Implied contracts Every user choice is an implied contract. Be mindful when offering them. Honor implied contracts.
- Kathy Bateman
Last year we decided to have a garage sale. Since I usually look in the online classifieds for our local paper when I want to shop at garage sales I decided to place an ad there for our sale.
First I went to the Austin American-Statesman Classifieds page online. There I see:
The free option sounds perfect even if it is only online. Clicking takes me to:
Great! I just need to select Garage Sales as a classification and then I'll be all set. Except I can't find Garage Sales as an option. OK, maybe Yard Sales? No. What about Estate Sales? No again. I read through the list once more just to be sure and then notice at the bottom of the list:
Well I'm not sure why they did not list all the categories here. They obviously know they left some categories off. How strange. Guess I need to "click here" for Garage Sales. Now I see:
Ah ha! Yard Sales! And specifically Garage Sales:
I take a guess that I'm in North Central and continue.
Hang on a second. I thought I had selected "FREE & Online Only Ad". Where's my free option? What's going on?
I back out to the previous screen and study it. Eventually I see a hint at the very bottom:
* denotes the classification offers a free package
But nowhere do I see any starred items. I don't even know where I should be looking to see which items are starred. I guess that part of the site is broken. If that part is broken maybe something else with the site is wrong too. I restart the entire process again to make sure I didn't miss anything but, once again, end up on the screen with only paid options.
Now at this point I'm annoyed as well as confused. I went to the site thinking I would pay for an ad. A free ad was offered and I wanted to take that offer. But now it seems the free ad offer is no longer valid or worse yet, fake or a trick. At this point I remember that CraigsList does offer free garage sale ad listings and I leave the Austin American Statesmen website without paying for an ad.
The site implied a contract for a free ad and then appeared to break that contract. This disillusionment meant the loss of a sale.
At the very beginning of the process a straightforward "some ad types are ineligible for free listings" would remove the implied contract.