Advertisements in newspaper are invitation to treat

On the 29th October 2010, Steven advertised in the NewFocus Paper, “Yamaha Piano latest model, excellent condition, RM 15000, if anyone interested please call 016 1234567".

Courts held that advertisements in newspaper are invitation to treat. Invitation to treat is not an offer. An invitation to treat means inviting the public to make an offer. Besides that, an invitation to treat does not have any promise exist. Like the case, Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain v Boots Cash Chemists [1] . Certain drugs containing poisons could only be sold under the supervision of a pharmacist. The plaintiff claimed that this rule had been broken by Boots who had put supplies these drugs in the open shelves in a self-service shop.

However Boots argued that there was no sale until a customer brought the goods he had selected to the cashier and offered to buy them. The Courts stated it doesn’t make an offense. Those display goods is an invitation to treat, not an offer to sell. Customers make an offer to purchase and there is acceptance when the cashier accepts the money. In the case above, Steven is inviting others to make an offer to him. So it is an invitation to treat.

On the 1st November 2010, Tanny after seeing the piano, offered RM 10,000 to buy the piano. Steven said “I will not sell it below RM 14,000 and I will not sell it to anyone else before 7th November 2010".

Offer is the 1st essential elements of a valid contract. Offer is defined in S2(a) Contracts Acts, 1950 as “ when one person signifies to another his willingness to do or abstain from doing anything with a view to obtaining the assent of that other to the act or abstinence he is said to make a proposal" [2] . Offer must be clear, definite, certain, precise and complete. There are 2 types of offer, bilateral offer and unilateral offer.

Example of the case which is Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ball co [3] . Carbolic Smoke Ball Company advertised that they would offer 1000 pounds for anyone who still suffered influenza after using a certain remedy for a fixed period. Plaintiff duly used it but nevertheless, contracted influenza. She then sued for the 100 pounds. Court of Appeal held that the Plaintiff was entitled to the 100 pounds as she had accepted the offer made to the world.

Well in this case, Tanny made an offer to buy the piano with the price RM 10,000. Steven will not sell it below RM 14,000 and will not sell to anyone else before 7th November 2010. Revocation of acceptance may be revoked at any time before communication of acceptance is complete. Case example which is Byrne & co v Van Tienhoven [4] . A posted a letter of offer to B on 1st of October. B received the letter on 11 of October. Well, he accepted and posted back on the same day. While A had posted a letter which he revoked the offer on 8th of October and sold the tin plates to third party. But B received the letter on 20th October.

B sued A for breach of contract. The revocation sent by A is not to be considered. The withdrawal is no effect. Steven rejected Tanny’s offer indirectly but he is making a statement and counter offer to her. A counter offer operates as a rejection of the original offer. Such as the case, Hyde v Wrench [5] . Wrench as the defendant offered to sell his estate to Hyde for 1200 pounds. After that, Wrench made a final offer which is 1000 pounds for the estate. But Hyde wanted to purchase for 950 pounds, Wrench said he would consider and will give him the answer.

Later on, Wrench rejected the offer but then Hyde said that he accepted the offer of 1000 pounds. Wrench did not want to complete any sale and Hyde sued for specific performance. A counter offer is usually taken to reject earlier offer. It was held that there was no contract exists. The offer to buy at 950 pounds rejected the offer to sell at 1000 pounds. It was not allowable to revive the offer by acceptance.

Anyway, there is a bilateral agreement which the offer made to a particular person or group of people. We know the identity of the offeree here. Like the case of Powell v. Lee [6] . Powell applied for the position of headmaster. One of the school board members told him that he was successful. In the end the board changed his mind and appointed another person to hold this position. An offer can only be accepted by the particular party or the party has been addressed to. In this case, promise is there. Steven will not sell it to anyone else, he is making an offer to Tanny with discount of RM 1,000.

Tanny went to Australia for a few days and came back to Malaysia on the 7th of November 2010. On the 8th of November 2010, Tanny decided to post a letter accepting to buy the piano for RM 14,000. Steven received this letter on the 11th of November 2010.

Tanny posted the letter after the offer has expired. Postal rule does not apply here. According to the postal rule, acceptance by post is deemed to take effect when the letter which is correctly addressed and stamped, is actually placed in the post box. Acceptance is said to be completed as soon as it is posted, as the case Adam v Lindsell [7] . Lindsell offers to sell wool to Adam, he required to reply ‘in course of post’. Unfortunately the letter of acceptance was misdirected and cannot reach to Lindsell on the date stated which is 7th September 2010.

Lindsell decided to sell to third party on 8th September 2010. He received the letter by post on 9th September 2010. However Lindsell sold the wool to another party. Adam sued Lindsell for breach of contract. Anyway, the court held that the offer had been accepted as soon as the letter had been posted. Therefore, the contract is exist although the letter had not been received. So the acceptance is valid. Postal rule is for acceptance only not for offer.

So after the date of 7th November 2010, public can make an offer to Steven. It means that Tanny’s letter of acceptance is not valid. Her letter just merely an offer. Steven can just reject or accept the offer.