Two channel communication

At the outset of negotiations the principal instructed his broker that they were prepared to pay a daily rate plus a lumpsum for redelivery in the Far East. The principal and the broker were communicating on an electronic messenger system while the broker was having exchanges with the other party via email.

The broker unfortunately overlooked that the principal had specified that the lumpsum would only be payable if the vessel was redelivered in the Far East. While an initial offer and subsequently a recap message was copied back to the principal via email the principal did not notice that the lumpsum would apply worldwide.

When the principal found that the lumpsum was payable in any event they made a claim against the broker. Although the broker had clearly made a mistake the principal had failed to respond to the emails showing what was being negotiated. The principal pointed out that they had been communicating via the electronic messenger system on which the broker had confirmed that the vessel had been fixed in accordance with instructions.

Ultimately a compromise was reached with the broker contributing to the extra costs in the event the vessel was not redelivered in the Far East.

There is a danger when using more than one form of communication and Members should ensure that care is taken.

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