Do I have a breach of contract if an on-line seller didn’t deliver my product?

I bought a cellphone on-line 3 days ago but yesterday I received an e-mail from the seller saying that the product was canceled because the manufacturer stopped producing it. Is that considered a breach of contract? o I have a case if I want to fill a law suit against this website?

Asked on November 30, 2011 under Business Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

1) Even if they breached the contract, if they either do  not charge you or return any money you've already paid, you have no cause of action, since you did not suffer any loss. That's because  you can only sue to the extent you have suffered some damage or loss, but if you get your money back, there is effectively no loss (if you sued, you could only get your money back--which means you'd be suing for what you already have). Only if they take or keep your money without giving you a phone would you be able to sue.

2) There is no breach of contract if the contract is rendered impossible by actions beyond a party's control--such as by the item no longer being manufactured. In that case, the contract is void for impossibility--which means that they have to return your money (since there is no agreement), but as long as you get your money back, there is no wrong or breach committed and no grounds to sue.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.