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What makes an invitation to Offer

Gaurav Parashar ,
  06 June 2020       Share Bookmark

Court :

Brief :
The court held that self-serve shop is like a book shop where the customer has an option to choose the book lies and the sale is only done after the payment is been made to the bookshop owner. As the bookshop owner has the power to deny the sale of any book, the pharmacist also has the power to deny the sale of poisonous substance without prescription. The goods on the shelves are, therefore, invitation to offer. The cashier is under the shopkeeper's authority to make acceptance; hence a contract has not been made until the cashier accepts the purchase. The decision was also made on the fact that customer has the right to change any article put in the receptacle with any other article that he prefers or wishes to buy in place of the other article.
Citation :
Appellant: Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain Respondent: Boots Cash Chemists (Southern) Ltd. Citation: [1953] EWCA Civ 6, [1953] 1 ALL ER 482, [1953] QB 401, [1953] 1 QB 401

Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain v. Boot Cash Chemicals (Southern) Ltd.

Bench: Lord Justice Somervell, Lord Justice Birkett, and Lord Justice Romer

Issue:

  • The issue raised in this case was when a purchase is complete in a self-serve store, when a customer going round the shelves and picks up an article and puts it in his receptacle carrying along with him/her in a self-serve store and goes to the pharmacist for billing; does he have the power to refuse the sale of chosen article?

Facts:

  • The defendants introduced into one of their premises a self-serve system.
  • They had a number of photographs and one can see a number of articles available at a pharmacist shop.
  • The customer when enters is given a receptacle and he can go around the shop and choose the articles he wants.
  • The customer then goes to the end of the room one of two desks where a registered pharmacist is placed so as to carry out his duty.
  • The plaintiff brought a suit against the defendant for breach of Section 18(1) of the Pharmacy and Poisons Act 1933, which requires the supervision of a registered pharmacist for the sale of any item in the Poisons List.

Appellant’s contentions:

The appellant raised the contention before the court that the mere keeping of article in the receptacle is a contract and the pharmacist can’t refuse the customer from buying the chosen article. On that ground the plaintiff filed a suit in violation of Section 18(1) of the Pharmacy and Poisons Act 1933, which requires the supervision of a registered pharmacist for the sale of any item in the Poisons List. According to the plaintiff the defendant was selling poison; as according to their understanding keeping of article in receptacle is acceptance of offer.

Respondent’s contentions:

The respondent contended that the acceptance of offer is given consent only when the pharmacist allows the sale of good i.e. his duty to do so; mere placing of articles in the receptacle is not sale of poison.

Final Decision:

The court held that self-serve shop is like a book shop where the customer has an option to choose the book lies and the sale is only done after the payment is been made to the bookshop owner. As the bookshop owner has the power to deny the sale of any book, the pharmacist also has the power to deny the sale of poisonous substance without prescription. The goods on the shelves are, therefore, invitation to offer. The cashier is under the shopkeeper's authority to make acceptance; hence a contract has not been made until the cashier accepts the purchase. The decision was also made on the fact that customer has the right to change any article put in the receptacle with any other article that he prefers or wishes to buy in place of the other article.

The Appeal was dismissed with cost, leave to appeal refused.

 
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