Law of Business Management

In the Victorian case, Nunin Holdings v Tullamarine Estates Pty Ltd [1994] 1 VR 74 it was held that ‘Whatever the circumstances, it is fundamental to bear in mind that the general rule is that a contract is not completed until acceptance is actually communicated to the offeror.’ The distinction between an invitation to treat and an offer has long since been established in the law of contract. In Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain v Boots, Cash Chemists (Southern) Ltd [1951] 2 QB 795 the chemist shop was organized in such a way that the goods, including prescription drugs, were displayed so that the customer could select from among the goods and proceed to the cashier to complete the sale. At some stage, during this process, a registered pharmacist inspected the goods and either denied or refused the sale. The plaintiff claimed that the sale was contrary to the current legislation which required the sale of prescription drugs under a registered pharmacist’s supervision. The question then turned on when and at what point was the offer and acceptance actually made. It was held that the display of the goods only implied that the vendor was willing to ‘treat’ and an actual offer was not made until such time as the customer took the goods to the cashier.Generally, an advertisement is regarded as an invitation to treat.3 However, if the advertisement goes beyond a mere invitation to treat and can be considered an offer, acceptance of which would constitute a binding contract.4 It was held in Partridge v Crittenden [1968] 1 WLR 1204 that an advertisement appearing in print form which states the price for the sale of certain goods it will only be considered an invitation to treat.5 Once a customer makes an offer to purchase the advertised goods and that offer is accepted by the vendor a legally binding contract is formed.6 In light of these considerations, Carla has no claim to the case of champagne even if she had managed to enter the doors of the store first, as the advertisement was an invitation to treat and as such can not form the basis of an enforceable contract.