Code of the District of Columbia

§ 28:2-503. Manner of seller’s tender of delivery.

(1) Tender of delivery requires that the seller put and hold conforming goods at the buyer’s disposition and give the buyer any notification reasonably necessary to enable him to take delivery. The manner, time and place for tender are determined by the agreement and this article, and in particular

(a) tender must be at a reasonable hour, and if it is of goods they must be kept available for the period reasonably necessary to enable the buyer to take possession; but

(b) unless otherwise agreed the buyer must furnish facilities reasonably suited to the receipt of the goods.

(2) Where the case is within the next section respecting shipment tender requires that the seller comply with its provisions.

(3) Where the seller is required to deliver at a particular destination tender requires that he comply with subsection (1) and also in any appropriate case tender documents as described in subsections (4) and (5) of this section.

(4) Where goods are in the possession of a bailee and are to be delivered without being moved

(a) tender requires that the seller either tender a negotiable document of title covering such goods or procure acknowledgment by the bailee of the buyer’s right to possession of the goods; but

(b) tender to the buyer of a non-negotiable document of title or of a record directing to the bailee to deliver is sufficient tender unless the buyer seasonably objects, and except as otherwise provided in Article 9 receipt by the bailee of notification of the buyer’s rights fixes those rights as against the bailee and all third persons; but risk of loss of the goods and of any failure by the bailee to honor the non-negotiable document of title or to obey the direction remains on the seller until the buyer has had a reasonable time to present the document or direction, and a refusal by the bailee to honor the document or to obey the direction defeats the tender.

(5) Where the contract requires the seller to deliver documents

(a) he must tender all such documents in correct form except as provided in this article with respect to bills of lading in a set (subsection (2) of section 28:2-323); and

(b) tender through customary banking channels is sufficient and dishonor of a draft accompanying or associated with the documents constitutes non-acceptance or rejection.


(Dec. 30, 1963, 77 Stat. 655, Pub. L. 88-243, § 1; Apr. 27, 2013, D.C. Law 19-299, § 3(h), 60 DCR 2634.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 28:2-503.

1973 Ed., § 28:2-503.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 28:2-319 and § 28:2-509.

Effect of Amendments

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-299, in (4)(b), substituted “record directing” for “written direction to” and inserted “except as otherwise provided in Article 9” following “seasonably objects, and”; and substituted “accompanying or associated with” for “accompanying” in (5)(b).

Uniform Commercial Code Comment

Prior Uniform Statutory Provision: See Sections 11, 19, 20, 43(3) and (4), 46 and 51, Uniform Sales Act.

Changes: The general policy of the above sections is continued and supplemented but subsection (3) changes the rule of prior section 19(5) as to what constitutes a “destination” contract and subsection (4) incorporates a minor correction as to tender of delivery of goods in the possession of a bailee.

Purposes of Changes: 1. The major general rules governing the manner of proper or due tender of delivery are gathered in this section. The term “tender” is used in this Article in two different senses. In one sense it refers to “due tender” which contemplates an offer coupled with a present ability to fulfill all the conditions resting on the tendering party and must be followed by actual performance if the other party shows himself ready to proceed. Unless the context unmistakably indicates otherwise this is the meaning of “tender” in this Article and the occasional addition of the word “due” is only for clarity and emphasis. At other times it is used to refer to an offer of goods or documents under a contract as if in fulfillment of its conditions even though there is a defect when measured against the contract obligation. Used in either sense, however, “tender” connotes such performance by the tendering party as puts the other party in default if he fails to proceed in some manner.

2. The seller’s general duty to tender and deliver is laid down in Section 2-301 and more particularly in Section 2-507. The seller’s right to a receipt if he demands one and receipts are customary is governed by Section 1-205. Subsection (1) of the present section proceeds to set forth two primary requirements of tender: first, that the seller “put and hold conforming goods at the buyer’s disposition“ and, second, that he ‘’give the buyer any notice reasonably necessary to enable him to take delivery.”

In cases in which payment is due and demanded upon delivery the “buyer’s disposition” is qualified by the seller’s right to retain control of the goods until payment by the provision of this Article on delivery on condition. However, where the seller is demanding payment on delivery he must first allow the buyer to inspect the goods in order to avoid impairing his tender unless the contract for sale is on C.I.F., C.O.D., cash against documents or similar terms negating the privilege of inspection before payment.

In the case of contracts involving documents the seller can “put and hold conforming goods at the buyer’s disposition” under subsection (1) by tendering documents which give the buyer complete control of the goods under the provisions of Article 7 on due negotiation.

3. Under paragraph (a) of subsection (1) usage of the trade and the circumstances of the particular case determine what is a reasonable hour for tender and what constitutes a reasonable period of holding the goods available.

4. The buyer must furnish reasonable facilities for the receipt of the goods tendered by the seller under subsection (1), paragraph (b). This obligation of the buyer is no part of the seller’s tender.

5. For the purposes of subsections (2) and (3) there is omitted from this Article the rule under prior uniform legislation that a term requiring the seller to pay the freight or cost of transportation to the buyer is equivalent to an agreement by the seller to deliver to the buyer or at an agreed destination. This omission is with the specific intention of negating the rule, for under this Article the “shipment” contract is regarded as the normal one and the “destination” contract as the variant type. The seller is not obligated to deliver at a named destination and bear the concurrent risk of loss until arrival, unless he has specifically agreed so to deliver or the commercial understanding of the terms used by the parties contemplates such delivery.

6. Paragraph (a) of subsection (4) continues the rule of the prior uniform legislation as to acknowledgment by the bailee. Paragraph (b) of subsection (4) adopts the rule that between the buyer and the seller the risk of loss remains on the seller during a period reasonable for securing acknowledgment of the transfer from the bailee, while as against all other parties the buyer’s rights are fixed as of the time the bailee receives notice of the transfer.

7. Under subsection (5) documents are never “required” except where there is an express contract term or it is plainly implicit in the peculiar circumstances of the case or in a usage of trade. Documents may, of course, be “authorized” although not required, but such cases are not within the scope of this subsection. When documents are required, there are three main requirements of this subsection: (1) “All”: each required document is essential to a proper tender; (2) “Such”: the documents must be the ones actually required by the contract in terms of source and substance; (3) “Correct form”: All documents must be in correct form.

When a prescribed document cannot be procured, a question of fact arises under the provision of this Article on substituted performance as to whether the agreed manner of delivery is actually commercially impracticable and whether the substitute is commercially reasonable.

Cross References: Point 2: Sections 1-205, 2-301, 2-310, 2-507 and 2-513 and Article 7.

Point 5: Sections 2-308, 2-310 and 2-509.

Point 7: Section 2-614(1).

Specific matters involving tender are covered in many additional sections of this Article. See Sections 1-205, 2-301, 2-306 to 2-319, 2-321(3), 2-504, 2-507(2), 2-511(1), 2-513, 2-612 and 2-614.

Definitional Cross References: “Agreement”. Section 1-201.

“Bill of lading”. Section 1-201.

“Buyer”. Section 2-103.

“Conforming”. Section 2-106.

“Contract”. Section 1-201.

“Delivery”. Section 1-201.

“Dishonor”. Section 3-508.

“Document of title”. Section 1-201.

“Draft”. Section 3-104.

“Goods”. Section 2-105.

“Notification”. Section 1-201.

“Reasonable time”. Section 1-204.

“Receipt” of goods. Section 2-103.

“Rights”. Section 1-201.

“Seasonably”. Section 1-204.

“Seller”. Section 2-103.

“Written”. Section 1-201.