The opinion of the court was delivered by: Moss, Justice.
On April 7, 1947, R.M. Camlin, doing business as Camlin Motors, the appellant herein, entered into a "Tucker Dealer Franchise Agreement" with Tucker Corporation, and by the terms of which the appellant was entitled to sell Tucker Motor vehicles in the corporate limits of Georgetown and Conway, South Carolina. The agreement recites a consideration of Two Thousand Six Hundred ($2,600.00) Dollars and was signed by a Vice-President of the Tucker Corporation and the appellant, and acceptance recommended by the distributor, Darling Motors, Inc., of Charlotte, N.C. The agreement contains three paragraphs which are pertinent to the issue in this case, and they are as follows:
"9. This Tucker Dealer Franchise Agreement constitutes a personal contract between the Company and Dealer and is non-assignable; and, Dealer covenants it will not transfer or assign same, or any part thereof, or any rights thereunder without the written consent of the Company. * * *
"10. Dealer understands that the Distributor recommending acceptance of this agreement is not an agent of the Company and agrees that the Company shall not be bound by or responsible for any statements or representations made by a Tucker Distributor to Dealer unless specifically authorized by the Company. It shall be the burden of Dealer to ascertain before it shall rely on any representations concerning the Company that such representations have been authorized by the Company.
"11. This Tucker Dealer Franchise Agreement to be valid must bear the signature of a duly authorized officer or executive of the Company; the signature of duly authorized officer or executive of Dealer, if a corporation; or, the signature of one of the active partners of Dealer, if a partnership; or, the signature of Dealer, if an individual; and the recommended acceptance of the Tucker Distributor for the territory described in paragraph one (1) above."
"September 15, 1948. I do hereby certify that I have received today this 15 day of September, 1948, of John W. Green, the sume of Twelve Hundred and Fifty Dollars ($1,250.00) cash payment on the Tucker franchaise for Conway. The balance of Twelve Hundred Fifty Dollars ($1,250.00) to be paid thirty (30) days from this date; at which time the franchaise will be divided and Conway awarded to John W. Green."
Thereafter, on October 6, 1948 the balance of One Thousand Two Hundred Fifty ($1,250.00) Dollars was paid to the appellant and a receipt was issued reading as follows:
"Balance of $1,250.00 on Tucker franchise paid in full for franchise in Conway, S.C. Horry County paid by John and Walter Green."
It should be noted that Walter Green became a party to the contract along with his brother, John W. Green.
It also appears that between the dates of the two above quoted receipts that the respondents and appellant conferred with a representative of Darling Motors, Inc., the distributor, for the purpose of having the franchise to sell in Conway transferred to the respondents. Subsequent thereto the respondents filed their application for the franchise at Conway, S.C. with the distributor. He transmitted this application to the Tucker Corporation on October 11, 1948. Thereafter, the Tucker Corporation sent to the distributor certain papers for signatures and returned the application previously filed. The papers so returned included the contract for the agency or franchise at Conway. This was signed by the respondents and returned to the distributor. The respondents also furnished a financial statement and made the necessary arrangements for installment sales. It appears also that the appellant relinquished his selling rights to Tucker automobiles in Conway, S.C. in favor of the respondents, but certain documents had to be submitted before the Tucker Corporation could approve the transfer of the sales agency to the respondents. It also appears that the distributor, the Darling Motors, Inc., approved all of the papers and mailed same to the Tucker Corporation. However, it is implicit in the record that the Tucker Corporation never issued to the respondents a franchise for Conway, S.C. The record does not show that the Tucker Corporation ever approved such transfer even though a representative of Darling Motors, Inc. testified that such had been approved by the Tucker Corporation. This evidence does not satisfy the provisions of the contract of Tucker Corporation with the appellant because it is specifically provided that the Tucker Corporation would not be bound by any statement or representation made by a Tucker distributor, unless specifically authorized by the Company.
The record also shows that Tucker Corporation was declared bankrupt and its assets taken over by a receiver and all the records of the Tucker Corporation were frozen in such proceeding.
The respondents brought this action to recover from the appellant the amount of the purchase price for the franchise to sell Tucker automobiles at Conway, South Carolina, alleging that the appellant had failed to deliver said franchise to the respondents, even though the contract provided therefor, and by reason of the failure of the appellant to perform his contract with the respondents they were entitled to recover the purchase price paid therefor. The appellant duly answered, alleging as a defense that he had complied with the contract but due to circumstances beyond his control, the actual written approval and transfer of the franchise by Tucker Corporation to the respondents had not been made.