Former Australian cricket captain Mark Taylor states proudly in the Fujitsu advertising “What a great offer from Fujitsu” but is this really an offer? Can you really go into a Fujitsu shop and accept that offer? In reality yes you can, but the law surrounding this is quite different.
For an agreement or contract to be formed, there must be an “offer” and an “acceptance” of that offer.
This offer could be hypothetically accepted by 10 million Australians. Obviously this could lead to a situation that if Fujitsu did not have the stock to meet such a massive demand then as a result 9,900,000 individuals who could not be supplied in a timely fashion might then sue for breach of contract. So these and many other cases are considered to be “invitations to treat”.
Similarly, if everyone who receives a pamphlet in the mail for a deal on wine were to accept the offer, then as soon as the stock ran out, the Court could be tied up for a long time with contract breaches.
This means that when you see a product in say Coles labelled with a price, you are not accepting that offer by taking it to the counter. They are “inviting you to treat”. It is you that is offering to purchase that bottle of tomato sauce. You are saying to the cashier, “I will give you $2.23 for this sauce” and the cashier makes the decision to accept your offer of $2.23, and the contract is formed.
Next time you see a sign in a shop stating “you break it, you own it” you will know the law! The shop owner, by opening his doors to the public, has invited you to inspect his goods and make an offer to purchase at the labelled price. If when you pick up the item to inspect it you accidently drop the goods you have not thereby made an offer to purchase that is capable of being accepted against your will merely by the display of a sign.
There is a difference when a shop states “the first 50 buyers get a free watch”. That would be considered an offer, and if you were eligible, you could sue for breach of contract if you did not receive that watch.
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This is intended for general information and does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Formal legal advice should be sought.