Special Nuances of ECommerce Law

An offer could be in written or spoken form, as in phone calling or any kind of verbal communication between parties In this stage, there is a difference between an offer and an invitation to treat: an invitation to treat is merely an attempt to engage in negotiations or to elicit an offer.Basically, it is inviting another person make an offer, and the seller making a decision to accept or refuse that offer.The difference between them is the intention to be bound. This difference comes clearly from the court decision Gibson v Manchester city council. The judgment from the court and the court of Appeals said that the parties made a contract Lord Denning said that the parties agreed with the conditions, and letters were exchanged between them as proof of their agreement Also, in Harvey v Facey, the decision was that information about the lowest possible price did not constitute abound offer. To understand the difference between an offer and an invitation to treat, we have to distinguish between an offer and its acceptance. Primarily, we can find an offer and its acceptance in the shop context. This principle states that the offer of the contract is concluded at the till of the shop and that the customer is addressed to an invitation to treat before that. This principle also extends to the shopping windows the display of goods is not an offer, but an invitation to treat. The reason for this is that the shop or market is a bargain not compulsory sales For instance when people are shopping in the store, they put the items in shopping bags and are not bound to pay.This view has been adjudicated clearly in cases such as Fisher v Belland Pharmaceutical Society of GB v Boots Cash Chemists. Next, we can find offer and acceptance in advertisements. In general, advertisements in a shop or in the media are invitations to treat because there is no intention to be bound to sell, as the sellers cannot supply all offers they might receive. In Grainger amp. Son v Gough Lord Herschell said The transmission of such a price-list does not amount to an offer to supply an unlimited quantity of the wine described at the price named so that as soon as an order is given there is a binding contract to supply that quantity. If it were so, the merchant might find himself involved in any number of contractual obligations to supply wine of a particular description which he would be quite unable to carry out, his stock of wine of that description being necessarily limited. There are many cases that prove advertisements are an invitation to treat, not an offer. for example, Partridge v Crittenden and Grainger amp. Son v Gough. However, advertisements can be an offer if the advertisement has a term that can be understood as an offer since, no further bargaining between the parties is possible or intended. In Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ball Company Lord Justice Lindley, Lord Justice Bowen and Lord Justice AL Smith agreed that advertisements contained an offer. There are some issues arising in advertisements on websites. The first issue is using personal details such as credit cards on the internet, as people are afraid of crime. Another issue is if the contract is an international and the parties are from different countries. This becomes an issue when the contract is written in a language foreign to one of the parties. The Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) tried to raise the number of people shopping on the internet by strengthening confidence and avoiding different approaches in Member States.Finally, we can find an offer and an acceptance in automatic vending machines. It is clear that the display of goods in automatic vending machines is an offer not an invitation to treat. The buyer accepts the machine’s offer by inserting money into it. The reason it is an offer is that it is impossible for bargaining to occur between the parties. Lord Denning MR said The customer pays his money and gets a ticket. He cannot refuse it. He may protest to the machine, even swear at it. but it will remain unmoved. He is committed beyond recall. He was committed at the very moment that he put his money in the machine. The contract was concluded at that time. It can be translated into offer and acceptance in this way. The offer is made when the proprietor of the machine holds it out as being ready to receive the money. The acceptance takes place when the customer puts his money into the slot. The second part in the contract’s acceptance occurs when the offeree shows that he agrees to the terms and conditions of the offer. We can find an acceptance in a postal rule: an acceptance must be received because the contract will be made at the place where the letter of acceptance is received It also must have the attention of the offeror for it to be valid.Holwell Securities v Hughes made clear that the letter of acceptance had to be received. On the other hand, some argue that the acceptance has to be received. This can be seen in Adams v Lindsell (1818) where the contract was made when the offeree sent the letter of acceptance by mail. Also, we find an acceptance in Electronic communications. On the internet the buyer makes an offer and the seller may accept or refuse the offer. Moreover, the letter of acceptance has to be received by the buyer to be valid.This means general rules shall apply.