This is where a person’s behaviour implies the offer. An offer can be made to a particular person, to a class(group) of persons or even to the world at large.In addition an offer should be distinguished, from the following:(i)
A mere statement of intention
– Such a statement cannot form the basis of a contract even although theparty to whom it was made acts on it (
A mere supply of information
– As in
(1893) where it was held that the defendant’stelegram, in which he stated a minimum price he would accept for property, was simply a statement of information, and was not an offer capable of being accepted by the plaintiff.
INVITATION TO TREAT
Offer distinguished from invitation to treat
Invitations to treat are distinct from offers in that rather than being offers to others, they are in fact invitationsto others to make offers. The person to whom the invitation to treat is made becomes the actual offeror, andthe maker of the invitation becomes the offeree. An essential consequence of this distinction is that, in line withthe ordinary rules of offer and acceptance, the person extending the invitation to treat is not bound to acceptany offers subsequently made to them.The following are examples of common situations involving invitations to treat:
1 (a). The display of goods for sale.
This is not an offer to sell but an invitation to make an offer to buy.The classic case in this area is
(1961) in which a shopkeeper was prosecuted for offering offensiveweapons for sale, by having flick-knives on display in his window. It was held that the shopkeeper was notguilty as the display in the shop window was not an offer for sale but only an invitation to treat.
Fisher v. Bell
A shopkeeper had a flick-knife on display in his shop window. He was charged with offering for sale anoffensive weapon contrary to the provisions of the Restriction of Offensive Weapons Act 1959. Hisconviction was quashed on appeal.
The divisional Court of the QBD held that display of goods with a price ticket attached in a shop widowis an invitation to treat and not an offer to sell (The Restriction of Offensive Weapons Act 1961 waspassed soon after this case to close the loophole in the law.)1.(b)
the display of goods on the shelf of a self-service shop
– In this instance the exemplary case is
Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain
Boots Cash Chemists
(1953). The defendants were charged withbreaking a law which provided that certain drugs could only be sold under the supervision of a qualifiedpharmacist. They had placed the drugs on open display in their self-service store and, although a qualifiedperson was stationed at the cash desk, it was alleged that the contract of sale had been formed when thecustomer removed the goods from the shelf. It was held that Boots were not guilty. The display of goods on theshelf was only an invitation to treat. In law, the customer offered to buy the goods at the cash desk where thepharmacist was stationed.
:Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain v. Boots Cash Chemists (Southern) Ltd
Facts:Customers selected pharmaceutical good from self service counters, and paid later at the cash desk,where a pharmacist was in attendance with the cashier.
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