Contracts – Offer and Acceptance – Effect of Post Office Regulations on Adams v. Lindsell Doctrine

Plaintiff, a bidder on a government contract, attempted to withdraw its bid upon discovering that it had made a mistake in its calculations. The revocation arrived at the government’s office the same day the acceptance of the bid was mailed. The government’s invitation to bid provided that “the successful bidder will receive Notice of Award … and such Award will thereupon constitute a binding contract … .” Upon the government’s refusal to recognize the revocation, the plaintiff brought suit to recover losses resulting from performance at the bid price. Held, there was no binding contract. Since the post office regulations permit withdrawal of mail by the sender any time before delivery, an acceptance by mail is not final until the letter reaches its destination. Thus the revocation was effective, as it arrived at the government office before the bidder received the acceptance. Rhode Island Tool Co. v. United States, (Ct. Cl. 1955) 128 F. Supp. 417.