Most of us are part of at least one “buy and sell” or “second-hand” group on social media platforms like Facebook. What is interesting, is how these sales posts are managed and how many people complain on the same page about paying for a product and the seller disappearing or coming to an agreement with a seller and the item then being sold to someone else when you refresh the page.

The questions arise: 1. What are contractual liabilities on these social media post or what should they be? and 2. What rights to each party have in these instances?

In today’s technology driven world, most (if not all) of our communication is electronic. As such, the law had to reassess the implications for important aspects like contracting. It raises difficult questions as to when contracts come into existence and become enforceable.

In short – a contract is an agreement two or more parties enter into with the intention of creating a legal obligation. These contracts create legal rights and duties between two or more parties and contract law defines which agreements are and are not legally binding.

Generally, in terms of South African law, a valid contract comes into existence once certain requirements are met. Even though contracting in the electronic environment is more complex, it can be valid.

This article will look at the social media buy and sell conundrum in short.