Chwee Kin Keong v Pte Ltd [2005] 1 SLR(R) 502

Contract – unilateral mistake – Internet Contract – Consensus ad Idem – Meeting of the Minds – Acceptance – Offer – Void – Error


The defendant, Pte Ltd, were an online IT company that sold related software and hardware from Singapore. They were selling a HP laser printer and an employee accidently made a mistake as to the price of the printer on their website. It was listed at the price of $66, when it was advertised on the official HP website for $3,854. This was not noticed by the company until over 4,000 printers were ordered. The complainants had ordered over 100 printers each at this price. When the defendants discovered this mistake on their website, they sent an email to the complainants to say they would not be fulfilling this order.


The complainants argued that they were not aware that this price was a mistake and wanted the binding contract to be fulfilled. The defendants argued this pricing was a unilateral mistake and that the complainants took advantage of this. The issue in this case was whether the pricing was a mistake and if the contract would be fulfilled.


It was held that the contract between the parties was void. This pricing was a mistake, which was fundamental to the contract and the complainants must have known that this ‘absurdly low’ pricing was an error by the defendants. In this case, there was no consensus ad idem or meeting of the minds between the parties, which meant that there could be no binding contract between them.