read in detail, but it describes the work which is to be carried out and gives the price for
carrying out the work. At the bottom of the form appear the words “I hereby authorise the above
repairs to be executed and agree to pay cash for same upon delivery of car to me. Customer's
signature” — and the customer normally signed the form. Then immediately underneath the
signature appear the words “The company is not responsible for damage caused by fire to
customer's cars on the premises. Customer's cars are driven by staff at owners' risk.” It is not clear
whether on each of the three or four occasions when the plaintiff had work carried out he signed the
form to which I have referred, but he did, at any rate, sign the form on two of those occasions; one
was on April 15, 1967, and the other hurriedly in the rain on February 3, 1970, not quite two months
before the date of the telephone conversation at which the oral contract relating to the present case
was made. This form that the plaintiff signed has three copies underneath it, with carbons in
between. The three copies underneath the form are retained by the defendants. The top copy is
handed to the customers after the work has been done and paid for. The plaintiff did not read the
forms on any occasion when he signed them, but there was nothing to have prevented him from
doing so.