This assignment will focus on offers and invitations to treat as well as differences between them. It is going to prove that this kind of distinction is necessary in law.
An offer is a clear statement of terms made by one person, group of people, an agent on his behalf, called an offeror, to do legally binding business with another. To be able to make an offer to anyone a clearly state term, intentions to do business and communication of that intention is needed. A fully binding contract is only form if an offer is accepted. Acceptance takes place only if the offeree clearly communicates it to the offeror without intodrucing any new terms or conditions. An offer is the last word prior to acceptance.
An invitation to treat is insignificant declaration of willingness to enter into negotiations. Contrary to an offer, an invitation to treat is when an offerer invites an offeree to make him/her an offer. It allows for advertising and displaying the goods.
Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain v Boots Cash Chemists (southern) LD.1 is a case which is a good example of the difference between an invitation to treat and an offer. Boots Cash Chemists is a self-service store selling drugs and proprietary medicines under the control of registered pharmacist. Since the store is self-service business the medicines were displayed on the shelves, so entering the shop costumers would picked one of the baskets and were able to pick whatever goods they were interested in purchasing, place them in the basket and whenever they were ready to purchase it they would bring it to one of cashier’s desk to pay. This is the way the costumers expressed their will to make an offer of purchasing the goods to the offeror. The offeror, who in this case was the cashier and registered pharmacist on behalf of Boots Cash Chemists (Southern) LD., now can make the decision if they are willing to accept the offer and sell the goods or refuse it. No legal agreement was made, as the offer could have been refused. The court decided that Boots Cash Chemists (Southern) LD. selling medicines and drugs under the control of registered pharmacist is and invitation to treat, not an offer. The Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain did not agree with courts decision, and the case went to the court of appeal. The appeal was dismissed. If the drugs/medicines were an offer, not an invitation to treat, the cashier would have no choice but to sell it to the offeree, as he would have accepted the offer when he picked the goods up from the shelves, knowing the exact price.
Partridge v Crittenden2 took place on 19 June 1967. Crittenden, on behalf of The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), charged that the appellant, Arthur Robert Partridge, did unlawfully offer for sale, a certain live wild bird, included in Sch 4 to the Protection of Birds Act, 1954. Partridge advertised for sale a number of Bramblefinch cocks and hens in a magazine, starting that the price was to be 25 shilings for each. At this trial the defendant was found guilty of the offence. He appealed the conviction. The whole issue with the appeal was that whether the advertisement was properly construed as an offer for sale or an invitation to treat, and that a bird was not a close-ringed specimen bred in captivity within the meaning of the Act of 1954 if it were possible to remove the ring from its leg. As well as if it was appropriate to adopt a different interpretation of the phrase “offer for sale”. The court held that the magazine advertisement was not an offer but an invitation to treat in which case the defendant had committed no offence. Any offers came from those responding to the magazine advertisement and asking to purchase the birds. A display of goods in a shop, with or without a price tag, is merely an invitation to treat not an offer.