Order for specified number of cassettes at specific price with certain number deliverable per month was installment contract, and to cancel, buyer had to prove noncompliance which substantially impaired value of whole contract, and where concern of buyer was development of acceptable cassette and delays were liberally tolerated from start there was no basis for cancellation. Holiday Manuf. Co. v. B.A.S.F. Systems, Inc., 380 F.Supp. 1096 (D. Neb. 1974).
Prior Uniform Statutory Provision: Section 45(2), Uniform Sales Act.
Purposes of Changes:
To continue prior law but to make explicit the more mercantile interpretation of many of the rules involved, so that:
1. The definition of an installment contract is phrased more broadly in this article so as to cover installment deliveries tacitly authorized by the circumstances or by the option of either party.
2. In regard to the apportionment of the price for separate payment this article applies the more liberal test of what can be apportioned rather than the test of what is clearly apportioned by the agreement. This article also recognizes approximate calculation or apportionment of price subject to subsequent adjustment. A provision for separate payment for each lot delivered ordinarily means that the price is at least roughly calculable by units of quantity, but such a provision is not essential to an "installment contract". If separate acceptance of separate deliveries is contemplated, no generalized contrast between wholly "entire" and wholly "divisible" contracts has any standing under this article.
3. This article rejects any approach which gives clauses such as "each delivery is a separate contract" their legalistically literal effect. Such contracts nonetheless call for installment deliveries. Even where a clause speaks of "a separate contract for all purposes", a commercial reading of the language under the section on good faith and commercial standards requires that the singleness of the document and the negotiation, together with the sense of the situation, prevail over any uncommercial and legalistic interpretation.
4. One of the requirements for rejection under subsection (2) is nonconformity substantially impairing the value of the installment in question. However, an installment agreement may require accurate conformity in quality as a condition to the right to acceptance if the need for such conformity is made clear either by express provision or by the circumstances. In such a case the effect of the agreement is to define explicitly what amounts to substantial impairment of value impossible to cure. A clause requiring accurate compliance as a condition to the right to acceptance must, however, have some basis in reason, must avoid imposing hardship by surprise, and is subject to waiver or to displacement by practical construction.
Substantial impairment of the value of an installment can turn not only on the quality of the goods but also on such factors as time, quantity, assortment, and the like. It must be judged in terms of the normal or specifically known purposes of the contract. The defect in required documents refers to such matters as the absence of insurance documents under a C.I.F. contract, falsity of a bill of lading, or one failing to show shipment within the contract period or to the contract destination. Even in such cases, however, the provisions on cure of tender apply if appropriate documents are readily procurable.
5. Under subsection (2) an installment delivery must be accepted if the nonconformity is curable and the seller gives adequate assurance of cure. Cure of nonconformity of an installment in the first instance can usually be afforded by an allowance against the price, or in the case of reasonable discrepancies in quantity either by a further delivery or a partial rejection. This article requires reasonable action by a buyer in regard to discrepant delivery and good faith requires that the buyer make any reasonable minor outlay of time or money necessary to cure an overshipment by severing out an acceptable percentage thereof. The seller must take over a cure which involves any material burden; the buyer's obligation reaches only to cooperation. Adequate assurance for purposes of subsection (2) is measured by the same standards as under the section on right to adequate assurance of performance.
6. Subsection (3) is designed to further the continuance of the contract in the absence of an overt cancellation. The question arising when an action is brought as to a single installment only is resolved by making such action waive the right of cancellation. This involves merely a defect in one or more installments, as contrasted with the situation where there is a true repudiation within the section on anticipatory repudiation. Whether the nonconformity in any given installment justifies cancellation as to the future depends, not on whether such nonconformity indicates an intent or likelihood that the future deliveries will also be defective, but whether the nonconformity substantially impairs the value of the whole contract. If only the seller's security in regard to future installments is impaired, he or she has the right to demand adequate assurances of proper future performance but has not an immediate right to cancel the entire contract. It is clear under this article, however, that defects in prior installments are cumulative in effect, so that acceptance does not wash out the defect "waived". Prior policy is continued, putting the rule as to buyer's default on the same footing as that in regard to seller's default.
7. Under the requirement of seasonable notification of cancellation under subsection (3), a buyer who accepts a nonconforming installment which substantially impairs the value of the entire contract should properly be permitted to withhold his or her decision as to whether or not to cancel pending a response from the seller as to his or her claim for cure or adjustment. Similarly, a seller may withhold a delivery pending payment for prior ones, at the same time delaying his or her decision as to cancellation. A reasonable time for notifying of cancellation, judged by commercial standards under the section on good faith, extends of course to include the time covered by any reasonable negotiation in good faith. However, during this period the defaulting party is entitled, on request, to know whether the contract is still in effect, before he or she can be required to perform further.
Point 2: Sections 2-307 and 2-607.
Point 3: Section 1-203.
Point 5: Sections 2-208 and 2-609.
Point 6: Section 2-610.
Definitional Cross References:
"Action". Section 1-201.
"Aggrieved party". Section 1-201.
"Buyer". Section 2-103.
"Cancellation". Section 2-106.
"Conform". Section 2-106.
"Contract". Section 1-201.
"Lot". Section 2-105.
"Notifies". Section 1-201.
"Seasonably". Section 1-204.
"Seller". Section 2-103.