The first element that must be looked into in order to advice the legal positions of Celia and her potential buyers is the character of the advertisement. It has to be distinguished between an advertisement which constitutes an offer or an invitation to treat.
An advertisement may be considered an offer if it is clear, precise, definite and leaves nothing open for negotiation. This was established by Leftkowitz v Great Minneapolis Surplus Store involving a case of the sale of two mink scarves and a stole. The phrase “ £10,000 for the lot, no offers” could be an element of an offer, indicating that price is not negotiable. It can also be interpreted in such that the bags are sold in a lot therefore, a customer cannot request for a particular bag. As such, this arrangement satisfies the characteristics of an offer. That being said, a customer either accepts the offer or refrain from the entire transaction itself. However, the court should not disregard the possibility that the advertisement may only tantamount to an invitation to treat. The precedent whereby advertisements are considered an invitation to treat was established following the case of Partridge v Crittenden. If Celia’s advertisement was an offer, she would be contractually obliged to sell her goods to every customer even if there is no continuity of stock. Hence, she is liable for breach of contract if there were more acceptances than she can satisfy as only 5 handbags are up for sale. Furthermore, the advertisement does not include further details on the bags and leaves room for negotiation. It states that it is suitable for all tastes and occasion. However, Celia cannot assume her customer’s preferences in terms of colour, manufactured material, strap length and so on. It could be that the advertisement is merely an invitation to treat. Having said that, it is important to bear in mind the factors which sets an offer apart from invitation to treat. When an offer is accepted, a binding agreement...
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