A contract, which is an agreement between two or more parties, is enforceable at law. Once the contract is formed, those parties need to abide their promises. The essential elements of a contract include offer, acceptance, consideration and intention to create legal relations. In this case, it mainly covers offer, acceptance, and consideration, and others are presumed to be presented.
First of all, we first identify whether the advertisement posted by Alan is an offer or is just an invitation to treat. In the advertisement, no enough details about the antique vase were stated, e.g. the availability of quantity and the year. He just stated “18 th century” and “HK$80,000”. According to the case of Partridge v Crittenden , an advertisement without details is generally an invitation to treat. Moreover, the advertisement was making to public. If many people were interested on it, he may not be able to satisfy all their needs. Since there is no definite proposal, therefore, it is an invitation to treat..
Scenario 1 Alan and Betty
When Betty asked Alan to reduce the price to HK$60,000, she gave a new offer to Alan. She is making a new offer, which is a definite promise or proposal made by the offeror to the offeree with the intention to be bounded. The advertisement is only an invitation to treat and the new offer Betty gave is not a counter offer that can kill the original offer. However, Alan rejected Betty’s offer by giving a definite reply which stated that he won’t accept anything less than HK$80,000, so the offer “HK$60,000” was killed. “Is it possible if I pay…?” is just an enquiry rather than a new offer, such as in the case of Stevenson , Jacques & Co. v McLean. Betty was trying to ask if she can pay HK$80,000 over 2 periods, in this stage, Betty has already accepted the advertisement (invitation to treat) and communicated it to Alan. The offer takes effect at this stage and she is still trying to make a better